There’s so much poetic goodness going on in the kidlitosphere this month–that’s certainly a cause for celebration. For National Poetry Month I’ve paired up with Liz Steinglass, and we’ve agreed to write and exchange a poem each day of April. I love Liz’s poetry, so it will be a treat to receive a daily poem from her. And I hope that having a partner will keep both of us on track! Unlike Liz, I don’t have a specific topic for the poems that I’m writing this month (but I’m hoping a theme will emerge.)
I’m also celebrating the end of March Madness Poetry! It’s too late to vote in the final match, but you can read my gargoyle poem here if you’d like. I had a lot of fun writing six(!!) March Madness poems–but I am also happy for that challenge to be over. Thank you to everyone who read and voted for the March Madness poems and who shared links and spread the word about the competition. Your kind words, support, and enthusiasm meant so much to me!
One more reason for me to celebrate is that tonight is the first night of Passover. I was delighted that Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong included my Passover poem in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. The seders of my childhood were led by my father, who did not believe in leaving anything out. He and his sisters would race along in Hebrew, while we kids would participate or not–there was always plenty of squirming. I tried to capture the mood of those seders in my poem, especially the pride I felt when I recited the four questions.
At the Seder
My family gathers together,
the table is gleaming and bright.
We tell a great tale of our freedom–
a story for Passover night.
My brother slides under the table—
he’s lurking beneath Grandpa’s chair.
He’s waiting to snatch the afikomen*
while Grandpa is leading a prayer.
My cousin has learned the four questions,
she blushes and sings them with pride:
Why are there matzos, salt water, and herbs?
Why must we lean to one side?
The answers are part of the story–
each year we recite it anew.
We remember a season of slavery,
we’re thankful that season is through.
–Buffy Silverman, all rights reserved
The afikomen* is a piece of matzo that’s broken during the Seder and eaten at the end of the meal. In some families children steal the afikomen and ask for a reward for its return. In other families an adult hides the afikomen and the child who finds it receives a prize. Neither of those options happened in my family–my dad was an oral surgeon and everyone got toothbrushes when someone found the afikomen! I recently learned from a cousin that toothbrushes are still featured in her family’s seder. My kids made out much better when they were young.
Happy National Poetry Month and Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Amy at The Poem Farm for the complete roundup of today’s Poetry Friday posts.