Girl1 was tortured. A huge comprehension. Worse, a poem. As if that wasn’t bad enough, not only was I being enthusiastic about it, I was singing. Then I made her listen to it properly. Never has a girl headed off to school with such alacrity. Escape, escape!
She’s right to be worried. At 10, she’s to be reading some proper poetry and texts. She groaned when I started to rave about Yeats and point out the illustrated poem on the wall (The Fiddler of Dooney), the anthologies- school books, those with added artwork or letters from well known folk. Girl1 has discovered that my ignorance about maths is preferable to my liking for English; I expect her to read the work more than once, to develop an opinion, to write answers of more than two words. How unreasonable can a mummy get?
At her age I hated The Lake Isle of Innisfree; it took years for me to reread and recognise my own Innisfree (it’s the same as my Echo Beach). It took a while to understand the simple power of When You Are Old and the beauty and the sorrow of In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz.
However, I’ve always loved this one …
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W B Yeats
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Luckily for Girl1, I won’t sing that one. I’ll just make her watch this instead.