A Family of Poems : My Favorite
Poetry for Children
commercially important publishing categories
sometimes overlap: the non-book and the celebrity
book. The non-book is an object, with contents of
little or no importance. The celebrity book is
supposed to profit from association with a name
customers recognize. But sometimes that recognizable
name comes with a real book. Caroline Kennedy's
excellent new anthology (illustrated by Jon J. Muth)
is an excellent book. The editor shows great respect
for children by choosing real poems and including
Edward Lear, A.A. Milne, Robert Louis Stevenson,
Walter de la Mare -- the first-class poets for
Kennedy also includes Emily Dickinson's " 'Hope' is
the thing with feathers," Thomas Hardy's "Snow in
the Suburbs," Wordsworth's "Daffodils,"
Shakespeare's song for Ariel, William Blake's "The
Tyger," Elizabeth Bishop's "The Fish," Marianne
Moore's "A Jelly-Fish," Theodore Roethke's "The
Sloth," and William Butler Yeats's "The Lake Isle of
Innisfree," along with good jokes by the likes of
Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath and even Wallace
Stevens's "The Emperor of Ice-Cream." Also, Antonio
Machado's "Has My Heart Gone to Sleep," translated
by Alan S. Trueblood:
Has my heart gone to sleep?
Have the beehives of my dreams
stopped working, the waterwheel
of the mind run dry,
scoops turning empty,
only shadow inside?
No, my heart is not asleep.
It is awake, wide awake.
Not asleep, not dreaming --
its eyes are opened wide
watching distant signals, listening
on the rim of the vast silence.