A joy of poetry that children love is its power to explain something simple in an imaginative way. Take the sun, for instance. In just a few syllables, 20th century French poet Paul Eluard gives us 5 brilliant images that make the sun come alive. Look up! Look down! Look behind you! Look ahead! Here comes the sun…
from FIVE HAIKU by Paul Eluard
Ah! a thousand flames, a fire,
The light, a shadow!
The sun is following me.
Read this poem with your children. (You may wish to read the first 2 lines, stop and ask your children “what” is being described.) Who is the speaker, or voice, of the poem (me)? The one who reads or recites the poem also becomes the speaker (me). This technique gives us ownership of the poem’s words and feelings.
The poet has an obvious love for the sun and finds the sun very entertaining. How do we know this? Note the exclamation points after the words Ah! and shadow! Note that the word light follows the article THE… denoting the sun as the particular/singular LIGHT.
Note how poet Paul Eluard works his sun imagery: 1) a thousand flames; 2) a fire; 3) the light; 4) a shadow; and 5) the sun is given life and the ability to follow me. Eluard also gives us a thought-provoking contrast… the sun is both the light and a shadow-maker. Light and darkness. This little poem brings children into this wonderful light and gives us new ways to describe the sun. Ask your children to think of other words that could be added to the poem’s description of the sun. If possible, head outside to see for yourselves how this little poem comes to life as the sun follows you! Remember… LITERACY is all about the WORDS – Written, Spoken, Felt. Each time you read and share, your children are absorbing both words & life.