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Television was introduced in South Africa in 1976 when I was 7-years-old. Our family didn’t purchase one right away because only black and white sets were available at first. We were holding out for color and the excitement of seeing Kojak’s bald head in a shade other than grey.


Occasionally, my brother and I were allowed to go to a friend’s house to watch an episode of Shane or Iron Horse and let me tell you, this was the highlight of our week, almost equal to today’s excitement at the mention of a trip to Disney World.


On other nights, we had to make do with what had entertained our family prior to television – the radio. I fondly remember evenings spent sprawled on the carpet beside my brother, Mom knitting on the sofa and Dad “resting his eyes” in his chair, while listening to Springbok Radio shows like The Adventures of Jet Jungle, Squad Cars and The Mind of Tracey Dark. And when I say, “those were the days,” I mean it. Watching television shows together with my family today just doesn’t compare.


Before the idiot box invasion, on nights when there was nothing suitable on the radio, my mom would read to us. Sometimes she read our books and at other times she’d read poetry. She introduced me to my favorite poems, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, The Jumblies, The Tyger, and The Highwayman.


With these magical evenings in mind, I decided to issue a 30-day challenge to myself: Read a poem a day for 30 days. I’m using one of the two poetry collections I own, The Random House Treasure of Best-Loved Poems – 2nd Edition. I’ll start with the first poem and I’ll work my way through them, day by day, in the order they appear in the collection. (Yes, I’m a little too methodical sometimes!) The purpose of the challenge is to bring poetry back into my life by reading each poem many times within the day, silently and out loud, and to record my reactions to the poem. It won’t be a deep analysis – I’m no expert. I want to savor the sight and sound of the poetry without dissecting it. I want to find out if this emersion in poetry has any affect on my writing.


I’ll share a couple with my children and perhaps introduce them to one or two of their future favorites. Tomorrow, the journey begins.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 13th, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC)
Kojak's head was pink and shiny. We were also finally able to tell what flavor lollipops he was enjoying.
Oct. 14th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)
What a great idea! Good book to choose from, too - it won't give you poems all on the same topic in that amount of time.
Oct. 14th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
The first section of the book is The World of Love and Romance. It has less than 30 poems which means that I'll get to venture into the Nature, the Seasons and the Passing of Time section. I'm enjoying my daily dose of poetry.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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