The Poetry of Children
Posted April 25, 2010on:
I am not a poet, and never have been. I am just beginning to conceive of myself as a writer. I can communicate a thought or concept with clarity, and occasionally concoct a unique turn of phrase. That’s about it.
Today, however, I wish I was a poet, because B has given me an image that a poet could put to good use.
He has already developed his parents’ love of words, and his vocabulary is especially broad for a child his age—but sometimes his desire to use a new word exceeds his understanding of it. It leads to some amusing malapropisms, but also some delightful imagery and new perspectives on the world.
This morning, he told me he “nibbled out of bed.”
I asked him what he meant by “nibbling out of bed,” and he tried to demonstrate with a kind of creeping, crawling movement across the floor. When I gently tried to explain that nibbling was a word that usually describes a way of eating rather than a way of moving, he remained insistent that he nibbled out of bed this morning.
So maybe he just intended to be poetic. I let the image unfurl a bit: to nibble out of bed, to let one’s toes taste small bites of cold air from beneath the blankets, to peck at the opening of the day, rather than bite into it whole and emerge from the night in one gulp…
But I’m not a poet. Perhaps B will be someday, and I’ll save these words to give back to him to explore again. Or set them loose in the world now, for another poet to take up and carry around.