Saturday, December 4, 2010

5th December Christina Rossetti (1830 - 1894)

Christina Rossetti
was an English poet who came from a very talented family of poets and painters. She wrote poetry for adults as well as children, but these poems tended to focus on love, death and religion whereas many of her children's poems focussed on natural phenomena. Children's poetry anthologies include poems such as Who Has Seen the Wind?; Flint; Caterpillar and Hurt No Living Thing. Years ago Scholastic had Eric Carle illustrate this last poem on a Book Club poster and I still enjoy displaying it at child height for the children to read. Teachers use Flint to teach similes and children like to recite Who Has Seen the Wind? because it is just the right length to learn by heart. It has a balance between being concrete enough to understand but obscure enough to be mysterious.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can give Him: give my heart.

It is fitting at this time of year to share Christina's poem What Shall I Give Him? which is actually the last stanza of her poem In the Bleak Long Winter. Debi Gliori used these words as the inspiration for her picture book Give Him My Heart. In this book she interweaves the story of two young girls who want to give a present to someone special. I have it in my library so I will share it at school tomorrow!

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