Thursday, April 7, 2011

Work in Progress: My First

It’s National Poetry Month. First, why April, which, as the poet says, “is the cruelest month”? The answer from the Academy of American Poets is vague (IMHO), sort of implying that all the good months were already taken:

Why was April chosen for National Poetry Month? In coordination with poets, booksellers, librarians, and teachers, the Academy chose a month when poetry could be celebrated with the highest level of participation. Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women's History Month (March), and on the advice of teachers and librarians, April seemed the best time within the year to turn attention toward the art of poetry—in an ultimate effort to encourage poetry readership year-round.” (from )

But moving on—April, October, whatever. Giving poetry 30 days (jeez, why not choose a 31-day month since the whole thing was random?) seems like a small reward given its role in the grand scheme of life, art, and beauty.

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is the first poem I distinctly remember reading. You can probably guess that I was awfully young, and how lovely to have been introduced to the joy of language at such an early age. The battered green hardcover—When I Was Six—is still floating around my parents’ house, and, honestly, just now I was able to recite this without peeking.

The End
By A.A. Milne

When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six,
I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

A.A. Milne is, of course, more famous for writing the beloved children’s classics, Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. (Sounding now like a hoarder, I still have my battered red hardcovers; the paper is worn as pliable as fabric). For fun, here’s a picture of the orginal Edward Bear and friends, living now at the New York Public Library, which doesn’t sound quite as pleasant as the 100-Acre Wood (though the Library is quick to assure us otherwise):


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.