While searching for a poem to read to the class, I was at first unsure what I was looking for in my selection. Frankly, I just read through several poems and tried to see if I could insert myself as the speaker, thinking this would serve me best. When I came across, “A Child’s Garden of Gods” by Belle Randall I felt that I could relate to the curious yet perceptive nature of the children who provide the account. My initial approach to deciding exactly how I was going to read it to the class was to read it aloud and hear what felt right at first glance. I soon realized that I needed to be more careful than that because without close attention I could mess up the flow of the poem (which I certainly did my first time through). Upon further investigation, I realized that one of the characteristics that gravitated me towards this poem was the poet’s use of meter. The poem is comprised of seven stanzas that are five lines each. Each stanza has four consecutive lines of iambic tetrameter and a final line written in iambic trimeter. In a poem written in meter, the words are chosen and arranged in a very intentional way and I therefore felt that in order to maintain the poem’s integrity, I had to pay close attention to the signals that the poet provided. I think that reading in the intended meter helped create lightness and flow that complemented what I considered a humorous poem (the father persists to do yoga while the mother has a mental breakdown). I noticed that the four lines written in iambic tetrameter made up a single sentence with the fifth line being either a closing point or a separate sentence. For this reason, I chose to contrast the two parts by reading the first four lines of each stanza briskly while slowing down for the last. Additionally the final line of each stanza was indented which I felt was yet another cue for emphasis. Along with slowing down for the last line of each stanza, I tried to accent the words with stressed syllables as I felt they served to resolve the stanza. Another aspect of the poem that I made note of was the rhyme scheme which was ABCBD. In each stanza, I was sure to emphasize the second “B” as it was the word that served to complete the rhyme and thus bore significance in my eyes. The last stanza presented something different from the others. The first line begins with, “It’s winter still.” I felt that the use of anastrophe here was intended to create a pause since the sentence ends on the word “still” (can also be interpreted as motionless). Furthermore, this period is an example of caesura in that it serves as a rhetorical break in the flow of sound in the middle of the line.
All in all, I enjoyed studying this poem in preparation for reading it to the class. I felt it gave me greater appreciation for the craft that goes into poetry. To practice for my presentation, I read the poem over and over out loud while looking up periodically to simulate making eye contact. This helped me familiarize myself with the poem and I marked certain points where I could look up and just go off of memory to finish the stanza. Unfortunately, while presenting I got a little ahead of myself and tried to do too much from memory, causing me to lose my place. After this stumble, I was more cautious to avoid further mistakes and in turn kept my eyes on the paper a little more. In addition, I felt slightly flustered afterwards and I believe that I rushed the analysis. That being said, I think I hit on all of the points I wanted to make (although some may have came out a little unclear).