A few months ago, my first grader brought home a piece of paper with his name at the top and some poetry selections on it. (Note: in the remainder of this blog entry I will use the word poetry in its loosest form imaginable). One of them was circled in highlighter, and Bubs informed me that his school was having a speech meet and he had to learn that poem.
A few days later we received a letter from his teacher confirming this information.
Thankfully practicing a poem is much easier than studying for a spelling bee. And it’s possible that our eldest child inherited a bit of his mother’s flair for the dramatic.
So for the last several weeks, in between spelling drills, we’ve been working on one the delightful poems that the Association of Christian Schools International provided for its early elementary students to learn and recite. We have worked on hand motions, vocal expression, speaking slowly and clearly, and generally not failing at public speaking.
He does a splendid job at his poem.
And every time I hear it, a little bit of the English nerd in me dies.
Because the poem (and I use that, again, in the loosest possible sense of the word) is an insult to the genre.
May I present to you,
On Eating Porridge Made of Peas
by Louis Philips
Peas porridge hot,
Peas porridge– hold.
Who eats peas porridge?
Who is so bold?
I know I never munch
Peas porridge for my lunch.
And as for dinner,
Peas porridge is no winner.
Peas porridge ice cold?
Peas porridge tepid?
Who eats peas porridge?
Who could be so stupid?
Peas porridge nine days old– ugh!
I think I’d prefer to eat a rug.
1. My poetic sensibilities do not allow for the rhythmic structure of this poem to exist.
2. In no universe in which English is spoken does “tepid” rhyme with “stupid.”
3. The only saving grace about this poem is that my son is adorable and could read the phone book and make it cute.
Apparently Bubs has been the envy of the first grade since he started practicing his poem in front of them, because he got to say the word “stupid.” Every time he has said it in front of children, there has been a collective gasp and twitter of shock that such a thing could be allowed. To most first graders, that word is THE S word.
Today was the speech meet, and Bubs rocked it. He got up there and said his poem the same way he said it over the phone to Grandpa this morning. Seriously. He didn’t act nervous at all. He’ll be taking his public speaking show on the road to the regional meet in April. And I have no doubt he’ll rock that too.
They didn’t allow us to video at the event, so when Bubs got home from school Art recorded him. They were in a bit of a hurry so he’s rushing a bit. But I’m sure you can see how incredibly amazing he was.
Rock on, little man. Rock on.
And maybe, if you’re a good little boy, next year you can get a real poem to memorize.
Or you could just read from the phone book.