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Cece’s sister Sarah, as I may have mentioned before, is a creative force along the lines of, say, Harold Fenster, except she doesn’t focus on only painting, but also puppets, prose, prophecy and, at my request this week, a poem.
Here’s the first stanza of the poem I asked her to write:
Horses trot gallantly around,
pushing up daisies upon the ground
Dream, a horse, whom I met
Only wanted me, and none for the rest
Before the bitterness, the skepticism, the grumpiness, the cynicism, the million reruns of MASH, the mistakes, the regrets, the camp sensibility, the summer camp hazing, the reading of His Dark Materials, the negative energy given and received…
…young Tommy Angleberger(that’s my real name), age circa 6, believed in something:
And 20 years or so later, I started to believe again: in Cece, Positive Energy, Sock Monkey, Jim Henson, Dancing Marlys, Maple Hill Farm, bluegrass music, the Qwikpickers, chocolate chip cookies, early trains, dinosaurs and drinking soda from glass bottles.
In my book, The Qwikpick Adventure Society, the three kid heroes find a lot of odd ways to fight off boredom — origami contests, listening to 70s music, playing Penny Basketball, eating expired beef jerky and, yes, writing poetry about the smell of the sludge fountain at the sewage treatment plant.This last item, I’ve discovered, is a great hook for getting kids excited about my book and poetry, too.Some might turn up their noses at my methods, but I’ve gotten kids shouting, screaming and generally going nuts for poetry. As you can see in these two videos featuring clips from a library reading and a school visit: The Short Version. The Longer Version.
Keep reading for more details and some really gross kid poems….
Johnny Cash ain’t happy folks!
My Johnny Cash-recited poem received almost no interest yesterday! Getting a fraction of the hits that, say, Nikki Giovanni or poop-related kid poetry get. Did people take one look at the name Johnny Cash and just move on down the line?
Sorry, Johnny! I’m half tempted to post the lyrics to “Vincent” and replace each mention of “Vincent” with “Johnny Cash.”
Oh what the heck:
Swirling clouds in violet haze reflect in
Johnny Cash’s eyes of China blue.
Colors changing hue…. etc…
People the guy RECORDED A SHEL SILVERSTEIN POEM AND MADE IT A HIT for crying out loud!!! He’s a kidlitter at heart! Despite his recasting as a somber ancient, he had a knack for novelty songs and didn’t mind letting down the tough guy act to show kid-like enthusiasm for stuff. Plus he did a great verison of the Laverne and Shirley theme!
Here’s a poem that is oft heard around the Riddleburger/Bell manse these days.
It’s from a fantastic DVD: Johnny Cash: Ridin’ the Rails.
It’s a 1974 educational, very entertaining TV show that’s basically Johnny Cash talking and singing us through the history of trains in America. Highly recommended, largely because of Johnny’s apparently genuine enthusiasm for the subject. (Frankly, it will make you wonder why, in this world of 300 channels, no one makes shows like this anymore.)
At one point, he appears back in time on the day when the Best Friend of Charleston was taking its first run. That train was the first in regularly scheduled train in the U.S. (So says Johnny.)
As the train picks up speed, Johnny climbs aboard while recited this poem. I don’t know where it came from, but it certainly sounds authentic…
She’s the Best Friend of Charleston,
Neither horse nor breathin’ man.
She’s a rock of rollin’ engine.
Can she run, sir?
Yes, she can.
She’s a horseless hunk of screamin‘, steamin’,
If you’ve nerve to get aboard her
there’s a thrill you’re gonna feel.
Tip you hat and bow down to her,
Christen her upon the way.
She’s the Best Friend of Charleston.
It’s her maiden run today.