“Keep a Poem in Your Pocket”

Keep a poem in your pocket
And a picture in your head
And you’ll never feel lonely
At night when you’re in bed.
The little poem will sing to you
The little pictures it brings to you
A dozen dreams to dance to you
At night when you’re in bed.

So-

Keep a poem in your pocket
And a picture in your head
And you’ll never feel lonely
At night when you’re in bed.

–Beatrice Regniers

Oh for a book and a shady nook,
Either in door or out;
With the green leaves whispering overhead,
Or the street cries all about.
Where I may read all at my ease,
Both of the new and the old;
For a jolly good book whereon to look,
Is better to me than gold.

–John Wilson

(April is National Poetry Month)

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Haiku is stupid. Rhyme Rules.

The Art of the Arabian

Behold the Arabian, fountain of all,
Fire of his mother’s eyes
Burning like the desert sunrise,
Hear his thundering hoofbeats fall:
Ah, but he is gentle too,
Do not fear him, he is kind.
Learn now the brilliance of his mind,
Swift is he to learn the new.
Observe his persevering heart,
This horse indeed is a work of art!

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tripping over our tongues

The outline on Finland is done. A great burden has been removed… a new one is settling in: writing the paper.

The most recent issue of World magazine has arrived (did you know this, equuschick? I got first dibs on it!). There were two excellent articles on liberal bias on the college campus. It’s been interesting to actually witness this first hand. What’s also been interesting is witnessing our supposedly non-judgemental culture struggle with areas that need judgement. I have watched a teacher flounder between whether or not polygamy is a good thing in the United States. It isn’t. And she knew this as she floundered, but a habit of saying, “Of course, we can’t judge their lifestyle,” leads one to make, well, snap judgements.

A better habit to have is the habit of thoroughly investigating the evidence. Then we don’t have to trip over ourselves because of a preconceived judgement that we will never make preconceived judgements.

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Bills to Watch

Marlowe’s Shade, in a great post titled Culture of Death warns us that:

Recently two bills were proposed ( S.1629 & H.R.3127) specifically to set new guidelines for pallative care and end of life treatment for children. Note the recent medical guidelines for palliative care that define it in opposition to life-saving care.

Update Because I Got Distracted and Forgot That I Meant To Say More (translation: Update because I’m an idiot):

See also our previous post ‘Slip Sliding Away:

I remember when abortion was legalized. Other kids brought reports and posters to school and talked about why abortion was wrong. I wasn’t one of them. I remember debates in junior high school where I kept silent (by high school I wasn’t such a wallflower). I remember letters to the editor- that others wrote. I remember made for t.v. movies about abortion that began and ended with emotional propaganda, with a little bit of emotional manipulation to tie start and finish together.

I remember that one of the arguments the pro-life side kept making was that once we legalized the killing of unborn children in the womb, we’d lose a sense of awe, respect, and sanctity of life. Once we could kill babies in the womb, they said, we’d accept killing them later and later, long past viability.

Nonsense, said the pro-abortion crowd. That won’t happen. But the truth is that abortion has been legal for any reason at any time in the pregnancy since Roe V. Wade.

Next, said the pro-lifers, it will be acceptable to kill newborn babies outside the womb if they are disabled.

Ridiculous- said the pro-abortion crowd. It will never happen.

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Reluctant Reader

Our 9 y.o. is a reluctant reader. She loves to be read to; she just doesn’t like to read herself. She knows her alphabet and all the sounds quite well (and has for a couple of years). She can sound out words. In fact, she can read. She just doesn’t like to and I’ve overheard her actually tell people she can’t. This makes the Headmistress wince, which is probably the goal. The Headmaster and Headmistress have for years enjoyed shocking their offspring by such acts as Public Displays of mushy, gushy, and sloppy Affection; singing aloud all the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody (complete with air guitar playing by the accomplished Headmaster); and the recurring threats of the Headmaster to get his ear pierced. With parents Like That, I suppose it’s only natural that the progeny would also engage in attempts to shock the parents.

I’ve tried many and varied methods to interest the First Year Girl in reading. We read aloud several books every day, and I always stop at cliff hanging moments, the idea being to tempt her to read ahead in her own time. We check out so many books from the library that it takes one or two laundry baskets a week to carry them all. We’ve practiced reading with McGuffey Readers, Amelia Bedilia, George & Martha, Curious George, variousI Can Readbooks (No Fighting, No Biting has been a favorite at our house for twenty years), fairy and folk tales, Bible verses, and Aesop’s Fables, among others.

In the early days of teaching reading, I keep a stack of index cards nearby and as we learn new phonetical constructions I write down corresponding words on the cards- one word per card. Then we spend a few minutes arranging those cards into sentences of our choosing. First I pick out some cards and make a silly sentence which she has to read. Then she has a turn to pick out cards and make her own sentence which I have to read. All her older siblings liked this game, and none of them ever realized that they were actually getting more reading practice when it was their turn to make up sentences.

Some of the sentences we have made up with these cards include things like:

The fat cat sat on Dad’s hat. The hat is flat. Dad is mad. Run, cat! The cat hid in a vat. Dad got the cat. The cat is sad. Dad is glad.

The hen had ten eggs in a nest. Mom fell on an egg. It was a mess. The hen has 9 eggs in the nest.

Not stellar literature, certainly. I think it’s fun for children to have a chance to play with words in this way and make up things Mom has to read, then reshuffle the cards and make up a new combination. This is a good way to learn that words have meaning and that we each use the written word to communicate with others.

We also have practiced tandem reading, where I read a few sentences and then point to a word or phrase that I know the child can read and have her finish the reading.

Recently, I realized we had two copies of The Wind and the Willows, which is one of our read aloud books. So I’ve been reading aloud from one copy, slowly, dramatically, with much expression and vocal elucidation, while she follows along in her own copy. The first day we did this she lost her place about a dozen times in just one page of reading. The next time, she only lost her place about three times. The last time we did it, we read four pages and she only lost her place once.

This morning, I heard her saying,

“Two little eyes to look to God;
Two little ears to hear his word;
Two little feet to walk in his ways;
Two little lips to sing his praise;
two little hands to do his will
And one little heart to love him still.”

I smiled to myself, and then I heard

“North and south and east and west,
May your holy name be blest;
Everywhere beneath the sun,
As in heaven, your will be done.”

by William Canton, and I realized that I’d never taught her these two verses, and I didn’t think anybody else had, either.

I surreptitiously glanced up from what I was doing, not wanting to distract her by catching me paying attention to her. I was quietly thrilled to see that she was curled up on the couch with two of her dolls, reading- reading– aloud to them from this book:

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