Kids and words


Like most people, as a child I enjoyed playing with language, making up chants and rhymes, finding word puns, experimenting with alliteration and assonance. But unlike most of my other classmates, I also loved the times in class when we were asked to spend time writing our own poems.

Remembering this enthusiasm, I was prompted to rummage through my old papers to see if anything remained of my early authorial attempts and was amused to stumble upon some poems I had written when I was about 9 or 10 (in Grade 5). This one, believe it or not, was called “The Bush”:

I love the bush,
With trees so tall and green,
I love the bush,
It looks so neat and clean

I love the bush.
I do.
I shall always love it.
Will you?

I love the bush.
In summer it is bright
In autumn it is brown
In winter it might be white.

I love the bush.
With birds with plumage gay
With the laughing jackasses’ wings
All coloured grey.

Grade 5, poem about the bush

I guess I must have loved the bush (and still do)!

The interesting thing I find about this, though, is that what I saw as the formal requirements of the poem dominated and the content had to submit to these requirements, particularly to the need to rhyme. Finding a “successful” rhyme and making the text more or less scan were enough for me to feel as if I had conveyed my emotion. As an adult, of course, the content figures as number one for me and the formal and literary play is a way of enhancing the effect of the message. But as kids we are still in the early days of exploring the language world.

© Cate Kimberley and Word and Affect, 2012

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