This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.
Homo sapiens could also be described as Homo poeticans, the only animal that writes Valentine’s poetry (thankfully no other has been discovered; rue the day when we have competition). Let the other ridiculous animals like impalas and lemurs have their mating displays. We have words.
Words can get us into trouble, dithering over what the meaning of “is” is, and Pablo Neruda, and wearing blousson-y poet shirts, open at the collar to insult, as Husb. experienced when he wore one, trying to be all Shakespeare In Love. I asked him, “Oh, are you trying out for a community theater? Robin Hood?”
Behold the mighty pen. This is your brain on Valentine’s poetry: all tingly and lit up. Direct quote from the neuroscientists who study these things: “emotionally charged writing arouses several of the regions in the brain which respond to music.” (Note: the word arouses was not my word. They say science isn’t sexy? Team Sheldon all the way.)
Poetry (but interestingly, not prose — sorry) literally makes your heart sing, makes your toes tap in the same way that listening to Meghan Trainor does for my daughter, 7, who wants to be a rap artist, and raps about cats, “cats sleep on mats, they catch rats, perhaps.” She pretends the cereal spoon is a microphone and begs to watch the video for Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, to “get some ideas,” which I won’t let her. “You don’t need any ideas.” “You have enough ideas already, Missy.”
To distract her, I say, “Let’s write some ‘Roses are red, violets are blue’-type poems, hon. It’s almost Valentine’s Day.” DD is enthusiastic, “Yay! I love poetry! It’s like music.” And she, Emily-Dickinson-ian scribbles out her first poem, called My Brother, for her brother, 9.
Roses are red, sometimes they’re pink
and they don’t stink
like you do.
“Mom! Can I give it to him on Saturday? I’ll put some heart stickers on it.”
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