A child is a poem

I recently encountered acrostic analogies, thanks to my friend and endless source of inspiration, Margaret Simon. The basic idea is to find your word and then compose analogies on each line, related to the acrostic word.

The word Child came to me pretty quickly:

Courage is to character as
Hope is to heart as
Imagination is to idea as
Love is to life as
Discovery is to delight

It takes courage to be a child. So much is unknown; there’s so much to learn. I think of my granddaughter, age four, sighing heavily at the end of a long, pre-pandemic day. When my daughter-in-law asked what was the matter, my granddaughter said, with utter bone-weariness: “It’s hard to be a kid.” I think of how natural hope is to children. They hope for summer, for pizza and candy, for snow enough to build a snowman, for specific toys, for special things, for being with special people. Hope seems hardwired into children, as does delight. I originally had “dazzling” in place of delight, thinking how discovery causes a child’s face to light up, sometimes drawing a vocal Ooohhhhhhh and a smile. Dazzling seemed temporary, though. Not sustainable. Delight feels more permanent, a better fit with imagination and a synonym for joy, just as intrinsic as hope to children.

Revisiting this Child acrostic today has me thinking that a child is a poem.

A miracle, how you came to be
You were not, but now you are
Materializing in ways I could not foresee
Stardust forming its own new star
Your own direction you’ll go
Your own rhythm and rhyme you’ll make
In all your wanderlust, just know
That whatever path you take
I’m part of you, you’re part of me

Life interwoven, yours and mine
Images of each other we’ll always be
Written in every line.

Read it as if it is referencing a child—doesn’t matter if it’s a child of your own, any one that you’ve loved or taught, one you’ve happened to encounter, or possibly the child you used to be.

Then read it as if it’s addressing a poem. Certainly one you’ve written. Maybe even one you’ve read.

Tell me a child is not a poem.

Or, at the very least, poetry in motion.

13 thoughts on “A child is a poem

  1. Thanks for the shout out. I love how one poem leads to another… A child is a poem. “I’m part of you.” I feel this more and more every day. I saw my Leo today and he pointed to me and said, “Gran!” I think I may have a grandma name.

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  2. I love the way you suggest we read the poem twice. Once with one image then with another. I find myself having to do exactly that when someone writes an extended metaphor. I have to test it with one and then with the other. I guess that means I’m very analog, but as you suggest, it is the proof that what you wrote is truth. I’m sharing it in my email to parents this morning. I’m guessing you won’t mind.

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  3. Just Wow! I love how one poem leads to the other, and I agree that reading them more than once is necessary (as for any poem). I like that you suggested ways to read them (always the teacher). Being a child is hard; growth is hard; change is hard, but your poems emphasize the joy and delight (yes, a better choice than dazzling, I agree). Such a great way for me to start my day today! Thanks, Fran.

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  4. Delight is in your granddaughter’s eyes, Fran. I was just looking at photos of my granddaughters and wishing I was with them. When you are far away (and that is for everyone now), life passes swiftly. It is the moments we cherish. We need to keep the hope ignited for all children. Your 2nd poem is touching – “Stardust forming its own new star”.

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    • Keep hope ignited for all children – that’s true, Carol. You are one who helps keep hope ignited for all of us with your beautiful, uplifting words! When I wrote the “stardust” line I was thinking how we are made of the same elements as the stars and also that watching a child grow and develop is a wondrous thing – a gift – I think this so often when I look at her. She’s almost always smiling.


  5. Courage. YES. I find that children are fearless in so very many more ways than we are as adults.

    They are fearless as writers, as learners. They’re willing to try things just because they’re there for the trying.

    They are fearless (or at least more so) in relationships. Their honesty and earnestness make communication so much easier and up-front.

    “Images of each other we’ll always be/written in every line.” Of course! We always think that it’s the younger generation who emulates us, who take parts of us and absorb them into their being. But we don’t often stop to think how much we watch THEM, how much we learn from their way of being in the world.

    Thanks for this beautiful slice. =)


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