National Poetry Month
April is National Poetry Month. I know this because my child got up the courage to participate in a poetry night. It was a local school event put on by the language arts teachers & librarians, where students either read published poems or shared their original works. It was amazing to hear these children and a learning experience for us all. Kudos to cool schools and these kids!
Getting Kids Involved in Poetry
Your child doesn’t have to be Shakespeare to get into poetry- in fact, just nix introducing them to the iambic pentameter for now. Start simple- like rhymes. Dr. Seuss books are the perfect way to slide some poetry into a young child’s life without them realizing. Play rhyming games. Begin with just words and slowly string them into sentences. For older kids, break down the lyrics to popular songs. Of course, poetry does not have to rhyme at all. It can be a few words. Profound or just downright funny. Poetry comes in all lengths and depths and there is a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy.
Behind the Backpacker’s Ode
While I am not as brave to partake in a poetry slam, I am adding my contribution below to wind up the National Poetry Month of April. It was printed in the Footprints Newsletter (before it became a magazine) years ago as ‘Ode to a Faithful Friend’.
Before I became a mom, I was a backpacker for many years- long before the nomadic existence was cool. The first backpack I ever bought, I got in Pennsylvania when I was a teenager. It resembled a bumblebee- black canvas with bright yellow trim riding up both sides. Internal frame. Jansport. It fit me perfectly- not too heavy, and yet sturdy enough for a long haul. It was love at first sight.
I took that backpack everywhere. We explored cities, countrysides, traipsed across continents together. It was my pillow on backpacking treks through Europe, a shield on crazy nighttime bus rides through India, a footrest on train rides through Canada. My other traveling companions changed through the years, but this backpack was the one constant in my crazy, ever-altering life.
After 12 years and four continents of travel together, my backpack and I arrived to the Greek island of Rhodes. It was a solo trip and a much needed escape for me at the time. Upon arrival at the airport, my backpack fell apart- literally in full view of all to see. I remember tearing up as my toiletries rolled across the airport floor. I believe it was a metaphor for my life at the time. I tried desperately to salvage it, but between torn straps and burst seams, it was time to say good bye. I stayed a week on the island and bought a duffel bag to carry my stuff, but that bag didn’t last a month. There truly is no replacement for a really good companion.
Enjoy my traveler’s ode- and happy poetry month!
Ode to a Faithful Companion
(After 12 years and 4 continents of service)
The day my backpack fell apart,
I must confess, it broke my heart,
To see my trusted friend depart,
The soul I journeyed with from the start.
The one companion who did not complain,
of lack of money, blisters or pain.
We traveled through both snow and rain,
When everyone thought us quite insane.
A friendly pillow on a cold winter’s night,
The one I clung to when things weren’t alright.
For him I would put up a fight-
The pair of us were often a sight.
The day my backpack tore at the seams,
I felt slip away my traveling dreams.
As I watched the other backpacking teams,
My tears fell down in salty streams.
Who would I take on journeys afar?
Not another one could come up to par,
For this backpack was my shining star,
His memory I would never dare to tar.
I stood at the airport, my old friend at hand,
We had just arrived in this foreign land,
Preparing for castles, sunshine and sand.
But suddenly it did not seem so grand.
The day my backpack passed away,
I knew then and there I could not stay.
I did not know what quite to say,
As I look to where my old friend lay.
There he sat, broken on the floor,
Looking forlorn near the exit door,
I had never felt such despair before.
It cut my heart straight to the core.
The day my backpack said good-bye,
I knew it not to be a lie,
From here, alone, I must now fly,
The day my backpack chose to die.
Years have passed since my backpack died, and I still have not found a decent replacement- and I have tried! They are either too bulky (I’m only 5’1″, so bulky and big don’t cut it), or they are downright uncomfortable.
Feel free to drop the name of your favorite backpack in the comments to help me on my quest for my dear backpack’s replacement.
Did you participate in National Poetry Month? How?
More Flashback Friday Stories You May Enjoy