Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Allan Rose reads from “The Greatest Canadian Love Poem and Other Treasures of the Heart”.



Wow! What an afternoon and what a positive experience! We (Cathy, Lisa and myself; Cathy was my sign lady and Lisa took the photos) spent four hours with the young house leaguers of Kincardine who were enjoying many circuits around the rink in their annual Skatathon to raise funds for their community assisted hockey.

We were made welcome by all in attendance, and once I read to the first few children, we soon had a lineup of kids eager to hear a poem (or two) and receive their free books. Parents in attendance were just overwhelmed and so appreciative that their kids had been included in the RAP program. The youngsters enjoyed the poems about doing our part to protect the environment from “A Verdant Green”, but it was a real eye opener to see the enthusiasm for readings from “The Greatest Canadian Love Poem and Other Treasures of the Heart”, both from boys and girls. We heard “Please read another one” more than once. What poet doesn't love an audience like that?

The photographer/reporter from the Kincardine Independent showed up, interviewed me, and took a number of shots. The article should be ready in a few days and I'll send along a copy.

After we had given out all 50 books, the Captain of the local Junior C hockey team (they were there to “skate guard” and supervise the youngsters) skated over and started chatting with me about what we had been doing. Turns out he wanted to hear some love poems! So I went out to the truck and got whatever books I had left in there (about a half dozen) and read him “Hockey and the Girls”. He loved it and called his teammates over, telling them, “Ya gotta hear this guy! He's just like us, only a lot older.” I read four more love poems to these rough, tough hockey players and you could have heard a pin drop. Just goes to show the power of words – the power of poetry. Of course, being a retired high school teacher, it made me feel good inside to know I still could work the magic with this older age group. I didn't have enough books for all of them, but they promised to share what I was able to give them.

We just loved our day and it was an honour to be part of Random Acts of Poetry 2010. As one young lady told us in so many words: “We are lucky to have help from other people so we can play some hockey every week and we are lucky you all came here to read some poems for us. I try hard in school and English is my favourite subject. Now I can see how I can start writing my own poems too because they don't all have to rhyme.” We heard many very appreciative comments in the same vein and the children thought it was wonderful that a complete stranger (a writer/hockey player yet!) was taking such a keen interest in their academics, especially in their progress in their English classes. My words of encouragement did not fall on deaf ears.

Many of the children told me they would be taking their books to school, so I made sure to tell them to have their teachers contact me if they wanted me to do a poetry lesson (or two). I'm sure I'll be hearing from them.

When we left the rink, there was a group of little girls sitting in the lobby warming up, sipping on their hot chocolates, heads down, totally quiet, reading their treasured poetry books. What more could a writer ask for?

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