Leaping Limericks!

When you work with Soma (as James had the opportunity this weekend) you never quite know what will happen in the course of the lesson or conversation and you always come away amazed not just at her genius but at her unshakeable belief in the ability of her students. For those readers unfamiliar with the RPM philosophy, one of the primary tenets is that you presume competence. It really is one of the reasons the method is so successful.  When a student works with her I think they immediately sense her view of them as an intellectual equal and they  relax.  Not only can they relax but they can look forward to learning some new and unusual information!

Yesterday James had a lively conversation with Soma about modern art, sound (including the difference between noise and music), the lack of sound in outer space and the importance of appreciating life.  This all took place in the first part of the session so then he asked her to tell him a story! She didn’t miss a beat and began to tell him about the life of Edward Lear, an English poet and artist who lived in the 19th century. Edward Lear developed seizures early in adulthood and he was abandoned by most his family as a result.  He wandered the world as an artist and eventually ended up in Italy where he began to write limericks to entertain himself because he was lonely.  These nonsense poems which originated in Limerick, Ireland were made popular by Lear.  Soma explained that a limerick has 5 lines.  The first two lines are long and rhyme. The second two are short and the fifth line is long and rhymes with the first one. Then she asked James to write a limerick.  Here is the first one he wrote:

THERE WAS A MAN FROM NEW YORK

HE NEVER LIKED BIG PIECES OF PORK

HE LIKED THEM SMALL

LIKE GOLF BALLS

THEN PICKED THEM UP WITH A FORK

Here is the second one:

THERE WAS A GIRL FROM DENVER

SHE WOULD CRY ALL NOVEMBER

WE ASKED WHY

BUT SHE WAS SHY

WE WAITED FOR FIRST OF DECEMBER

The next session Soma thought it was a good idea for James to work on a small book of limericks so she had him write 6 or 7 more!  This is what I mean by presuming competence. She also challenged him by giving him the city or place that the limerick should start and asked him to go from there. Below are two more limericks.  I will tell you that at the end of his 7th one he told her, NOW I HAVE WRITERS BLOCK!

THERE WAS A MAN FROM PARIS

HE LIKED TO CHERISH

HE HAD HIS BOOKS

HIS LIBRARY SHOOK

HE CONTINUED TO READ WITH RELISH

 

I KNEW A MAN FROM L.A.

HE DID NOT LIKE TO DELAY

HE WAS SAD

WHEN THINGS TURNED BAD

SO HE BEGAN TO LIVE AND PLAY

 

 

 

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