Friday, June 26, 2009

Poetry Friday: What's a "suppet?"

Even though I write most of my own curriculum, I'm always on the lookout for things I can use. In pulling together and organizing my curriculum for this coming school year I came across the poem Mary by Walter de la Mare. My 4 and 5-year old students recite a number of poems each year at our spring concert. This year they did Emily Dickinson's A Bird, Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, and Ridiculous Rose by Shel Silverstein. I'm adding Mary to our roster of poems.


by Walter de la Mare

Mary! Mary! Mary!
Come to the dairy, please!
Give me some butter to spread on my bread,
Give me a morsel of cheese.
The cows in the meadow are chewing the cud,
Some of them deep in the stream --
Give me a suppet of curds and whey,
Or a wee little bowl of cream!
It's half a week since breakfast,
And cook won't spare a crumb;
Fol-di-diddle-O, starve I shall,
Unless, you dear, you come!
A hungry wolf's inside me,
Though I wouldn't for world's just tease:
Mary! Mary! Mary!
Come to the dairy, please!

It's almost tailor-made for my classroom. Kids love interesting language, and they love puzzles. "Suppet" is both. Is it a bowl? A snack? A variant of "supper?" And how often do you get to say Fol-di-diddle-O? The melodramatic starving business/hungry wolf is so 4-years old, as is the tone of urgency and immediacy. Most 4-year olds I know who want something want it NOW!

The best connection, however, is the name. Mary. I have a rat terrier named Mary who visits my classroom from time to time and is practically a celebrity as far as my students are concerned. In fact, one of my students (who also happens to be my nephew) made up a little rhyme about Mary, which all the kids say when she visits.

Mary, Mary make you a fairy. (by Arthur Murphy)

This week's Poetry Friday is being hosted by Kelly Herrold at Crossover.


Mur said...

Okay, so I looked up "suppet" in my dictionary. Not there. Then I looked on-line. It brought me to..."The Write Sisters Blog Spot.

The moral? Poetry can make you go around in circles sometimes.


Color Online said...

I like the sounds of the poem, but if someone had shared it with me as a child growing up in the city, I wouldn't feel any connection to the setting. It would sound like another fairy tale that has nothing to do with me. That's not to say I would like it, but I'd have more questions than anything else.

I'm Jet . . . said...

nothing wrong with hav'n questions.

Andrea Murphy said...

I agree that we process things through our own experiences, C.O. (Hope you don't mind me giving you a nickname, Color Online.) I can see how a 4-year old from the city might have a hard time wrapping his or her mind around Mary. It's up to the adult sharing the poem to supply the context the child might need in order to make a connection. My students happen to be country kids. We live in a 1-sidewalk town with farm animals within shouting distance. I'd like to think, however, that I'm a good enough teacher to present this poem to any group of preschoolers, regardless of their everyday life setting. (My students are still going to need help picking the meat off the bone of this poem. The setting may be similar, but the era of the language certainly isn't.)

I agree that it's important to offer young children literature that reflects their lives and their experiences. Kids should be able to find themselves in what they read, but not necessarily in everything they read. I think it's equally important to give them many opportunities to stretch their imaginations.

Thanks for joining the conversation, C.O. Come back anytime! (It's good to see you, too, Mur and Jet.)

Anonymous said...

I hadn't read this one before--kids will love reading it aloud. Yay for teachers introducing their kids to all kinds of poetry!

laurasalas said...

That's me, Laura Purdie Salas (laurasalas) above. Couldn't get it to accept my profile. Sorry!