Our First Poems
The Jambalaya Soul Spoken Word team continues to engage and instill in youth and young adults the power of oral expression. Every month Dasan and the poets remind us that spoken word and poetry are good for the mind, spirit, and soul.
Most of us were exposed to poetry at very young ages. As babies we were soothed by a familiar tune: “Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top, when the wind blows the cradle will rock; when the bough breaks the cradle will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all.” Although the words were sung, it was poetry. “One-two buckle my shoe; three-four open the door; five-six pick up sticks; seven-eight open the gate; nine-ten a big fat hen.” Poetry! When we learned to pray at bedtime it was a familiar children’s prayer: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Poetry! We learned children’s rhymes which were, in effect, poems. Can you remember “Mary had a little lamb, its feet were white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go?” What about “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again?” Poetry!
Although we didn’t create those poems, we learned them and can still remember those childhood expressions. Poetry has been a part of us for most of our lives, so it stands to reason that we are transformed by the power of spoken word and poetry. Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Nikki Giovanni, Gil Scott Heron, and those in our lives whose early impact on our souls taught us to love poetry instilled in us the foundation for creating our own expressions, our own beats, our own stories….
Do you remember your first poems?