Poetry can break open locked chambers of possibility”, said Adrienne Rich, one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. Whether it is the Bard of Avon’s famous lines, “To be, or not to be” or Robert Frost’s unforgettable, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the road less traveled by. Poetry goes deep into the recesses of our hearts and mind. It enriches the foundation of our being. It becomes the spring in our step in times of happiness and the force that holds us together in times of stress. Why not share this fountain of inspiration and fun with our children. You will get to spend quality time together, learn something wonderful, improve your child’s vocabulary and language skills and get to appear smart in front of grandparents! Ha!

So here are a few incredible things waiting to happen if you help your child memorize poetry:

Poetry sparks imagination:
Just like coffee kick starts our brain in the mornings, the language of poetry acts as a launch pad that sparks kids’ imagination. Take for example these lines from A.A. Milne’s ‘Waiting at the Window’ 
“These are my two drops of rain
Waiting on the window-pane.
I am waiting here to see
Which the winning one will be.”
The vivid imagery provided in the poem coupled with kids’ fathomless curiosity means they create mental pictures from their existing store of knowledge as well as conjure new ones!

Poetry makes kids thoughtful:
When was the last time any of us contemplated on the sheer beauty and miracle of a sun rise or a sunset? Poetry gives our kids and us a chance to appreciate the simplicity of things and contemplate on the profound truths. Evaluate Robert Frost’s ‘Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening’
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
 and compare it with Rudyard Kipling’s ‘A Way Through The Woods’.

Poetry unites across time and boundaries:
Poetry like music knows no boundaries. Wordsworth lived in the 1800s in England, Pablo Neruda (1904 – 1973) was a Chilean poet-diplomat and our great Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) resided in India. Yet years after they wrote their masterpieces, they are read and revered all over the world. Tagore’s soulful patriotic song, “Ekla Chalo Re…” is a testimony to that reverence. It affects every listener on a cellular level.

Poetry is the place and the reason one falls in love with language. It has the potential to lead change, to evoke compassion and empathy, to carve out the heroes from the humans. Let’s open the door to this great literary legacy for our children. Let us help our children embark on life’s journey armed with great words of inspiration, courage, bravery, comfort and empathy.

Start with Jabberwocky by Lewis Carol, The Owl and The Pussy Cat by Edward Lear, Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field and round it off with Shel Siverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends!