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.