I Am the Seed that Grew the Tree
selected by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
Wow! this huge, weighty volume is most definitely something to celebrate. Containing 366 nature poems, one for every day of the year, the collaboration between publishers Nosy Crow and the National Trust is a veritable treasure trove.
Fiona Waters wonderfully thoughtful compilation includes something for all tastes and all moods: there are poems, chants, songs and rhymes including a fair sprinkling from the great anon.
Each month contains a mix of the familiar including timeless classics, and a wealth of new offerings to delight and enchant.
185 poets are presented, both contemporary and from past times, mainly from UK based and American poets including Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edward Lear, Thomas Hardy, Edward Thomas, William Blake from the UK; and Emily Dickinson, Amy Lowell, my very favourite poet Robert Frost, E. E. Cummings from the US. Alongside are more modern offerings from Charles Causley, Carol Ann Duffy, Richard Edwards, John Agard, Tony Mitton,
Philip Gross, Benjamin Zephaniah to name but a few and from the USA: Aileen Fisher, Jack Prelutsky, David McCord and Myra Cohn Livingstone.
Almost all the poems are familiar to me (no surprise as I have compiled over 30 books of poetry) but I’ve also discovered some new gems such as Adelaide Crapsey’s November Night:
Listen … / With faint dry sound, / Like steps of passing ghosts, / The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees / And fall.
And Snow Toward Evening by Melville Cane:
Suddenly the sky turned gray, / The day, / Which had been bitter and chill, / Grew soft and still. / Quietly. / From some invisible blossoming tree / Millions of petals cool and white / Drifted and blew, / Lifted and flew, / Fell with the falling night.
Frann Preston-Gannon has done an amazing job with her art work: helping to reflect the beauty of the natural world and the changing seasons she provides a fine complement to the poems.
I found this beautifully bound, utterly enthralling book waiting for me on my recent return from India; I’ve been dipping in and out of it ever since, rediscovering old favourites and unearthing some fresh treasures. I suspect I shall continue to do so for a long time yet. It’s an ideal family book, a must for every school and a perfect way to start or end the day (or both).
Come on teachers – what about a poem a day with your class: Fiona has done all the hard work for you.