The Language of Shakespeare

Since I wrote about Adam the last time, I should introduce David this time. After all, he did introduce me to blogging in the first place. He was a big college man at the time, but he was creative even as a small child.

When David was in second grade, he saw some show about Robert Frost. Now many kids would not show a lot of interest in a poet gone these many years, if they showed any interest in poetry at all, but this struck a chord with David. I guess writing is in the blood.

He came running downstairs to give me this excited announcement.

“Mom! I’m a poet!”

There is simply no response to this save to rush to the computer and happily type up David’s poem as he jumped all over the room, expounding his new creation.

I still have the poem. It began,

And I for one/have seen the sun

That should be two lines, breaking after the slash but I can’t seem to convince this computer that poetry requires single line spacing. In any event, David’s poem goes on for about forty more lines of rhymed couplets in perfect iambic dimeter. OK, the poem didn’t make a whole lot of sense but I was stunned that he had nailed the form.

Once he had finished, David proudly said, “I’m better than Robert Frost!”

Now, I didn’t want to stifle his creative zeal by offering a cold dose of reality about one of the most loved poets of the twentieth century, so I just said, “This is a great poem, Sweetheart.” and hoped the ghost of Mr. Frost would understand.

About a week after writing David’s first masterpiece, I was at David’s school and one of the teachers started telling me how creative and excited he was. This is sometimes a euphemism for, “Your kid’s hyperactivity is driving me crazy. Maybe you should consider Ritalin.”

But the teacher seemed genuinely enthusiastic about David’s class participation so I decided to share his most recent accomplishment.

“Yes and he just finished writing a poem in perfect iambic dimeter.” I said proudly.

She smiled and said, “Oh is that the language spoken in the home?”


After years of reflection on this event, I’m still uncertain as to how I should have responded to this question. She was just a kid herself, barely 23 or 24 and happy to be a teacher. I’m certain that poetic forms is not a part of the curriculum on how to be an effective teacher. Actually, I’m certain that it was never even considered.

I tried, in a brief exchange, to educate her about said poetic forms and the language of Shakespeare. I pretty much got nowhere and managed to embarrass the both of us.

Now, after all this time, I see this term, the language of Shakespeare, and I realize that the best possible response to her question should have been, “Yes, yes it is.”