Adventures in poetry

I’m afraid we didn’t get very far in “diving deeper” into today’s poetry selection. Mostly, today was a lesson in multiple meanings of words. By that, I mean, a word that meant one thing in the mid- to late-1800s (when this poem was written) and the colloquially accepted meanings that kids hear today.

First of all, there was quite a bit of twitter about the fact that the poet of our first selection – Emily Dickenson – has a name that makes immature minds go into hysterics. Because, you know, her name has DICK in it. At that point, I knew this selection would be trouble. I just didn’t know how much trouble I was in for.

Here’s the text of the poem:

AUTUMN
Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.

I anticipated “gayer” would cause a reaction, so I spent some time explaining that “gay” had another meaning when the poet was writing.

Of course the little congregation of 9-year old boys at the back corner of the rug thought “nuts are getting brown” was hysterical. They couldn’t contain their delight — definitely wanted to share their unique perspective with all sitting within earshot.

Maybe now that we have worked out all the vocabulary minefields, we can study this poem as the curriculum developers intended. Or not.

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