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Poem of the Week

A Lullaby from Ghana

Posted on November 27, 2012 by Karen Coats

Someone would like to have you for her child,
but you are mine.

Someone would like to rear you on a costly mat
but you are mine.

Someone would like to place you on a camel blanket
but you are mine.

I have you to rear on a torn old mat.

Someone would like to have you for her child
but you are mine.

Akan people


Something kinda different

Posted on November 6, 2012 by Karen Coatsdrseuss.jpg

Not exactly a poem this week, but a few tongue twisters from Dr. Seuss!

Bed Spreader Bread Spreader

Bed Spreaders spread spreads on beds.
Bread Spreaders spread butter on breads.
And that Bed Spreader better
watch out how he’s spreading…
or that Bread Spreader’s
sure going to butter his bedding.

West Beast East Beast

Upon and island hard to reach,
the East Beast sits upon his beach.
Upon the west beach sits the West Beast.
Each beach beast thinks he’s the best beast.

Which beast is best?…Well, I though at first
that the East was best and the West was worst.
hen I looked again from the west to the east
and I liked the beast on the east beach least.

“The Panther,” by Ogden Nash

Posted on October 23, 2012 by Karen Coatsblckpanthr.jpg

The panther is like a leopard,
Except it hasn’t been peppered.
Should you behold a panther crouched,
Prepare to say Ouch.
Better yet, if called by a panther,
Don’t anther.

from The Oxford Book of Children’s Verse in America,
chosen and edited by Donald Hall ​​​​​​

“The Hump,” by Rudyard Kipling

Posted on October 9, 2012 by Karen Coats

The Hump

The Camel’s hump is an ugly hump
 Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
 From having too little to do.

Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo,
If we haven’t enough to do-oo-oo,
           We get the hump–
           Cameelious hump–
The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head,
 And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
 At our bath and our boos and our toys;

And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know there is one for you)
           When we get the hump–
           Cameelious hump–
The hump that is black and blue!

The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
 Or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
 And dig till you gently perspire;

And then you will find that the sun and the wind,
And the Djinn of the Garden too,
           Have lifted the hump–
            The horrible hump–
The Hump that is black and blue!

I get is as well as you-oo-oo
If I haven’t enough to do—oo—oo!
           We all get the hump–
           Cameelious humy–
Kiddies and grown-ups too!

Rudyard Kipling, from The New Oxford Book of Children’s Verse, edited by Neil Philip, p. 119-20

Permanently, by Kenneth Koch

Posted on October 3, 2012 by Karen Coats

One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.
An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.
The next day a Verb drove up, and created the Sentence.

Each Sentence says one thing—for example, “Although it was a
           dark rainy day when the Adjective walked by, I shall remember
           the pure and sweet expression on her face until the day I perish
           from the green, effective earth.”
Or, “Will you please close the window, Andrew?”
Or, for example, “Thank you, the pink pot of flowers on the window
           sill has changed color recently to a light yellow, due to the heat
           from the boiler factory which exists nearby.”

In the springtime the Sentences and the Nouns lay silently on the
As lonely Conjunction here and there would call, “And! But!”
But the Adjective did not emerge.

As the adjective is lost in the sentence,
So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat–
You have enchanted me with a single kiss
Which can never be undone
Until the destruction of language.​​​

–from The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch, New York, NY: Knopf, 2006.​​​​​​​​​​