The Seafarer

Son announced that he had just read the Anglo-Saxon poem "The Seafarer" ( in a translation quite similar to this one).

Being 11he said, it was interesting.  I asked him if he had read it aloud.  He naturally responded no.  Now I won't go off on my diatribe on poetry as a spoken as well as a written art and how every poem should be heard as well as read and that poetry demands reading aloud (oops, I just did).  But I did ask him to read it aloud for me, and as he did so we paused every few lines and reviewed what was going on both in the "story" of the poem and in the language.  What amazed me was his very clear grasp of what the poem was about, the differences between the seafarer and the youth and why those differences occurred. 

I am convinced that if parents, teachers, or anyone would just take a little time and listen to their children reading and stop and ask them questions, we would improve education in this country 10,000% in a single year. It takes so little time, and it is time so well spent, and time lavished upon love both literary and familial.  In this kind of sharing, we share what is important, indeed foundational to many of us.  He loved it, and I loved it, and I was able to revisit (in quite a different language) what I had read so many years ago in my Anglo-Saxon classes (so much of which is completely lost to me now.)


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