Kennedy Family Poems -- Sept. 18, 2005

A weekly feature on This Week.


Our voice this week is Caroline Kennedy. Her new book, "A Family of Poems," collects the Kennedy family favorites.

Caroline Kennedy: My mother really loved poetry, reading poetry. It was something that she encouraged John and I to enjoy. Instead of buying a present for a holiday or birthday, we would have to choose a poem. We copied it over and would give it to her. She saved those. And when I look back at that scrapbook, I can see so much about our childhood and [where] we were in different parts of our life. It is such a wonderful thing to have, and we have tried to encourage my children to do that.

There are two poems in here that remind me of my father. One of the poems that I memorized for him when I was very young -- I remember being so proud, and he was so pleased with that and he asked me to recite it all the time -- and those are called "First Fig" and "Second Fig" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. And then also, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is a poem by Robert Frost. He read it at inauguration and used to quote it often in his speeches.

"The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

My mother loved "Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack" from "The Jungle Book."

"As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur belled

Once, twice, and again!

And a doe leaped up -- and a doe leaped up

From the pond in the wood where the wild deer sup.

This I, scouting alone, beheld,

Once, twice, and again!"

This is really a book for families. I know that in my own life poetry was something that was passed down to me from my mother and my grandmother. And I've heard that is so true in many other families that I have spoken to.

So I think that poetry is really something that kids start with when they are very young, and [allow them to] continue to express themselves and their dreams and hopes for the future.


The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:

Leno: Hey, I watched some great softball today -- the Senate hearings on John Roberts.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:

Leno: We did our first show in May of '92. A man named George Bush was president. His approval rating was only 39 percent and someone named Clinton wanted to replace him in the White House. So nothing has changed, basically.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:

Leno: John Kerry is in New Orleans. You know, John Kerry wants to help. He just doesn't know how to connect with the common people, you know. That was his problem. He cannot connect with the common man and woman in the street. Did you see how he surveyed the damage along the coast?

[video of Kerry windsurfing]

Leno: Do you see what I mean? It's just the wrong way.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

Stewart: Take Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. Last week, she took to the Senate floor to deride the federal response to the hurricane.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. (on tape): I intend to find out why the federal response, particularly the response of FEMA, was so incompetent and insulting to the people of our states.

Stewart: Good for her. Not afraid to point fingers. And I'm sure she'll be just as honest and forthcoming when questioned on "Fox News Sunday" about mistakes made at the state and local level.

Landrieu (tape of "Fox News Sunday"): Now is not the time for finger pointing.

Stewart (in exaggerated accent): I mean, uh, don't get me wrong, I would love to do more finger pointing, but my finger is tired.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:

Leno: They released a photo today. It's a real picture of President Bush scribbling a note to Condoleezza Rice during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. It says, "I think I need a bathroom break." Why is this news? How old is the press, 10? He has to go to the bathroom. Why is that a headline? Well, anyway he gave the note to Condoleezza Rice. And did you see her reply? She sent him a note back. There she is there. Can we get a shot of that note? [Rice's note says], "You should have thought of that before we left the house."