1.25.2010

Best End of a Book


" If our parents read to us as children, we remember the closeness of the moments together, the sound and power of voice and expression, the sense of wonder that a poem inspires". -Caroline Kennedy

I recently found A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children  by Caroline Kennedy at the library. Caroline created this anthology for families, choosing poems that were special in her own family. It is a lovely collection with colorful watercolor paintings by Jon Muth.  Many of her choices were ones I would also put in a family collection. All children should hear "The Little Turtle" by Vachel Lindsay( I remember Mrs. Morical reading it to the class in first grade). "Ode to a Pair of Socks" by Pablo Neruda, "maggie and milly and molly and may" by e.e. cummings, and "The Swing" by Robert Lewis Stevenson were all delightful to read again.

I discovered a new poem I really enjoyed while reading this anthology. Caroline chose it to end the book.

The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

-Wallace Stevens

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