Poetry (that’s not just) for Children

Confession: I enjoy poetry. Sure, I studied it in college, but more than analyzing and critiquing poems, I love to read them and hear them read. Poetry has a kind of music and expressiveness to it that delights my ears, and the powerful word combinations that condense a large idea into a few lines are an endless source of fascination. I want my children to love poetry, too, so we’ve been reading poetry together at the start of each school day. It’s one of our favorite parts of school, and when I finish reading, the kids invariably ask me to read more. (I often indulge them.) If you want to introduce your children to poetry but don’t know where to […]

A Death on Our Wedding Day

This week we celebrate fifteen years of marriage. Sometimes when I look at the photo on our bookshelf, it’s hard to believe we’re so far removed from that momentous day. (Then a kid screams at his brother and the harsh jolt makes it seem like an alternate lifetime. *sigh*) Our honeymoon didn’t start off at all the way we’d planned. After a perfectly smooth ceremony and a delightful reception filled with family and friends, we were whisked away by a chauffeur in a classy car. It was supposed to be a quick little drive to Nashville–less than an hour from my hometown to the hotel–but shortly after we got on the interstate things came to an abrupt halt. A fatal wreck happened between our classy […]

When You Wake

This is my favorite time-with-you of day, These moments just after you wake With the pink flush of sleep Upon your cheeks And the glisten of a tear Caught in the round place Beside your nose. Your lashes bat away the light That brightens blue your slumbered eyes As you up-reach two dimpled hands And sweetly call my name. I pull your tiny frame up Up into my arms and you Golden-nestle softly tussled head Upon my chest And rest Until the siren call of play Sweetly beckons you away And you scramble from my arms To leave.

A Sonnet for Evelyn

Today is our only daughter’s first birthday. To celebrate, we’re publishing the sonnet I wrote for her. Happy birthday, Evelyn. Though as of now you do not speak one word, Each look you give still says much to my soul. Your deep blue eyes and smile ne’er I misheard: To seek love in my face remains your goal. My soul’s desire for you, child, is to know Man’s love, though good, is bent; it will fail you. So seek the Maker’s love and in it grow To hope in His return, the world made new. O, do not let your love rest only here. No, lay your treasure up in heav’n above, And do not operate in lonely fear, But […]

The Mighty Oak

There lives a mighty oak Next to our crooked drive; Its trunk is tall, its limbs are thick, Its base is firm and wide. Though once its mighty pow’r Was bound into a seed, I now behold a tow’ring strength, A deeper life decreed. Strong roots spread out beneath And break the hard, hard ground While lofty branches high above Speak truth without a sound. It’s been here many years. I know not when ‘twas planted. At least a few gen’rations now Have taken it for granted. It’s lived through drought and flood; through crash and slump it grew. ‘Survived the ‘cane of ‘89 And ice storm of ‘02. I pass this oak each morn While on my way to […]

Rough and Tumble

Rough and tumble—crash!—there goes My coffee cup. I sigh and know They won’t clean up the mess they’ve made. No, not without my guiding aid. I put the laundry down and breathe— I calm myself because I need To temper what I’m wont to yell. It’s simmering there; I feel it swell. I halt my steps a moment more Not to react as oft before. I pray for grace for me, for them. (How oft I need this little gem!) And then I head, quick, down the stairs To find six little eyes, three chairs And toys amuck across the floor All spilling from the pantry door Where hideouts burrow with the food. The eyes are searching momma’s mood. Drawing […]

Midnight Sonnetesque

Now sleepily I lie, and wearily, drearily sigh With heavy eyelids, breaths, and limbs I dream. I’m floating down the Thames upon a stream of boats—But hark! Is that? A baby’s cry. Oh no! I sigh and moan and grip The bedsheets up around my head. I really want to stay in bed, But out I tumble—up!—and trip Into pajamas waiting there, Beside the bed, upon the chair, Where in the dark no need to see Have I, for it is certainty That I’m on call each night to feed My baby girl. I’m all she needs.