NPM day #4

Today’s poem comes from another picture book anthology collected by the brilliant Paul B. Janeczko called “The Death of the Hat: a brief history of poetry in 50 objects” illustrated by Chris Raschka.  It’s a different approach to teaching about poetry, but one that kids might be able to relate to.  He goes in chronological order from the Early Middle Ages all the way through to Contemporary poets, selecting only poems about things.  Of course the definition of “things” is interesting in and of itself.  Sometimes animals or plants are included, as well as manhole covers and hats.  It’s an intriguing collection definitely worth a read.

The poem I picked to start off the introduction to this collection is one of my favorites in the book.  And since I’m longing, longing, LONGING to see something green like grass these days, I thought I would share this one from the Early Middle Ages and translated as well (from Chinese).  It’s called “Grass” by Bai Juyi.  I love the image of the goose that travels throughout the book (from one of the first poems in the book about a goose).  That is a VERY clever illustrator move, adding something to the text that isn’t necessarily there.

by Bai Juyi
translated by Lan Hua
Far far across the plain
Spreads the grass
One year to another
It withers and returns
Never extinguished
By the prairie fires
With Spring wind
It leaps back to life
Bringing near a fragrance
From an age-old path
As the green sward overgrows
Crumbling city walls
So once again my friend
We must part
With feelings deep as grass
Overtaking my heart

grass poem

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