This is Poem #3 in Free Verse Week II, continuing through Friday.
This poem is for every child...and every child inside.
In our early suburban years, Mark and I did not have children, but we did have a bright blue hammock in our backyard. One sunny summer day, two girl neighbors, ten years old, came down to swing in our hammock. Each carried a plastic bag swinging from her hand. As I opened up the gate to send them on their swinging-way, I asked, "What's in the bags?" They opened their grocery sacks and pulled out two well-loved baby dolls. "We want to swing them on your hammock...but we don't want anyone to know."
Childhood is a beautiful time. A time that should stretch out lazily into as many years as it wishes. As parents and teachers, it is our job to protect this time, to allow Puff the Magic Dragon to live with us for as long as he wishes to stay. Adults - read the poem "On Turning Ten" by Billy Collins when you have a chance.
Students - this poem is a true poem. Sometimes I call up the stairs to my own children, asking them to put any toys into the "giveaway bin". They rarely do, and while their rooms and our house continue to fill with small animals and LEGOs, I'm happy that they love to play. Play! Play! Play! Play is the work of childhood! Go outside! Make something crazy! Pull out a game!
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