Write From Your Love:
the Art of Writing Birthday Verses and Poems for Children
By Joseph Anthony
There is a
tradition in some Waldorf Schools for class teachers to write “birthday verses”
for their students—poems in honor of their students’ birthdays. Some teachers write a new one for their
students every year (in Waldorf Schools teachers travel up through the grades
with the same group of students); other teachers select a passage from one of
their favorite poets and suit it to their particular students (that’s also a
good way to introduce students to wonderful poets they might not otherwise know
of). Some teachers have their students
memorize their birthday verse and recite it to the class; others simply give
the poems as gifts.
written hundreds of poems for children over my 17 years teaching thus far. Birthday poems, graduation poems,
students-leaving poems, etc. It’s one of
the funnest parts of my vocation actually.
Not only do their birthdays and other milestones afford me opportunities
to write poetry, I love writing poems that I know will mean something to them
in that moment and hopefully, for years to come. Today I am offering a small selection
of some recent poems I wrote for my first graders.
Now some of
you might be thinking, “I can’t write poems.”
To that I say: Yes you can. You
can write poems or stories, you can sing, you can draw, you can dance. You can do anything you want to. Leave go the old, limiting voices. It doesn’t matter if the poem rhymes. The only thing that matters is that you think
about, pray for, and imagine the child you’re writing for; write from your love
for that child; write from your hopes for that child; what you would love to
see that child do, become, or be; write what you would love to say to that
child—words they will treasure (imagine words you would have loved to hear from
someone that meant something to you and then write those). Envision that child in the light and write
that vision, write FROM that vision. Write
to heal, write to instruct and guide, write to entertain, write to enlighten. You
can write with themes from the curriculum, from nature, from your own
relationship with your students. There is no right or wrong. Write from the heart. Most of all have fun.
said, here are a few poems for young children. In another post I’ll share ones
I wrote for teenagers.
Poems for First Graders
fledgling owl looked into the night,
that it was filled with light,
like silence born with wings,
the heart of everything.
how to laugh and she knew how to care,
blessed the evening air,
dreaming through the woods,
it her mission to share the good.
with the wind, my heart is free and strong.
with the forest creatures, joining them in song.
paths of dappled wonder, breathing in the light,
peaceful in myself, my thinking clear and bright.
the oak to the seed, “Dear one, dear star,
this truth: you are loved as you are,
shine and you thrive, perfectly you,
easy in knowing this wonderful truth.”
between running and dancing,
rabbit stopped to talk with the sun,
learned to breathe, and that all was well,
then he played until the day was done.
are taken care of,” said the earth to the seed,
have all of the warmth and light you will need,
comes from the world and it comes from your heart,
easy in knowing this right from the start.
will blossom and grow so please do not worry,
be who are and try not to hurry.
are held dear one in the arms of the Light,
rest now and dream through the long winter night.”
Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog