Monday 19 November 2018

Poetry Monday: The Things We Build

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is "the things we build."

Join Diane and I (Delores is on hiatus for now) as we construct stuff using nails, glue, double-sided sticky tape, a deck of cards, staples, our imaginations, and/or spit. Or maybe . . . snow.

If you'd like to take part, you can leave your poem in the comments on either of our blogs, or if you prefer to post on your own blog, please leave a note in the comments to let us know where to find you.

Today my poem comes without a lot of preamble, but with a whole lot of poem. But I think once you get started it will roll along nicely.

I hope.


How To Build A Snowman: A Guide For Grownups

First, get one or more kids.
Then, make it snow.
(Make sure it's sticky snow.)
(Preferably in a flat place.)
(Six inches of snow is just about perfect.)
(This is probably the hardest part of the whole thing.)
Then, dress kids in warm clothing.
Include mittens, please.
Snow is very cold.
Show kids how to pack the snow into a snowball,
Using their mittened hands.
Replace mittens on kids' hands
If they stick to the snow.
The mittens, not the kids' hands.
Then put the snowball on the snowy flat place
And push it around.
If you like to be orderly, roll in a straight line.
If you want to have fun, roll in all directions.
But not all at once.
Because that's kind of impossible.
Although it's fun to try.
Reminds me of a line from a Stephen Leacock story.
(Stephen Leacock was a funny Canadian author.)
(If you have time, read the whole story.)
(It's hilarious.)
Where was I? Oh yes.
The ball will grow quickly.
Stop when it gets too heavy to push.
Try to stop in a place where it can be seen
And admired.
While you have a rest,
Have kids make another ball of snow
Not quite as big as the first.
If time and snow permit,
Have kids make a third ball of snow
Not quite as big as the second.
Now it's your turn again, big person.
Put the medium snowball on the large snowball
And put the small snowball on the medium snowball.
I know it's complicated but you can do it.
Don't hurt your back.
Find some pieces of coal to make eyes, mouth and buttons.
Wait, people don't use coal at home anymore.
That might be tricky.
Maybe use little rocks instead.
Or twigs from a tree.
Or seed pods from the dead plants in your garden
Because all the plants will be dead
Because snow.
Where was I? Oh yes.
Or use something from your fridge
Like prunes or plum pits or peach pits.
Use your imagination.
Do I have to think of everything for you?
While you're rooting in the fridge
Find an old carrot that you don't want to eat.
A parsnip will work also.
Broccoli can be used in a pinch.
And if you ask me, it's a better use of broccoli
Than eating it.
Where was I? Oh yes.
Stick that in the snowman's head to make a nose.
If you have an old scarf and hat,
Please add those, too.
If you're feeling wild and crazy
Use a colander for a hat.
Snowmen don't get cold.
Well, they're cold to start with
But you know what I mean.
However, they like to be well-dressed.
Don't give your snowman a pipe, though.
Even though a pipe is classic snowman ornamentation,
Smoking is bad for them.
If you have enough time, and enough snow,
Build another snowman
Or a snowdog. Or a snow cat. Or a snow donkey.
Use your imagination.
But above all,
Make sure the kids have fun.
And loosen up and have fun yourself.
You big person with the kid inside.

Basic snowman for illustrative purposes.

Actual snowman in the wild.

This is what happens when the snow is too shallow. It's a snowgrassman. But fun in its own way.

Snowman with collander hat. Maybe it's a cooking pot. It's hard to tell.

Non-smoking celebratory snowman celebrates.

Littlest snowman ever. This is how you take your snowman indoors to take his picture. Put him in a foil tart pan. I love this little guy.

(Photos: Pixabay. Thanks, all you generous people who contribute free use of your awesome pictures for others to enjoy.)


Thanks for reading, my people. If you get the chance to make a snowman, embrace it. The chance, I mean. Heck, embrace the snowman, too. Act like a big kid. You'll be glad you did.


Update:  Next week's topic, as described in Diane's own words:

 "This day in 1922,

King Tut's room was brought to view!"

Well, now . . . that will be a bit of a challenge, at least for me!


LL Cool Joe said...

To be honest I'm happy looking at everyone else's snowmen or women, from the inside, by the fire with a hot chocolate and a mince pie. :D

Yorkshire Pudding said...


Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain
The Great Pyramid at Giza
The Parthenon in Greece
Angkor Wat in Cambodia
The Taj Mahal in Agra
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
The Empire State Building in NYC
The Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai
And the place where you live…
All will crumble
In the end.
I can see it now -
That glorious sunset
When everything has gone
Like the last line of a song.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

No pipe for Frosty, so what about Santa? Maybe we should get them both the patch. Besides with all that ho-ho-hoping, one has to think what they really are smoking. Santa does eat a lot of cookies and Frosty likes to dance around. Makes you wonder.

Pie Tin Snowman is adorable. I am sure he brought lots of smiles in his very short life.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Oh, this is priceless! And you even slipped in a couple of health cautions. Well done! Very well done!

jenny_o said...

To be just as honest, so am I - ha ha

Although I enjoyed being out when I was younger.

jenny_o said...

It's true, it's true. Nothing mankind has made will last forever, except perhaps the ruination of our planet.

jenny_o said...

Hahahaha! Yes, now that you mention it, I DO wonder what they were smoking :)

jenny_o said...

This is why people don't like having a conversation with me, Diane -- there's always a health warning in there somewhere!

Elephant's Child said...

My inner child is frequently the healthiest and happiest part of me. Thank you for indulging her.

Elephant's Child said...

PS: Our usually snow deprived state means I have only ever built two snow creations. A snow woman (which you can probably find on my blog by searching snow slut) and a huge snow chair.

jenny_o said...

Thank you for reading my very lonnnnnng poem, EC :)

jenny_o said...

I remember your snow woman! I was thinking of her when I was looking for pictures to illustrate this post!

Diane Henders said...

What fun! (The poem, and the snowmen, and also Stephen Leacock. I got a couple of his books when I was a teenager and they're still in my library!) :-)

Marie Smith said...

Great poem! I like the way you include the asides!

dinthebeast said...

I like your poem, though I have never built a snowman. I can only remember it snowing enough to stick three or four times where I grew up, and never where I live now.
I have visited places where it snowed, but making a snowman never seemed like too good of an idea then.
I have, however, done quite a bit of building things in my life. Like when I was a kid and my father was studying to be a construction inspector for the Forest Service and decided to do a lot of improvements to the property the house he bought was sitting on...
Like pour a driveway where the back yard had been, and build retaining walls with fences on top of them around the perimeter. As a kid I got good at digging footings, mixing concrete, and carrying slumpstone cinder blocks from the pallet where the delivery driver dropped them to the wall we were building.
Then I went to school to be a welder, machinist, and metal fabricator, and all of that is about building (or fixing) stuff.
Later on I found that most of my possessions were music equipment and so I decided I needed to learn how to fix them when they broke, and before I was through I knew how to think up, design, and build electronic devices.
I found it oddly satisfying to plug in, turn on, and play music with a device I'd made with my own hands, in a way that the metal stuff never really was.
I don't build much any more, but I haven't completely lost my skills. When the power supply to this poor laptop died, I repaired the end of the cable, and now it's kinda ugly, but the light lights up when I plug it in...

-Doug in Oakland

Joan (Devon) said...

Hello Jenny, I enjoyed your snowman poem which made me remember the many times I helped our daughter with her snowmen. Getting so cold with cold wet hands even with gloves on, brrr.

This is my view of something we build.

Construction begins at an early age,
To build our own self-worth.
Lasting our lifetime,
Starting shortly after birth.

Respect, trust and love,
Are feelings we cannot touch,
But still need to develop,
For relationships to thrive as such.

Confidence can also be built,
Within ourselves, also others.
Standing on our own feet,
Letting go the hands of mothers.

Reputations are built alone,
For each of us to work on.
Showing our true character,
Mixing usefulness with tremendous fun.

Age brings forth maturity,
With our building work complete.
It's now time for the youngsters,
To build their lives as sweet.

See you next week, take care.

Martha said...

Every year I say I'll go outside and make a snowman. I've been saying that for years. I know I'll enjoy it once I get started but winter and I don't get along :)

I did enjoy reading your poem!

jenny_o said...

I did an English project on him and that's how I discovered what a great writer he was. Like you, I still have my copies of his books. He had such a wonderfully dry, tongue-in-cheek wit that appeals to me even so many years since he wrote his material!

jenny_o said...

Thank you for reading all the way through, Marie :)

jenny_o said...

You have a lot of different skills, Doug! And a lot of it sounds very physically demanding. Electronic and musical stuff probably requires a lighter touch, I would guess. I can completely see how it would be very satisfying to build and play your own original design musical instrument.

And hey, if your computer works, who cares what the cable looks like? :D

jenny_o said...

That is marvellous and so very true, Joan. It's one of the most important building jobs there is.

I'm about to post next week's topic. Look up above :)

jenny_o said...

You need a child; do you think you could borrow a neighbour's? :D

Thanks for reading :)

River said...

Living inn South Australia, I've never seen snow. But when my kids were little I used to scrape out the frost from the freezer part of the fridge and give it to them in a large bowl and they'd go outside and make a mini snowman which almost immediately melted.
When my grandchildren were young, my daughter took them on a holiday in -------- in the winter and it was snowing while they were up on a mountain so the kids got out of the car long enough to each build a six inch snowman and get a photo taken.

37paddington said...

I’ve never built a snowman but your poem makes me want to!

jenny_o said...

The great thing about snow is that you can make any size snowman you want! I bet your grandchildren loved that experience and the photos.

jenny_o said...

You'd have fun, I know it!

Mr. Shife said...

I am holding out hope that we have to drive to the mountains to build a snow man but we will get our snow soon enough. And it will make the kiddos happy so that's all that matters. Take care, jenny_o.

jenny_o said...

Yes, kids have a good attitude toward snow, don't they? (Although admittedly they aren't the ones shovelling it or driving in it or paying the heating bill!!)

Cherie said...

Oh we love a good snowman... Can't wait till the snow arrives so that we can make one

jenny_o said...

We have enough snow here that I could send you some, Cherie :)

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Proper thing.

jenny_o said...


baili said...

Ahh what a fertile brain you got in you head dear Jenny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! imagination is running like a fastest horse whom no one can stop :)))

Soooooo much enjoyed this really wonderful poem and went through the whole process of snow making which i made only once in my entire life during school picnic to Murree

Loved it ,thank you for sharing the joy oand adventure of winter :)

jenny_o said...

When I began writing it, I thought maybe there were some folks who had never built a snowman, so I wanted it to actually be a description of how it's done - I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for your encouragement :)