poetry means saying a lot with less

Poetry to me is saying something in fewer words than the same said in prose. In real life I am NOT a poet. I can talk and talk about anything and everything, at length. I wonder if that is why I am so drawn to poetry, why I so admire poets who can say so much with so little.

I read my kids a lot of poetry. We write poems every week. I have noticed that the younger my child the less they 'get' the succinctness of poetry. Matthew, 9 can write a 4 line poem and be happy, Lily's (almost 8) are double that, Laura (almost 7) - are a little longer. Annie, 4 - her poems are tomes! She likes to give details, real life 'and then Mommy said' details at length. Perhaps she will be a storyteller instead!

I am going to try Haiku with them next. See if I can get the less is more concept in their minds (at least for all but Annie).

"Each haiku captures a moment of experience; an instant when the ordinary suddenly reveals its inner nature and makes us take a second look at the event, at human nature, at life."

A.C. Missias

I love this quote. When I read a poem that makes me take that second look, makes me more mindful of the loveliness of life I feel connected to creativity and brilliance.

I have recently found this blog by Grace, who is a homeschooling Mom. She is going to write a Haiku a day this year! What an amazing idea. Check out her Feb 1 Haiku. - Can't you just 'see' those little people getting up to something?

Billy Collins wrote this poem about Haiku:

I own this CD of Collins reading his poetry. I highly recommend it.


Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.

It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again.

I walk through the house reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.

I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.

I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,
then I hear it without saying it.

And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel down on the floor
and whisper it into each of his long white ears.

It's the one about the one-ton temple bell
with the moth sleeping on its surface,

and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating
pressure of the moth
on the surface of the iron bell.

When I say it at the window,
the bell is the world
and I am the moth resting there.

When I say it at the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
and the moth is life with its papery wings.

And later, when I say it to you in the dark,
you are the bell,
and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you,

and the moth has flown
from its line
and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.

By Billy Collins

Ahhh, I love poetry.


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