Juvenile Poetry

Next week, at Vikingaheimar, we'll be conducting a bold experiment to try to teach kids aged 10 to 13 something about Viking Age poetry, in fact to have them compose their own kenning-riddled poems. This has got me thinking a lot about the poetry I read in school in California. I remember two poems that we read around this age especially well. One was Edgar Allen Poe's The Cask of Amontillado and the other was Robert Frost's The Mending Wall.  These two poems are associated in my mind not only because I read them at the same time, but also because they both have motifs about walls. We had a wall around the house I grew up in, really I think the only one in the neighborhood that went all the way around front and back. And bees used to nest inside the wall in the backyard, from whence they would occasionally swarm over the house. Climbing over that wall with my sister was always a great adventure as a child, even if all we were doing was getting a tennis ball we'd thrown over.  So I had an early interest in walls, let's just say.

Anyhow, in those two American poems I learned in junior high, a wall is being constructed. One entombs and kills a man, the other one divides two neighbors even as it forces them to come together.

I am not sure why, but I think there is a kenning in there somewhere.

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