Christopher Morley is not really known as a children’s poet. I’ve researched him only because of the poem I discovered in an old book found at the used bookstore where I volunteer. He seems to be best known through adult literature, has published over 100 books, articles and essays during his lifetime, according to his brief bio on The Poetry Foundation site.
Most interesting to me were these final words from his obituary, written by Morley himself: “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”
The book is Literature for Reading and Memorization - Book Four, Poems for Children, published in 1929. They write that there are six volumes in the series. The foreword states, in part, “Through literature, the stage of life is set before the child and his own experiences are deepened and broadened by sharing the experiences of others.” And later, “Particularly is childhood the age when the right presentation of wisely selected poems arouses a love of poetry that grows and strengthens with the years.”
The foreward is a sort of advertisement for teachers, telling how the poems have been especially selected for each level for appreciation of the beauty of poetry as well as the importance of language acquisition.
The book really is a treasure, full of lovely poems from poets I already know and of those new. I’ve long kept a collection of moon poems, and loved moon-journaling with my students where we watched the moon for a month, journaling each night to record observations and feelings, art and poetry. So I found a new moon poem, and want to share it with you. Perhaps you’ve seen these words before; I have not. I do love the new “look” Christopher Morley has given to our old friend, the moon.
by Christopher Morley
The moon seems like a docile sheep,
She pastures while all people sleep;
But sometimes, when she goes astray,
She wanders all alone by day.
Up in the clear blue morning air
We are surprised to see her there,
Grazing in her woolly white,
Waiting the return of night.
When dusk lets down the meadow bars
She greets again her lambs, the stars!