Oxford Book of Poetry for Children, edited by Edward Blishen and Brian Wildsmith
Oxford University Press, 1963
Atter her, atter her,
Scatter her, scatter her
Off her mat!
Treat her rough!….
You get the idea? A tongue twister of feline proportions written by Eleanor Farjeon, nestled in the pages of this treasury of poems which was published before I was born. The book belonged to my brother and that was his favourite poem. If I close my eyes I can still hear him reading it and he could read it so quickly! I loved the sound and speed and can remember, with pride, the day I could read it (nearly) as quickly as him.
When I was about eight years old, I had to learn a poem to read to my class at school, and I would have loved to have chosen ‘Cat!’ but still tripped over the words. I chose a simple poem about the tide, also by Eleanor Farjeon which is something I have only just realised today! ‘The Tide in the River’ is slow and steady, uses repetition to create the ebb and flow of the river, and I can still recite it today. It shows me that good poets can use different styles to create a range of amazing images and emotions, just with words.
Oxford Book of Poetry for Children is a treasure trove of poems from classic poets such as William Blake, and John Keats to the madness of Edward Lear, to ‘anon’ and many in between. I love the diversity, the quirky, the classic, the funny, the rhymes, the rhythm.
My brother still has the copy he had when he was young, and now, I have my own copy… I HAD to withdraw it from one of my school libraries as it was well worn….. I just HAD to…..
I love poetry. I really love poetry. One of the reasons I love poetry so much is that I am really, really, really, really bad at maths… You can get maths wrong, and believe me, I know this… but poetry you just sort of can’t!
Words are wonderful.
Rhythm and rhyme rock.
Poetry is the bomb!
Jo van Dam
Jo van Dam – Born in England, emigrated to New Zealand when 11, lives in Auckland near the water with husband and cat, is the librarian at two central Auckland schools (the best job in the world apart from the pay rate), author of three children’s books (the best job in the world apart from the pay rate), has two fabulous children now living and working overseas, loves dancing and walking and canoeing and cooking, and loves the jobs, the husband, the children and the cat.