Wednesday 6 April 2016

Donkey Turns English Teacher, Just For Today. Wait, Why Are You Running Away??

April is National Poetry Month in Canada and the United States. I think it should be in every country, but having it in most of North America is not too shabby a start.

If you live in either country, you would only be doing your patriotic duty by writing a poem in the comments. And if you don't live in either country, that's no excuse. You should write one, too. It doesn't need to be long - Ogden Nash could pack a lot into two lines and so can you. Here's one of my favourites from Mr. Nash:


Had 'em.

There now, isn't that easy? Go on now, give it a try. Rhyming, not rhyming, limerick, haiku, ode, sonnet, ballad, free verse   - anything goes!

And just to show you that quality does not matter, I offer from my personal writing vault this clunker from 2010, back when I first heard of National Poetry Month. You will notice that it is written in free verse. In other words, just like talking. See! YOU could do that, too. (Apologies to Robert Frost. I do love his poetry.)


Reply to The Pasture
   - by Procrastinating Donkey

Some experts think that Robert Frost wrote deep poetry.

I honestly can't see it.

Even if they ARE experts.
I still can't see it.
In fact, I see other things when I read this Robert Frost poem:

 The Pasture 

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;  
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha'n't be gone long. You come too.

I'm going out to fetch the little calf
That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha'n't be gone long. You come too.

Why would the writer
(Who is widely agreed to be a farmer)
Want a little calf?
Because he's going to turn it into veal, that's why.
He's not going to cuddle it.
He's not going to shoe it or milk it.
He's not going to bathe it or brush it or clip its hooves.
He's not going to teach it to sing or play checkers.
It's time for veal chops.
You know it's true.
That poem is far from a tender scene, if you ask me.
It's a horror story, for mom and the little guy.
No, I don't wish to "come too", Mr. Farmer.
Back off with your horrific invitation, eh.


(I'm not sure why this poem took the turn it did, but I do hope it is clear that I wrote it tongue-in-cheek.)

Your turn. And if you really don't want to write a poem, but you'd like to take part, you could share a bit of poetry you had to memorize as a child, or a song lyric that speaks to you. Doesn't need to be the whole thing; a line or two will be quite fine. Thank you for reading and playing along, and I hope class did not traumatize you too badly.


Elephant's Child said...

Love your take on the obscenity of veal farming. Someone (Rumi?) wrote that poetry is the language of the heart. Yes, I can accept that, but my heart is also multi-lingual, and speaks in birds and gardens and rainbow.
As a school child I wrote the following - which has stuck with me.

Man, you make the same mistakes
Time after time.
Reaching, grasping
with insatiable greed
Till you overreach yourself.
And are humble for a while.
Then it starts again,
And again till you die.

Cheery little soul wasn't/aren't I?

jenny_o said...

A perceptive soul, I would say. Even then.

I like that very much. And your gardens and birds are definitely a declaration from your heart.

37paddington said...

Possibly my favorite line of poetry in the English language is this from Wendell Berry: "Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts."

dinthebeast said...

Here is a link to a poem I wrote for my friend Briana, who is a poet herself, and she posted it on Allpoetry, a website for poets to display their stuff:

-Doug in Oakland

Geo. said...

O Jenny, it's a bit long but I chose the 1st and last parts of my favorite poem from Kenneth Patchen's book "Because It Is":

"BECAUSE They Were Very Poor That Winter
The only mother he could afford was a skinny old man Who sat on the roof all day drinking champagne--the real stuff was much too expensive): Previous to that, about a year later,
She joined the Society For The Placating Of Polar Giraffes...Obscure indeed are the vestments of destiny: In the end, rose and ostrich smell much alike; and only the thinking of clouds keeps the world on its untroubled course."

jenny_o said...

That is a beautiful line, and good advice.

jenny_o said...

Doug, that is amazing - Briana is a lucky lady. Thanks for the link to the site, too. I'll be going back.

jenny_o said...

That suits you perfectly, Geo. - and now I'm intrigued by that book.

Chicken said...

I happen to love Robert Frost but now I don't love that poem. My company has a hotel in Amherst MA. It's a renovated historical site where Robert Frost once lived. I didn't get to stay in his room, but I did get to visit it when one of my colleagues stayed. I was pretty excited.
I can't choose a favorite. Yet. I'm going to give it some thought and come back. I do remember one line from a poem I wrote back in the teen years, though. "It's light beneath the dark, like grass beneath the snow". Not sure where I was going with that imagery but I still think of the dark as a curtain. Love this post.

Chicken said...

Doug-you are definitely the teller and the tale. Loved this.

Chicken said...

Reminds me of Jabberwocky and a group? A herd? A gaggle? Of Tukrkeys I noticed this morning. I wish there had been the scent of roses to compare them with, but it's snowing in Rhode Island.

jenny_o said...

Hey, I like that. Did you write much back then? (any kind of writing)