Monday, May 3, 2010

Poem #33 - Two Worlds of Words

Last Friday at Country Parkway Elementary in Williamsville, NY, I was once again struck by the beautiful children who speak and understand two languages.  During my exchange year in Denmark, I came to appreciate this gift of two tongues.  I never became fluent in Danish, but 23 years later, a Danish word still occasionally pops into my head and I struggle to find a perfect English equivalent.  What would it feel like to have two complete worlds of words inside, sometimes in their own spaces but sometimes dancing together?

There are a few books about which I can say, "Just trust me...order it!"  The Arrival, by Shaun Tan, is one.  This wordless book about the immigrant experience for older students and their families is breathtaking. 

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(Please click on COMMENTS below to share a thought.)


  1. I'll share this poem with our staff (and they will hopefully share it with our students). We have 162 ESL students in our building and on Friday, we will celebrate our annual Multicultural Day. This helps us uni-linguals understand the joy and riches of knowing two languages...and keeping one in your heart.

  2. Dear Mary Lee,
    How wonderful to have so many ESL students! If you would like a printable version, I'd be happy to e-mail one to you. You'll love that book if you don't already have it...

  3. We would love permission to have students recite this at our annual multicultural fair. We are a bilingual school with various languages and dialects represented.

    1. It would be my honor if your students were to do so...and if they do, and if it is possible for you to record it, I would love to hear. Peace. a. ( xx