It is that time of year again. Below I have cut and pasted portions of the posts I made for the first day of school over the last couple of years:
Howard Nemerov — about whom I wrote in an earlier post — wrote moving and insightful poems about the subject of starting school. September, The First Day Of School is no less touching in our era of August school starts, and manages a careful balance of sentiment, intellect, hope, and resignation that makes the poem unerringly resonant to me. A colleague and friend, Kate Gallagher, introduced me to the poem years ago, and I think of it every year when preparing for a new group of kindergarteners or first graders. To David, About His Education is just as moving to me — increasingly so, as my daughters make their way towards adulthood.
The Red Hat by Rachel Hadas is one of my favorite school-related poems, and it is one that all parents can relate to. Though it doesn’t exactly describe the first day of school, it captures the mood and emotion that often accompanies the first day. The poem also exemplifies Hadas’ subtle, confident command of form.
For everyone heading into a new school year this, last, or next week, I wish you a good start and a good year.
September, The First Day Of School by Howard Nemerov (from AllPoetry.com)
To David, About His Education by Howard Nemerov (from The Poetry Foundation)
The Red Hat by Rachel Hadas (from an assumption.edu user site)
(I neither condemn nor endorse the analysis of the poem in the link below — I have not read it. I am using the link because it is the best presentation of the poem I could find on-line.)