Sandra Simonds considers nursery rhymes:
As poets, what can we learn from all of these nursery rhymes? The first thing is that sound itself intoxicates and that we connect sound, rhythm, and rhyme to form very early on, probably from infancy. The music of language forms our understanding of the world and that is why it seems so fundamental, in poems, to follow the music and sounds over sense, and to trust that your ear will take you where you want to go. We also learn that language is deeply connected to play—riddles, jokes, nonsense, and, for lack of a better word, fun. But it is also wedded to tragic losses, lost time, lost childhood, the loss of the child itself and the body of the child. Even when we survive childhood, some part of us has fallen through the ice never to return.
Children are connected to that loss too. They are constantly warned about strangers, about the instability of their surroundings, constantly reminded about how small they are. As poets, we take that smallness with us into adulthood and turn it into poetry.
Illustration from Journey, by Aaron Becker
A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes
into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny.
Above illustration seen in the article, Eight Picture Books That Make Us Wish We Were Kids Again.
What will you be musing about this weekend?
[h/t to Andrew Sullivan for the lead-in to the nursery rhyme article…]