Our Featured Poem this week comes from American poet Vachel Lindsay. The Flower of the Mending was originally published in his 1917 collection, The Chinese Nightingale, and Other Poems.
Lindsay is considered the founder of the modern genre of ‘singing poetry’, in which verses are meant to be sung or chanted.
While we may not do a lot of singing or chanting in our Shared Reading groups, here at The Reader we champion reading poetry, and stories and plays, aloud.
We run over 500 Shared Reading groups across the UK, in libraries, cafes and community centres, in care homes, prisons, hospitals and GP waiting rooms, and in every single group, we read aloud.
By reading aloud, we can help the group to read slowly and with purpose. Importantly, it also makes our sessions accessible to everyone, regardless of their literacy or reading ability.
Group members also tell us they find it relaxing to listen to a story or poem read aloud. Others, who struggle to concentrate, say it can help them stay focused. Group members are welcome to take part by reading aloud during the session which, though it can be daunting on the first occasion, can also help to build confidence.
This is how we bring books to life. Now to bring Vachel Lindsay’s poem to life…
The Flower of Mending
When Snail would patch his house,
When moths have marred the overcoat
Of tender Mister Mouse,
To the sunlit blue-grass hills
Where the Flower of Mending yields the wax
And webs to help their ills.
They fall into a dream,
And when they wake the ragged robes
Are joined without a seam.
My heart is but a mouse,
My heart is but a haughty snail
In a little stony house.
Your voice a web to bind.
You were a Mending Flower to me
To cure my heart and mind.
Like the sound of reading aloud? Want to listen along to a story or poem?
If you like the idea of listening along to story or poem, why not come along to a Shared Reading group? We run groups across the UK, you can find one near you here.
If you can’t find a group in your local community, why not help us bring Shared Reading to your area by becoming a volunteer?