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Poetry’s Secret Password (Yes) by Prartho Sereno

Written by Prartho Sereno - an excerpt from her book of essays in progress, POEM-MAKING: TENDING THE ROOTS IN A STEM-CRAZED WORLD. 

Today, an especially wriggly third-grader asks if, instead of choosing one of my carefully curated topics (echos, shadows, wind, clouds), he can write about parrots. “Great idea,” I say.

In a few minutes, he’s fluttering his paper under my eyes. “Is this is a good start?” “Come with me…” his penciled scrawl sings, “I will show you… Are you ready?”

“Yes!” I say and call after him as he runs, “And I want to see some of that wild imagination of yours!”

“Oh, you will!” He tosses the words over his shoulder. “I’ve got lots of wild imaginations to put in there!”

And he does. As if propelled by magic, this child who usually can barely get down two lines fills both sides of his binder paper and is more than eager to read aloud. Together we fly with him and his parrots: “Colors in the water!…Water in the air!”

Next week, as we gather on the carpet, he is sitting beside me. “I love poetry,” he says, eyes round and bright as harvest moons.

But that’s not all. I notice a hefty copy of Robert Frost’s Collected Works on his desk. “Robert Frost?” I ask.

“Yup,” he says almost nonchalantly. He opens the tome to a random page and in sudden inspiration points to a passage. “I think I’ll take a line from here to start… Is that okay?”

“Yes,” I say again (the moment Poet-Teachers live for): “Yes, yes, yes.”

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