Although I grew up copying out Emily Dickinson poems for penmanship practice and giggling over Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, I’ve always been intimidated by this particular form of literature. It wasn’t until I began reading Novels in Verse last year that I felt poetry might be worth approaching.
I’ll admit, it’s still confusing and new, but I’m paying more attention now. Poetry isn’t just a sentence with a lot of negative space anymore. I’m even trying my hand at writing a few. So, in honor of National Poetry Month, here are a few short poems that I thought would appeal to fellow newbies.
I Opened a Book by Julia Donaldson
I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.
I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their roads with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.
Halfway Down by A. A. Milne
Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn’t any
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
So this is the stair
Halfway up the stairs
And isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head
It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else
Losing Pieces by Shel Silverstien
Talked my head off
Worked my tail off
Cried my eyes out
Walked my feet off
Sang my heart out
So you see,
There’s really not much left of me.
Hope is The Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without words,
And never stops at all.
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yes, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Captive by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Once I dive into these pages
I may not come out for ages.
Books have powers over me.
Inside a book I am not free.
I am a prisoner in a land
Of print and paper in my hand.
But do not worry. Do not fear.
I am a happy captive here.
But Outer Space by Robert Frost
But outer Space,
At least thus far,
For all the fuss
Of the populace
Stays more popular
The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Four little chests all in a row,
Dim with dust and worn by time,
All fashioned and filled long ago
By children now in their prime.
Four little keys hung side by side,
With faded ribbons, brave and gay
When fastened there with childish pride
Long ago on a rainy day.
Four little names, one on each lid,
Carved out by a boyish hand;
And underneath there lieth hid
Histories of the happy band
Once playing here, and pausing oft
To hear the sweet refrain
That came and went on the roof aloft
In the falling summer rain.
Four little chests all in a row,
Dim with dust and worn by time:
Four women, taught by weal and woe
To love and labor in their prime;
Four sisters parted for an hour,–
None lost, one only gone before,
Made by love’s immortal power
Nearest and dearest evermore.
Oh! when these hidden stores of ours
Lie open to the Father’s sight,
May they be rich in golden hours,–
Deeds that show fairer for the light,
Deeds whose brave music long shall ring
Like a spirit-stirring strain,
Souls that shall gladly soar and sing
In the long sunshine, after rain.
Do you enjoy reading poetry? What are some of your favorites?