Postcards from Childhood

A few months ago, when Orion’s editors began to discuss early versions of Richard Lewis’s essay on childhood imagination (“A Wilderness of Thought,” July/August 2013), the conversation returned, again and again, to poetry—specifically, to the poems and bits of poems included in Richard’s essay, all authored by poets under the age of twelve. From speaking stones to the whispering wind, there was something special about these collections of words and images, something in tune with the world in a way that we adults have forgotten.

Part of the magic of these poems is how universal they are—from New Zealand to New York, children are at play not only with their legs, but also with words and concepts that our adult selves seem to have left behind. Why can’t we so easily pretend to be a patch of grass or give a mood to the rain? How do we encourage children to hone their poetry skills and not give up on their inherent playfulness?

That’s where Orion’s community of readers came in. We put a call out in the magazine and on social media for parents and teachers to send in poems written by their children, and so far, we’ve gotten a number of thoughtful, creative, and joyful responses. When sending in poems from Asha, Anya, and Leah, teacher Diana Gomez said, “As a teacher, it is my favorite genre to teach, because the children are so easily inspired and have so many wonderful, original thoughts and ways of expressing them.”

We love every single one of the poems we’ve gotten so far, and hope you’ll continue to submit. In the meantime, here are a few highlights; see the rest on our slide show.

If you know a young poet, add their nature poems to the group pool on Flickr or {encode=”” title=”e-mail us”}.