Friday, August 24, 2007

Poetry Friday: The Lanyard

Today's Poetry Friday entry is for all you parents out there: Billy Collins' "The Lanyard."

A few months ago I heard Billy Collins read "The Lanyard" aloud on a NPR program. I laughed so hard, I cried. Here are two stanzas from the middle of the poem. You can find the entire poem (and the audio) at the NPR link above.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

When I searched for "The Lanyard" this evening, I found the best link ever at Seriously, don't miss it. It will make your day. You get what you pay for!


Today's roundup is at the fascinating blog The Book Mine Set.


This just in for Poetry Friday: Susan Mansfield talks to U.K. Children's Laureate Michael Rosen for the Scotsman. Here's what Rosen has to say about poetry in the schools:
  • "[The education authorities] haven't twigged it. They think poems are instruments which are an extension of the testing regime. It's a great shame because it says, 'These poems don't belong to you, they belong to us, we clever people who examine and test you. We're giving them to you so we can work out if you're worthy enough to read them and understand them, and mostly we find you're not.' It's terrible."