Poets see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Poets have a gift of words… like an inner secret… to show us the extraordinary in the ordinary. Letting your children in on this marvelous secret is an extraordinary gift. Poems give children little moments in time to think like poets, to share like poets and to wish for more secrets from more poets. The more your children read and are read to, the more language they will develop. LITERACY happens when language happens… from the outside in and the inside out… the more that goes in, the more that comes out. Literacy is all about the words – Written, Spoken, Felt. Feel these lovely words today…
GRASS by Kim Su-yeong
The grass is lying flat.
Fluttering in the east wind that brings rain in its train,
the grass lay flat
and at last it wept.
As the day grew cloudier, it wept even more
and lay flat again.
The grass is lying flat.
It lies flat more quickly than the wind.
It weeps more quickly than the wind.
It rises more quickly than the wind.
The day is cloudy, the grass in lying flat.
It lies low as the ankles
low as the feet.
Though it lies flat later than the wind,
it rises more quickly than the wind
and though it weeps later than the wind,
it laughs more quickly than the wind.
The day is cloudy, the grass’s roots are lying flat.
Read the poem with your children. You may want to read the poem again, this time using your hands to mimic the motions of the grass and the wind. There’s a very good chance your children (and you!) have never thought about grass in such detail and in such words; how it lies flat, weeps, rises, laughs. Most of us think of grass as something we walk on or play on. Ask your children how Kim Su-yeong sees grass. Does he see grass from a nature perspective (wind, rain, clouds)? Does Kim Su-yeong give grass human characteristics (weeps, laughs)? Does he bring human elements into the poem (ankles, feet)? What makes the grass lay flat and weep (the east wind, rain)? What does the poet mean when he says the grass wept? Is it because the wind and rain makes the grass heavy… and it bends over? Is it because raindrops look like tears? Why does grass lie flat and weep more quickly than the wind?
Interesting question – Does the poet like grass more than he likes the wind? Ask your children if they think the poet likes to walk in the grass. Talk about walking in the grass barefooted. If you can, take a walk outside, into the grass, to see and feel the the grass and the wind. Is the wind whipping? Is it cloudy? Is the grass flat and weeping? Or is it rising and laughing around your feet and ankles?
Have you ever talked as much about grass? Probably not! Su-yeong gives us so many images and so many feelings in just a few lines of verse. He has taken an everyday experience and transformed it into a mysterious little adventure. GRASS. Reading poetry is like seeing a painting come to life before our eyes. Ask your children to draw or illustrate the different moods of grass. Simple discoveries of things like GRASS will create conversation and dialogue that will not stop at the poem’s end. You may very well be talking about grass each time you see it! Enjoy the talk, the words, the sharing. LITERACY is all about the WORDS – Written, Spoken, Felt.
Remember, “To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June.” – Jean-Paul Satre