“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a
garden.” ~ Ruth Stout
Spring truly is a beautiful season, inviting everyone to see the world with fresh eyes, and to embrace the possibility of beginning again. It provides such an opportunity to spark children’s curiosity about the cycle of life, the colours, sounds, textures and scents of spring and to see them be amazed by what they observe, hear, touch and smell. Everything seems like a metaphor for creativity – blooming flowers, soaring birds, blossoming trees and floating butterflies! It’s hard to resist the impulse make something new – a song, a painting, a sculpture, a photograph, a poem.
In an earlier blog post I mentioned that I have been exploring poetry with young children, including rhyming books, songs, nursery rhymes and haiku. We have even read poems inspired by music, such as Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. My hope is that children will discover the joy of playing with words, the musical qualities of language and the doors that poetry can open for their self expression. Very recently it was my privilege to see a five-year-old compose a poem about a garden, writing each line in a different colour, and using words in a playful and inventive way.
The poem had a simple structure, repetition, imagery and rhyme. I was struck by how much thought she put into it, by how sophisticated her writing was, by how “in the moment” she was as she wrote. It seems clear that she has a natural interest in words and an emerging ability to assemble them in an artful way, and that she receives a lot of encouragement at home. Is it possible that the poetry we had been reading might also have played a small role in the creation of this poem? I believe that when an aesthetic environment is provided for children, and they have opportunities to hear music, listen to poetry and look at art, they become more attuned to their own ability to compose, to write and to draw or paint. They feel inspired. And sometimes as adults, we are lucky enough – as I was - to see that inspiration transformed into the creation of something remarkable.
I was so inspired by this lovely poem, that I added a couple of stanzas, based on ideas contributed by other children, and then set the poem against a backdrop of photos I had taken. What follows is a simple pairing of poem and pictures. Take a moment to enjoy the
words and images, and try to imagine the music that might accompany a child’s
very sweet Spring Song.