a peek inside the fishbowl

06 Jan, 2010

Stealth poetry project con’t: Answer To A Child’s Question

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Stealth poetry

Remember when I fastened a poem to the back of our front door? It’s part of my goal to keep poetry in our hearts and minds.

Well, Emma requested a new poem for the door and I’ve printed one out. It’s posted below.

Say it loud with your kids, then whisper it softly. Read it dramatically. Read it like a robot. Imagine the pictures in your head. Ask your kids: What seasons are we talking about? What does a sparrow, a dove, a linnet and a thrush look like? Do they live where we live? Why are the birds quiet in the winter and loud in the spring? What does the poem make you feel? How do you feel in winter or in the spring? What question was being answered? ETA: Most importantly, don’t drill it into them. This is only something beautiful to be admired and absorbed …  like a piece of art, a pretty flower or a tall tree.

Answer To A Child’s Question
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Do you ask what the birds say? The Sparrow, the Dove,
The Linnet and Thrush say, I love and I love!
In the winter they’re silent — the wind is so strong;
What it says, I don’t know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing, and loving — all come back together.
But the Lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
That he sings, and he sings; and for ever sings he —
I love my Love, and my Love loves me!

7 Responses to "Stealth poetry project con’t: Answer To A Child’s Question"

1 | Kristina

January 6th, 2010 at 10:29 am


That is FANTASTIC! I love it! :)

2 | mrsgryphon

January 6th, 2010 at 11:37 pm


Beautiful! I love your choice of poem – I know so little about poetry, I wouldn’t even know where to start!

3 | meanie

January 7th, 2010 at 7:59 am


i started doing this poetry thing on the back of our front doors in November (after reading one of your posts) and afer my christmas cookie exchange party other moms saw the poems, loved the idea, and are now doing it in their homes. so inspiring!

4 | Nicol

January 7th, 2010 at 6:39 pm


Wonderful! My girl’s are too little to read on their own, but I read them poetry daily. I love it and I hope they love it as well.

5 | @WannabeMomErin

January 9th, 2010 at 1:16 pm


At the end of this past work week, a lot of tweeps were tweeting about how awesome you are and the great ways that you engage your daughters in activities. I was at work, and didn’t have time to come read your blog or post a comment, but I just wanted to say that you were on my radar, and I couldn’t agree more with all that everyone else had to say.
You are truly inspiring.

6 | andrea

January 10th, 2010 at 10:09 pm


Thank you very much for your kind words.
I’m speechless. :) I don’t know what to say … but thank you!

7 | Gifting books to children >> a peek inside the fishbowl

November 30th, 2010 at 10:36 am


[…] – It’s a great poem to read out loud. In fact, I think I will print this out as our next Stealth Poetry Project! (Written about here and there.) […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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