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Poetry Friday -- The Underneath

Monday nights, my husband and older daughter go off to orchestra, leaving Small One and I on our own at book time. We can't read whatever our family read-aloud is (currently The Penderwicks on Gardam Street) because the others would be left in the lurch, so we have to have our own special Monday book.

A number of weeks ago, we started reading the Newbery Honored The Underneath, by Kathi Appelt.

It's an interesting thing, reading a book in little bits just once a week.
There are, I suspect, many stories that wouldn't hold up to the challenge.

The Underneath, though, is episodic and has bite-sized chapters and while we are hungry for it each Monday, we're not left hanging uncomfortably in the middle of a straight-forward, chronologically-arranged narrative.

Instead, we read the chapters like we read poems.
One at a time and then, greedily, a few more before bed.
We savor them.

And really, they are poems.
Perfectly put together little prose poems, layered and sensual.
Absolutely song-like when read aloud.

There is some very heavy stuff.
Sad and mean.
But the humanity (funny word to use when so many of the characters aren't  human) is palpable
and the love, raw and right there at the surface.
In the end, I think we both just feel like we've spent time sitting with beauty when we read this book.
Mondays have taken on a special shine.

So, today, little bits of poetry from The Underneath:

"... Ranger had not realized how much he needed this sweet, friendly sound. How much he needed someone to settle in next to him. He didn't know that he needed to not be so solitary until at last he wasn't. So many needs in one old dog."

"Usually it's better for a house to be inhabited. There's something about the moisture in a person's breath that restores old wood and gives the place some dignity. A house with people who live there tends to sit upright on its moorings. Usually that would be the case."

"All of us have favorites. The sky has favorite comets. The wind has favorite canyons. The rain has favorite roofs. And the trees? Because they live such long lives, their favorites change from time to time."

"With their roots exposed to the very innards of the Earth, where they can feel all its tremors and movements, trees, with their branches skimming the sky, branches that serve as antennae, can tell when something is awry."

If you haven't yet, give it a read.
And take your time.

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love loved it

liz, i finished reading 'The Underneath' just yesterday! haunting and magical and mysterious. definitely, poetry.

Gorgeous excerpts. I'm dying to read this. Thanks for sharing. (Can I join your Monday read aloud group?) :)

Yes! Come over at about 7:45! And can you bring some of your baked goods???;)

Tanita Says :)

Oh, I haven't yet read this one, it sounds very dear.

Ah. I loved that book!

And this description, of all the many out there, might be the best summary of it: "In the end, I think we both just feel like we've spent time sitting with beauty when we read this book."


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