Poetry Teatime: With a pot of red tulips
We have a poetry teatime every second Tuesday, and any other day when the mood strikes. Sometimes Nanna or a friend joins us for an arty Tuesday and brings an extra measure of delight. Most of our previous poetry teatimes have been cosy shared readings, snuggled on the lounge with rugs and hot drinks. Our table (when visible) has been pretty, with a blue plate of scented candles and paua shells one week, a treasure box of old and foreign coins and notes another time, or a white platter of pressed fern decorated candles (made with friends) and driftwood and shells we collected.
This time, a pot of red tulips was the star attraction. I asked Jasmine (8) and Elijah (9) to play in the bedroom while I prepared a surprise. Earlier, I had surreptitiously cut wedges of watermelon (an unseasonal treat as it is Winter here) and arranged lamington fingers beside fresh strawberries. All that was left to prepare was laying the table … checked blue and white cloth to contrast with the bright red tulips, a pretty stack of books, plates, serviettes and our 11 languages water jug (made from a simple flask and permanent marker, it shows words used for water in other countries).
The children, when invited in, were delighted and settled in to enjoy our first fancy poetry teatime for the term. We all love stories and are naturally drawn to ballads. I read “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” by Robert Browning while the children enjoyed the feast, then we listened to the recorded version of it on the CD which accompanies ‘A Child’s Introduction to Poetry.’ After some light limericks for dessert, we were full and ready to go out and play.
I loved the relaxed and animated conversations we had about the stories, words and rhythms of the poems we shared. Elijah made up a poem between readings … he suddenly started to say it, and I dearly wished I had a recording device handy, but could only listen and enjoy his moment of inspiration. It was like a sunset that, when you’re caught without a camera, all you can do is sit in awe of it’s momentary beauty. When it’s gone, you fumble trying to describe the colour, light and subtle movements of clouds. Next time I will have paper and pencils handy, and I may just sneak in my mobile phone … the trick will be knowing when to press ‘record.’