Once, rushing out of my apartment, some lines occurred to me and I jotted them down. I thought of it as a children’s poem, I titled it 'The City is so Big'. It took me about thirty seconds to write it.
It has been
published many times in readers, at the Middle School level. I have since
written other poems for children, but not a whole book. On one level, the
vocabulary and concepts are fairly easy, yet I also find writing for children
difficult in a way I can’t quite explain. It is kind of like fishing: it
There are poems written at children (too many) and poems written for children. I think
Donald Hall said
somewhere that in the best work written for children, the writer is down on his
knees on the carpet, goofing around with the kids, a kid himself.
If you read the biographies of the classic children’s authors, it seems many were solitary, did not have children, and did not particularly like children, but were themselves rather childlike. It is said that Edward Lear was teething a second time at age forty.
Recently I have seen poems that are almost like another genre; they straddle the border between children’s poetry and adult poetry. Perhaps this is a new development in the history of writing for children—or are they just poems that could be enjoyed by anyone at any age?
What Bee Did
Bee not only buzzed.
When swatted at, Bee deviled,
Bee smirched. And when fuddled,
like many of us, Bee labored, Bee reaved.
He behaved as well as any Bee can have.
Bee never lied. Bee never lated.
And despite the fact Bee took, Bee also stowed.
In love, Bee sieged. Bee seeched.
Bee moaned, Bee sighed himself,
Bee gat with his Beloved.
And because Bee tokened summer
(the one season we all, like Bee, must lieve)
Bee also dazzled.
can hear this:
http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/31/larios.html - 1
how we hanky panky harum
scarum in our happy home, dancing hootchy
kootchy. Sure, it makes for hugger mugger
but we give a hoot for happenstance.
the yard is full o' hound and hares; the door
adorned by hammer and sickle; in the closets, hand-
me-downs. If Hammurabi and his Queen come
by, we won't be hoity-toity, we'll
offer haggis or humble pie. Our bed
floats on hocus-pocus (our corpore
wholly habeas) and the kitchen hums
a hymn, Hail to Higgledy-Piggledly.
If the world can't call our hurly burly hunky
dory, let it hara-kiri if it dares.
This is my last post as guest blogger. I have enjoyed it. I’ll leave you with a praise poem written for children. It is published as a beautiful children’s book, illustrated by Randy Cecil. You’ll want to get it. It feels like a lucky poem to me. I imagine that once the poet had the conceit and the pattern, the poem wrote itself.
Here’s to You
to the birds, the feather people. Birds.
Here's to the whoo ones, the cock-a-doodle-doo ones,
the sitting-on-the-wire ones. Oh, I love the birds.
to the fish, the bubble people. Fish.
Here's to the spiny ones,
the river and the briny ones,
the toothy and the eely ones,
all squishy-squishy-feely ones.
Oh, I love the fish.
to the bears, the hungry people. Bears.
Here's to the black ones,
the humps-on-their-back ones.
Here's to the white ones,
the swimming-through-the-night ones.
Oh, I love the bears.
to the bugs, the leggy people. Bugs.
Here's to the stingy ones,
the weird and the wingy ones.
Here's to the funny ones,
the buzzing, making honey ones.
Oh, I love the bugs.
to the cats, the purring people. Cats.
Here's to the creeping ones,
the get-you-when-you're-sleeping ones,
all country, wild and city ones,
the kitty-kitty-kitty ones.
Oh, I love the cats.
to the dogs, the dreaming people. Dogs.
Here's to the howling ones,
the running, yipping, yowling ones,
all go-and-fetch-a-stick ones,
the lick, lick, lick, lick, lick ones.
Oh, I love the dogs.
to the cows, the giving people. Cows.
Here's to the wooly ones,
the bonny and the bully ones.
Here's to the silky ones
and butter cream and milky ones.
Oh, I love the cows.
to the frogs, the singing people. Frogs.
Here's to the bass ones,
the big-nothing-but-face ones.
Here's to little peeping ones
and lily pad and leaping ones.
Oh, I love the frogs.
to the people, the people people. People.
Here's to the merry ones,
the bald and the hairy ones.
Here's to the Mom-and-Dad ones
and polka-dot and plaid ones.
Oh, I love the people.
here's to you, the you person. You.
Here's to the sweet you,
the messy and the neat you,
the funny-way-you-eat you,
the head-to-your-feet you,
the bones-and-the-meat you,
the total and complete you.
Oh, how I love you, the you person,
you person you.
Yes, you. I love you.