Friday, August 26, 2011

Poems for Science: Ubiquitous

I have successfully dragged my youngest son through the last of the Cybils Poetry finalists with me: Joyce Sidman's Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors. P cannot be counted among poetry's biggest fans; his normal instinct is to run screaming. He regards my hobby of memorizing poetry as mild insanity, so including a poem a night in our bedtime reading was a major concession on his part.

However, with this book, he allowed several poems daily, sometimes taking turns reading them with me. Sidman hooked him with science. Ubiquitous traces the history of the planet Earth through life forms, starting with a beautiful color coded time-string showing when each selection developed. We flipped back to the inside cover every few poems to see how much time had passed. Each poem included a facing page with facts about subject and its development, often new information for me as well as P. Some of the poems we liked, some we didn't, some we classified as prose with fancy line breaks, but we talked about both the facts and the poetry. This was a joy for me, and we even had a favorite:

The Lichen We
(after Siegfried Sassoon's "Man and Dog")

Who's this -- alone with stone and sea?
It's just the lowly Lichen We
the alga I, the fungus me;
together, blooming quietly.


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