I love poetry! It is so amazing to me the way that art so seemingly effortlessly communicates on so many levels, with precision, economy and beauty!

When my family and I learn poetry together, several things take place:

  • The poetry unifies our minds in a shared experience that we can all appreciate for our own reasons.
  • The poems become a part of our family’s story, and we can use citations and allusions to color our expression and communication.
  • They help us to think symbolically and creatively, and they teach respect for the power of language.
  • Poetry teaches the discipline of memorization (with subject matter that you can recur to over and over again with ever-growing relevance–no diminishing returns like cramming for a test!!).
  • It creates a personal intimacy with meter, rhyme, tone, style and imagery that feels like you are the one who wrote the poem in the first place. What a way to come face-to-face with greatness, no matter the age!

I wanted to share with you a few poems that have been fun for our family, especially when we were all younger.

Hurt No Living Thing
Christina Rossetti

Hurt no living thing;
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.


Star Light, Star Bright

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.


No Matter if You’re Quicker

No matter if you’re quicker
Or slower than the rest.
The main thing when you’re working
Is to do your very best.

Hearts, Like Doors

Hearts, like doors,
Will open with ease
To very, very little keys,

And don’t forget that
Two of these
Are “Thank You, Sir,”
And, “if you please.”


Whether the Weather Be Fine

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,

We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.


Ladder-Backed Woodpecker (Male), Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, Arizona

His Bill an Auger Is
Emily Dickinson

His bill an auger* is,
His head, a cap and frill.
He laboreth at every tree,
A worm his utmost goal.

[*auger- a tool for drilling holes in wood]


Magic Words Unknown

“Thank you” and “Please”
“Thank you” and “Please”
I can think of no nicer
Words than these.

I like to hear them
And use them too;
It’s almost like Magic
The things they can do!

For they open doors,
Bring surprises and fun,
And even help
When there’s work to be done.

“Thank you” and “Please”
“Thank you” and “Please”
I can think of no nicer
Words than these.


How Doth the Little Crocodile
Lewis Carroll

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail;
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!


Who Has Seen the Wind
Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you;
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I;
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.


123 owl

Wise Old Owl

There was an old owl
Who sat in an oak;
The more he sat,
The less he spoke.
The less he spoke,
The more he heard.
Why can’t we be like
That wise old bird?




Tobacco is a dirty weed
And from the devil it doth proceed.
It picks your pockets
And burns your clothes
And makes a chimney out of your nose.


123 willow

The Year’s at the Spring
Robert Browning

The year’s at the spring
And day’s at the morn’
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the thorn:
God’s in his heaven –
All’s right with the world!

Kindergarten Prayer Unknown

Two little eyes to look to God.
Two little ears to hear his word.
Two little lips to sing his praise.
Two little legs to walk in his ways.
Two little hands to do his will.
One little heart to love him still.


Laura E. Richards

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant.
No! No! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone.
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I’ve got it right.)

However it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk.
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
I feel I’d better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong.


eagleThe Eagle
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands.
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.


A Child’s Thought
Robert Louis Stevenson

At seven, when I go to bed,
I find such pictures in my head:
Castles with dragons prowling round,
Gardens where magic fruits are found;
Fair ladies prisoned in a tower,
Or lost in an enchanted bower;
While gallant horsemen ride by streams
That border all this land of dreams
I find, so clearly in my head
At seven, when I go to bed.


A Patch of Old Snow
Robert Frost

There’s a patch of old snow in a corner
That I should have guessed
Was a blow-away paper the rain

Had brought to rest.

It is speckled with grime as if
Small print overspread it,
The news of a day I’ve forgotten—
If I ever read it.

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