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I often find poetry anthologies new to me at my library or through reviews. Today I'd like to share a rather old one with poems selected by Georgia Heard one year after the September 11 attacks titled This Place I Know, poems of comfort. The poems were selected to help those children who witnessed that terrible violence and for all who, in the book jacket's words, need a bit of comfort and hope. Each poem is illustrated by an accomplished artist as well. It's a beautiful book, and I just happened to see it at my library recently and it's been on my TBR pile. Of course I can't share the poems in their entire, but thought I might share lines from a few, and links to some, to persuade you to find the book to enjoy the words and beautiful art.
I was driving today, listening to an interview on NPR of the high school principal of Columbine High School who has just announced his retirement after this year. He has been a source of comfort himself all these years, for us here and sadly for those in need at other places. Columbine is often on our minds here in Denver. I was on a school trip with my students in California when it occurred and have found that experiencing it long distance was different than actually being in a Denver school on that day. Those colleagues who were here still talk about their fears that day, and they were miles from the actual event. It will be the 15th anniversary next April. No students in our school were even born yet, and just a few were born before September of 2001; my grandson is one of them. There is no greater sadness than for a child to see such horror, I think. My hope is that we can bring comfort through our actions as well as the words.
"This Place", the title poem by Eloise Greenfield - "There is this place I know/where children go to find/their deepest feelings." Holly Meade illustrates with watercolor. There are children playing by a stream, daydreaming, hand-in-hand, holding flowers.
"Stars" by Deborah Chandra - "I felt them watching over me, each one--/And let me cry and cry till I was done." Yumi Heo's illustration shows a child sitting on what seems like a blanket among the stars.
"Hold Fast Your Dreams" by Louise Driscoll - "Oh, keep a place apart/Within your heart, For little dreams to go." Hiroe Nakata shows a little girl who's rowing the moon among stars.
"Lullaby" by Georgia Heard - "Will you hold me in your lap?
Will you cuddle me so tight?
the rest is found here.
Vivienne Flesher draws a person holding someone, cats surrounding as well.
"Ring Around The World" by Annette Wynne - Ring around the world/Taking hands together" - find all of this here! This illustration by Melissa Sweet shows children holding hands, flying across the world.
I hope you often find your own personal kind of comfort when needed, in this anthology, in other poems, or other ways. Georgia Heard writes, "especially now, after September 11, I turn to poetry more than ever for solace and wisdom."