14 March 2013

Poetry Thursday - What is a Window by Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen's poem comes from guardian.co.uk/education/2007 - he was Children's Laureate at the time (Julia Donaldson holds the post now).

I love this bit: "A famous poet once asked /  'Who has seen the wind?' /  In the end she didn't find out" and the way the lines sit in the rest of the poem, the way the poem turns on them.
Window in a windmill; image from here

What is a window?

What is a window?
A word beginning with 'w'
like the word 'what' and the word 'word'.
A word ending with 'w' like 'ow!'
but that rhymes with 'cow' not 'window'.
A word of two syllables - 'win' and 'dow'?
Windows don't usually win anything
though you could have a prize window
that won a window competition,
but there's no such thing as a 'dow'.
There is something called a 'dhow',
which is a boat
and 'doh!'
which is what
Homer Simpson says.
The two syllables could be 'wind' and 'ow'.
There is the wind
which does sometimes make you say, 'oh'
when it blows very hard
but 'oh' isn't spelled like 'ow'.
A famous poet once asked
'Who has seen the wind?'
In the end she didn't find out.
Most people have seen windows though.
They're all over the place on the sides of houses and buildings.
Just guessing,
I would say that there are a million types of window.
Here are some: casement, sash, mullion, windscreen, porthole, skylight.
The first people to call a window a 'window'
lived in Scandinavia.
Some of them sailed across the sea to Britain.
When they landed,
if they built a house that had a window
or if they threw something at a window,
they said 'window'.
The people living in Britain at the time
didn't call windows 'windows'.
After a while,
the people living in Britain did start calling
windows 'windows'.
No one knows why.
Are windows windowy?
Is an elbow elbowy?
Is a chair chairy?
I don't know about elbows and chairs
but a window is windowy.
In Scandinavia, people knew that it meant wind-eye.
A window is an eye through which the wind blows.
Or is it an eye that sees the wind?
Or is it the eye of the wind,
what the wind sees with?
What does the wind see?
The famous poet could have asked,
'Who has seen the wind see?'
But she didn't.

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