Posts Tagged poem

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All


Shadows on the wall

Noises down the hall

Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Bad dogs barking loud

Big ghosts in a cloud

Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Mean old Mother Goose

Lions on the loose

They don’t frighten me at all

Dragons breathing flame

On my counterpane

That doesn’t frighten me at all.

I go boo

Make them shoo

I make fun

Way they run

I won’t cry

So they fly

I just smile

They go wild

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Tough guys fight

All alone at night

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Panthers in the park

Strangers in the dark

No, they don’t frighten me at all.

That new classroom where

Boys all pull my hair

(Kissy little girls

With their hair in curls)

They don’t frighten me at all.

Don’t show me frogs and snakes

And listen for my scream,

If I’m afraid at all

It’s only in my dreams.

I’ve got a magic charm

That I keep up my sleeve

I can walk the ocean floor

And never have to breathe.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Not at all

Not at all.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Maya Angelou

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Nonsense


I see the Google doodle for Edward Lear’s 200th birthday.

As Michael Rosen writes, Lear began writing nonsense during his stays at the Knowsley estate of Lord Stanley, who had hired the young Lear to paint his menagerie. He was so bored by the company: “the uniform apathetic tone assumed by lofty society irks me dreadfully … nothing I long for half so much as to giggle heartily and to hop on one leg down the great gallery – but dare not.”

So, Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat:

I

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea green boat,

They took some honey, and plenty of money,

Wrapped up in a five pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

II

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!

How charmingly sweet you sing!

O let us be married! too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?’

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

To the land where the Bong-tree grows

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood

With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,

His nose,

With a ring at the end of his nose.

III

‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.

My favourite illustrated version is by James Marshall:


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I saw…

I saw a Peacock  with a fiery tail

I saw a blazing comet  drop down hail

I saw a Cloud  with Ivy circled round

I saw a sturdy Oak  creep on the ground

I saw a Pismire  swallow up a whale 

I saw a raging Sea  brim full of Ale 

I saw a Venice Glass  sixteen foot deep

I saw a Well  full of men`s tears that weep

I saw their eyes  all in a flame of fire

I saw a House  as big as the Moon and higher

I saw the sun  even in the midst of night

I saw the Man  that saw this wonderous sight.

The pictures are from the wondrous I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail by Gond tribal artist Ramsingh Urveti and book designer Jonathan Yamakami.
What they don’t show you here is the die cutting that lets you see through from one line to the next in exactly the playful way the poem hides and shows itself. This in itself is an achievement. It takes Eric Carle’s idea of putting holes in a picture book a step further, to creatively reproduce the trick of the poem in visual form. It’s worth reading Yamakami’s blog post describing the process he went through to get to this point.
Are you looking for a beautiful Christmas present to give someone?  Try Tara Books’ amazing handmade volumes. The fantastic brainpickings.org (it’s all superlatives today) introduced me to I Like Cats  and The Night Life of Trees.
           
 You can get both books on amazon, but I imagine they won’t last for ever because they are handmade:

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blueberry girl

 

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Three lenses

for studying forests:

The man in the wilderness
Said to me
”How many strawberries
Grow in the sea?”

 

I answered him
As I thought good,
”As many as red herrings
Swim in the wood.”

My mother said
I never should,
Play with the fairies
in the wood.
Down in the wood
the grass was green.
In came Sally
with a tambourine.

 

I came to a river
with no bridge to get across
I paid five shillings
for a blind white horse,
I jumped upon its back
and was off in a crack,
Sally, tell my mother
I am never coming back.

 

I went into the wood one day
And there I walked and lost my way

When it was so dark I could not see
A little creature came to me

He said if I would sing a song
The time would not be very long

But first I must let him hold my hand tight
Or else the wood would give me a fright

I sang a song, he let me go
But now I am home again there is nobody I know.

Stevie Smith

 

 

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The Iron Woman

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Finished reading The Iron Woman by Ted Hughes tonight.
The men in the Waste Disposal Factory that is polluting the marsh are turned into giant water creatures and made to Seriously Reconsider. Things in England at least are never the same.

Hughes, one of my heroes, deserves many entries.

Suffice it to have him read some of his crow poems:


Leonard Baskin’s ink & crayon drawing for the cover of Ted Hughes’ Crow

Black was the without eye

Black the within tongue

Black was the heart

Black the liver, Black the lungs

Unable to suck in light.

Black the blood in its loud tunnel

Black the bowels packed in furnace

Black too the muscles

Striving to pull out into light

Black the nerves, Black the brain

With its tombed visions

Black also the soul, the huge stammer

Of the cry that, swelling, could not

Pronounce its sun.

He was well equipped to make his creation stories for kids, like How the Whale Became etc. Also his Ovid. And the Iron Man and Iron Woman.

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poèmes

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