Missing Mrs. de Regniers

On March 1, 2000 the world lost Beatrice Schenk de Regniers,  an American author who wrote picture book classics for children. She was raised in Crawfordsville, Indiana where a child could  “gather violets, live in a tree, walk in the woods — be.”  

Poetry month invokes in me a desire to remember those masters that came before such amazing contemporary poets as Douglas Florian, J. Patrick Lewis, and Joyce Sidman. Going For A Walk (1982), a small format book by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers,  includes her lovely torn and cut paper collages of a small girl going for a walk and greeting animals along the way.  It was first published as The Little Book (1961). Perhaps my favorite poem of all time is her lovely Keep A Poem In Your Pocket. It promises that a memorized poem is your antidote to loneliness. What Can You Do With A Shoe? (1997) with art by Maurice Sendak begs to be sung to a made up tune of your very own. What can you do/What can you do/What can you do with a broom? she asks the reader. May I Bring A Friend, illustrated by Beni Montresor, won the Caldecott Award in 1965.  I run across first editions of her lovely books from time to time at antique booksellers. I presume that they are rare finds because they seldom get weeded from personal book collections. Some still live on local library shelves in their children’s rooms. They sure do take my breath away. I miss you, Mrs de Regniers.

Keep A Poem In Your Pocket

 

Keep a poem in your pocket

And a picture in your head

And you’ll never feel lonely

At night when you’re in bed.

 

The little poem will sing to you

The little picture bring to you

A dozen dreams to dance to you

At night when you’re in bed.

 

So–

Keep a picture in your pocket

And a poem in your head

And you’ll never feel lonely

At night when you’re in bed. 

 

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