昭和１７年刊行の「のびる小国民の詩」（吉田瑞穂選、安泰画）という古本があります。全国各地の小学生の詩が１６編集めてあります。選者の吉田瑞穂氏については詳しくわかりませんが戦中から戦後にかけて子供達の詩集や、詩や作文の指導書が多く出されています。タイトルにある「小国民」ーという言葉は「次の時代を担う年少の国民、すなわ児童のこと」だそうですが戦争中に使われたことばで今は死語です。戦時下という特殊な背景で、しかも旧仮名遣いで書かれているため一見身近に感じられないかもしれませんが、集められた詩はどれも子供たちが暮らしの中で見たもの感じたことが子供自身の言葉で表現してあって感動します。私が小学生の時は教科書にいくつか詩が紹介されていましたが自分たちで詩を書くということはありませんでした。兄たちの絵日記には（これがまた特記に値するもので別の機会に紹介したいですが）「がっこうでうた（詩）をかきました」といくつか自作の詩が書いてあります。子供自身が生活の感動を紙に書き綴ることがどれほど教育に大切なことかと思います。１６編のうちの２編を紹介します。There is an old book titled "Poems of Japanese children who are growing up" chosen by Mizuho Yoshida, picture by Yasushi An(?) published in 1942. There are sixteen children's poems from all over Japan. I don't know very much about Mizuho Yoshida but it seems that he has published many children's poem books and guide books on how to teach them to write poems and composition. "小国民(lit. small Japanese people)" in the title is not used in modern Japan any longer because it has an implication of the Second World War. Since it had a special background then and was written in old Japanese orthography, it looks unfamiliar to us, but I am very much impressed by all of the poems because kids wrote about the things which they saw, and their feelings are expressed in their own words. When I was a school child, one or two poems by famous poets were introduced in our textbook and we "appreciate them" but we never wrote poems by ourselves. However when I read my older brother's diaries he wrote some poems saying that they were for school. I think that for children, expressing thoughts or impressions during their daily life on paper is educational and very important in the process of growing. I would like to introduce two poems from the book here.
when my dad goes for shopping
he lets me ride with him on his bike
We crossed the bridge.
Going over the wood blocks bridge, I felt so good.
Tires of the bike made nice sounds and I heard it.
I saw a train over there crossing a railway bridge.
Since I felt so good,
I asked my dad to keep going farther.
Dad laughed above my head.
by Itsuo Matsu-ura (Iwate prefecture)
Cattle in my house
are taller than me.
When I come home from school and feed grass to one,
he eats them staring at me with his big eyes.
He looks very happy to eat.
I wonder if my dad who is in the battlefield now is thinking of him.
Whenever I see our cattle, I am thinking of him.
by Mitsuki Ikeda (Kagoshima prefecture)