Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A New Thing

April is, as I'm sure most of you know,  National Poetry Month. Last year, I celebrated by gracing the sidewalk outside of Bolivar Family Care Center with the poems, "Trees" and "The Sun.".

This month, I'm going to celebrate by embarrassing my kids.

During our homeschooling years, I was big into making my students memorize poems. I loved (and still love) the beauty, the order, the vocabulary, and the rich meaning squeezed into the carefully crafted stanzas of poems. I made the kids memorize because I wanted great ideas, thoughts, and clever wording to be available at a moment's notice in their memory banks. I'm not so sure my children felt the same way, but they did their part and memorized.

I did my part and recorded, forever and always, the recitations of the many and various poems they memorized. 

I can't adequately describe the collective groan that erupts from our kids today when we are watching home videos and one of them appears on the screen in the "I'm about to recite a poem" position. That is quickly followed by, "Oh, Mom!" and laughter as we share the tortured happy memory of those eventful days.

So, to celebrate this year, I'm going to share with you some of the poems I recorded them saying way back when.

Our Luke, now 23, will start us off. It is more than ironic that the first poem I found him reciting was "The Things That Haven't Been Done Before," by Edgar Guest. He has recently embarked on some new adventures of his own - and these, like the ones described in the poem, are at the rim of the far-flung sky. As his dad and I watched his 10 year old self say these noble and courageous words, we loved him more and prayed for him again.

I've included the words to the poem before the video. I encourage you to read them before you watch. When Luke recites the poem, you can understand most of the words, but not quite all. Our ten year old still needed to work on enunciation and projection!

My apologies for the couple of seconds at the beginning (about 8) and the couple at the end of the video that aren't Luke reciting his poem. I didn't know how to edit the video and my technical crew (Faith and Elizabeth) weren't here to show me how. My internal posting deadline was looming, so it went up "as is."


The Things That Haven't Been Done Before

The things that haven't been done before,
Those are the things to try;
Columbus dreamed of an unknown shore
At the rim of the far-flung sky,
And his heart was bold and his faith was strong
As he ventured in dangers new,
And he paid no heed to the jeering throng
Or the fears of the doubting crew.

The many will follow the beaten track
With guideposts on the way,
They live and have lived for ages back
With a chart for every day.
Someone has told them it's safe to go
On the road he has traveled o'er,
And all that they ever strive to know
Are the things that were known before.

A few strike out, without map or chart,
Where never a man has been,
From the beaten paths they draw apart
To see what no man has seen.
There are deeds they hunger alone to do;
Though battered and bruised and sore,
They blaze the path for the many, who
Do nothing not done before.

The things that haven't been done before
Are the tasks worth while today;
Are you one of the flock that follows, or
Are you one that shall lead the way?
Are you one of the timid souls that quail
At the jeers of a doubting crew,
Or dare you, whether you win or fail,
Strike out for a goal that's new?


  1. Shelley! This is the STUFF of life! Thank you for sharing - as a mom, I know that the blessing this brings has no measure. :)

  2. Awesome! Great idea. Now's the time for him to try some things his Mom wasn't imagining before for her first born, huh? You gotta be careful what you teach your kids, they might take you seriously. (Mine have).

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