A Familiar Cadence

   What is the first poem you remember from your childhood? In my case, it was a Swedish prayer which was said before our meal. I can no longer recite the words, but the cadence stays with me even today. How about “Twinkle, twinkle little star…” or “Now I lay me down to sleep…”? Shall we take a poll?

   What is it about these rhymes that we never seem to forget? Don’t know about you, but what I had for breakfast is a dim memory. Nevertheless, these verses lock into something in some part of our brain that makes recollection a breeze. That is probably why the storytellers of old put their news and family histories to rhyme, so as to be easily recalled, retold and, ultimately, not forgotten.

   I have so many “wonders” that I’ve started numbering them. For instance, Wonder #4,274 goes something like this: I wonder that if we are exposed to the cadence of rhyme at an early, early age does it predispose us as we get older to appreciate the art form because it is familiar and comforting? If so, have we as parents faltered somehow in exposing our babes to the genre? And, is this why the younger generations cannot seem to relate to it? Enter Dr. Seuss. Seriously, there are so many fine writers of children’s books who produce their stories in rhyme that it would be silly of me to begin a list here. (If you consistently share some good ones with your children, please feel free to comment.)

   My early education was virtually riddled with recitation. We begin with the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance (I TOLD you I was old!) The school day continued on with the ABC song, then music class. Oh and one of my all time favorites, though I don’t think this was taught to us but rather made up by us: “1+1 is Two; 2+2 is Four; 3+3 is Six; Please don’t ask for MORE!”

   Those silly rhymes were second nature to us back then. Speaking of rhyme being a second nature, how about The Stars Spangled Banner? Francis Scott Key was a lawyer, of all things, by trade (albeit an amateur poet). Nevertheless, the sight of our flag flying over Ft. McHenry so moved him that he pulled from his breast pocket an envelope and began to write from the heart. In those moments of river-deep emotion, the words flowed forth…in rhyme.

 This brings me to Wonder #4,274(a): I wonder that if we are exposed to the cadence of rhyme at an early, early age does it morph as we get older into an ability to recognize and therefore better understand the cadences of nature, the people we meet, the places we go, and the experiences we have?

In closing,

Listening Heart

A special part inside of you sang out and I could hear;
Something in the cadence was familiar to my ear.

Truly glad I heard it, I hope it never ends.
It was the song of kindness saying “Come, let us be friends.”

It spoke of always giving, no matter what you get.
It spoke of always sharing, without one last regret.

Let me just say “thank you” for that very special art.
Please continue singing for another listening heart.

~ L

Published in: on April 4, 2009 at 3:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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