Thoughtful Thursday: Poetry To Read Aloud to Our Boys

Today’s Thoughtful Thursday poems are to be read aloud and discussed with your sons. “To PJ” by Sonia Sanchez is a sweet little ode to a two year old that is fun to read aloud, and a good example of how poets play with spelling and grammar in their work.

“Michael” by Gwendolyn Brooks is a good poem to read when you want to talk to your young son about his emotions. What scares him? What makes him feel better when he is scared?

“In Both The Families” by Arnold Adoff talks about the range of skin tones that can be seen in the extended family of a child. Adoff, a white man married to a Black woman (author Virginia Hamilton), wrote this poem for his biracial children.

The last two poems, “Problems” and “Reason Why” by Langston Hughes are not only fun to read aloud, they are examples of how poets like Hughes wrote both in standard English and dialect, and present a good opportunity to talk about how people use different forms of speech in different settings. Enjoy.

Sonia_Sonchez_pic

To P.J. (2 yrs old who sed write
a poem for me in Portland, Oregon)

if i cud ever write a

poem as beautiful as u

little 2/yr/old/brotha,

I wud laugh, jump, leap

up and touch the stars

cuz u be the poem i try for

each time i pick up a pen and paper.

u. and Morani and Mungu

be our blue/blk/stars that

will shine on our lives and

makes us finally BE.

if i cud ever write a poem as beautiful

as u, little 2/yr/old/brotha,

poetry wud go out of bizness.

Sonia Sanchez

Michael is Afraid of the Storm

Lightning is angry in the night.
Thunder spanks our house.
Rain is hating our old elm-
It punishes the boughs.

Now I am next to eight years old,
And crying’s not for me.
But if I touch my mother’s hand,
Perhaps no one will see.

And if I keep herself in sight-
Follow her busy dress-
No one will notice my wild eye,
No one will laugh, I guess.

Gwendolyn Brooks

In Both the Families

In both the families that both belong to me
there is every shade of brown, and tan, and paler honey, creamy gold.

I face faces that I see in both the families that both belong to me,
and they can face my crooked grin.

Here is every shade of every color skin.
We fit in.

Arnold Adoff

Problems

2 and 2 are 4.
4 and 4 are 8.

But what would happen
If the last 4 was late?

And how would it be
If one 2 was me?

Or if the first 4 was you
Divided by 2?

Langston Hughes

Reason Why

Just because I loves you –
that’s de reason why
Ma soul is full of color
Like de wings of a butterfly.
Just because I loves you
That’s de reason why
Ma heart’s a fluttering aspen leaf
when you pass by.

Langston Hughes

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