My age is three hundred and seventy-two,
And I think, with the deepest regret,
How I used to pick up and voraciously chew
The dear little boys whom I met.
— “The Sleepy Giant,” Charles E. Carryl
What I have been trying to do with 90-plus posts about how cool (most) poetry is, Natalie Merchant has already done with one CD, a book, a terrific website about both and a TED talk.
I didn’t know about this project, because I live under a selectively permeable rock—but just in case I’m not alone, several years ago, Ms. Merchant discovered—or re-discovered—some forgotten or overlooked children’s poetry, decided to set several of the works to music, and ended up researching the lives of the poets, too.
As one does.
I love that Ms. Merchant has used her talents to showcase and highlight poems and poetry that otherwise wouldn’t be seen. She calls it ‘bringing life to flat, dead pages,’ and while I don’t see it quite that way,* it’s wonderful to listen to her interpretations of the poems she chose and see how they differ, or don’t, from my own inner voice when I read them.
Only four are included in the TED video, but I went directly to her website and read them all—and listened, too.
Which, I’m sure, was exactly what Ms. Merchant wants us to do.
And damn, but the woman can sing:**
I invite you to go read the poems and listen to what she’s done and then come back and tell me which of them you like best.
I’m partial to “TopsyTurvey-world,” myself . . . but that’s probably not a surprise.
*The printed word has never been dead to me—flat, maybe, but never inert.
**Which I did know, because no rock is that big.
6 thoughts on “Poetry Wednesday: Leave Your Sleep”
This is wonderful. I loved the first one especially, and the “feminist manifesto”.
I love what she did with the “Giant”—I never would have imagined it like that at all.
That Natalie Merchant is something fierce. Amazing stuff. Thank you!
She really is, MSB—I’ve always loved her music and her attitude.
The selection of poems is just awesome. How to pick just one! The Ebenezer Bleezer Ice Cream is fun. My favorite though, is maggie and milly and molly and may…I’ve always loved that poem.
it’s really tough, isn’t it?
I enjoyed Ebenezer Bleezer Ice Cream—I’d never read it before. But Ms. Merchant’s maggie and milly and molly and may was exactly how I’d imagined it.