My Sons, Pure Poetry

If there’s one constant about my boys, it is this: John is always in motion and Sam is always talking.

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John’s hands flap, fingers flick, solo then together. Legs skip to a beat he surely feels but we don’t hear. He jumps and runs and flies through the air. Give him a wide open space: the backyard, or a football field, or a park in springtime and he’s off. Movement is his poetry.

When he was younger — two and three and even four — he was oblivious to everything but his pursuit of lines and shadows and above all, street signs and lampposts. There’s this new documentary called Loving Lampposts? and I can’t wait to see it — I have dozens of photos of John doing just that. When I think about that time, which is not so long ago, I think about the panic that tinged every facet of my day with them. Normal trips to the grocery store or to the playground were wrapped in a layer of impossibility and responsibility. While most children stay with their parents when they go out into the world, John’s first instinct was to bolt. I felt like his very survival depended on my not letting go of his hand.

I still think that it did.

But something has changed with my boy. He stops when you tell him to stop. He turns when you call his name. When we go to the playground now he is still drawn to the same things but he’s also the boy going down the slide and the boy saying “Swing Mommy Push?”

Sometimes when he strays too far, that familiar panic begins its rise in my belly. I’ll begin my sprint after him but just as quick am frozen in my tracks when he turns and stops at the sound of my call. It’s kind of a freaking miracle.

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Ever since Sam was two and learned his alphabet, he started to talk and has not stopped. If he is not talking about anything and everything under the sun then he is humming. He hums while drawing, he hums while playing, he hums while eating, he hums all the while. When I draw his attention to it, he’ll be quiet for maybe 15 seconds and then busts at the seams with sound. It is his poetry.

Sometimes, shame on me, I tune out. I almost missed this loveliness. Something about the language was different and so I stopped cutting vegetables and exclaimed, “Wow, Sam, was that a poem you just spoke aloud?”

“Yep.” he said. “It’s called All Around the Year.” I asked him if it was in a book he was reading and he said no, his teacher had read it aloud to them in class. And he remembered it.

“Honey, do you think you could write it down for me? I’d love to have it,” I asked, once again completely and utterly amazed at his memory.

A Poem
All Around the Year
Now, winter that
mean polar bear. Goes loping
inside its lair. A melting
river tugs loose its terrible
bear hug.
Winter
Spring
As Earth starts to seethe
As plants grow. Willow
branches grow high.
And so will I. And so will I.

9 Comments

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  • Oh. my. WORD! Astonishing.

    When Jack was smaller, he loved sewers, shadows, lines, and doors. Most of all doors.

    And I so feel the responsibility.

  • What a sweet poem. And I like seeing how he wrote it down.

    That is so wonderful that John will turn when you call and stop when you say to. Did it happen all of a sudden, or could you see it happen gradually? It must have completely changed your life! If one of mine could be like that, it would be so freeing.

    They are both such amazing boys

  • Just want to clarify, although I believe him to be brilliant as any mother would :), Sam did not come up with this poem, he just remembered it verbatim as it was read aloud to him in class!

    Bea, it’s so nice to see you here, it’s been awhile! Hope all is well with Bub and Pie.

    Alice, by no means has John’s response to his name happened all of the sudden. It’s been very gradual and something that’s been worked on daily at school. It has completely changed my comfort level when we’re out and about. I’m hoping this new skill will make this year’s summer at the beach a much easier one 🙂

    Brenda, both my boys were obsessed with doors too. Love that Jack loved sewers, though! I wonder if it was the circular shape?

  • Wonderful poem!

    With school out this week I’ll venture to the grocery with one of my boys. I think I’ll take a couple of Advil before we even leave the house! lol….

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