Apparently my essay "Not Writing the Poem" (first published in the Sewanee Review) is included in the "Notable Essays of 2012" list at the back of Best American Essays, 2013. Two years after the fact I learn this. Jeesh.
Things one discovers while editing books:
The following poem was originally published in Divine and Moral Songs for Children (1715). The author was Isaac Watts, whom Lewis Carroll later mocked so beautifully in the Alice books.
Obedience to Parents
Let children that would fear the Lord
Hear what their teachers say;
With rev'rence meet their parents word,
And with delight obey.
Have you not heard what dreadful plagues
Are threaten'd by the Lord
To him that breaks his father's law,
Or mocks his mother's word?
What heavy guilt upon him lies!
How cursed is his name!
The ravens shall pick out his eyes,
And eagles eat the same.
But those who worship God, and give
Their parents honour due;
Here on this earth they long shall live,
And live hereafter too.
Say what you will about contemporary children's literature. At least it isn't this.