Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Carl Sandburg

"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest 
form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 27 of FEET IN THE CREEK. 

Week 4 Poets:
April 22: Lee Bennett Hopkins
April 23: Langston Hughes
April 24: Margaret Wise Brown
April 25: Allan Wolf
April 26: Renee Latulippe

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Today's poet is Carl Sandburg.

Sandburg quotes:

     Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.
     Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

Listen to this lovely reading by Sandburg of his children's poems.


Rat Riddles
by Carl Sandburg

There was a gray rat looked at me
with green eyes out of a rathole.

"Hello, rat" I said,
"Is there any chance for me
to get on to the language of the rats?"

And the green eyes blinked at me,
blinked from a gray rat's rathole.

"Come again," I said,
"Slip me a couple of riddles;
there must be riddles among the rats."

And the green eyes blinked at me
and a whisper came from the gray rathole:
"Who do you think you are and why is a rat?
Where did you sleep last night and why do you sneeze
     on Tuesdays? And why is the grave of a rat no
     deeper than the grave of a man?"

And the tail of a green-eyed rat
Whipped and was gone at a gray rathole.

My Intention: Write a free verse poem in which the narrator has a conversation with an animal. Let the animal respond with questions that don't give a definitive answer.

Sing Your Own Song

A dark green bull frog looked at me with bulging eyes
and croaked his deep bass croak
unlike any other on the creek.

"I want your voice," I said. "Teach me to sound like a bassoon."

He flicked his tongue and snatched a fly
and looked at me unmoved.

"Tell me how to make that sound so I can
boss the frogs around and I can sing a song of the creek."

The big eyes stared, the deep voice blared.
"Jug-o-rum. Jug-o-rum. Where does the wind come from?
Can a blade of grass become a tree? Does beaver wish
to be some other beaver on the creek? Why does one
petal from the tulip tree float by me?
Jug-o-rum. Jug-o-rum."

The webbed feet pressed the rock. His legs
stretched long and free as he splashed
into the creek.

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

Week 1 poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

Week 2 Poets:
April 8: Janet Wong
April 9: George Ella Lyon
April 10: Bobbi Katz
April 11: Nikki Giovanni
April 12: Margarita Engle
April 13: Mother Goose
April 14: William Carlos Williams

Week 3 Poets:
April 15: Myra Cohn Livingston
April 16: Mary Ann Doberman
April 17: Christina Rosetti
April 18: Rebecca Kai Doltish
April 19: Wallace Stevens
April 20: April Halprin Wayland
April 21: Robyn Hood Black

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