April poetry month

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22 04, 2019

Poetry Reading Yeah or Nay?

By |2019-04-09T15:27:39-05:00April 22nd, 2019|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

April is National Poetry Month.

According to Cynthia R. Green, poetry is a good way to keep our brains challenged and vibrant because

  • Poetry engages our minds. “By its very nature, a good poem asks us to delve a bit deeper to best discern its intention.”
  • Poetry gets creative juices flowing. “Whether we read or even choose to write verse, poetry forces us to think out of our own box or experience.”
  • Poems fit anyone’s time constraints because they come in all sizes-long, short, and everything in-between.

A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) goes a step further saying that reading or writing poetry can be critical to maintaining our mental acuity and potentially reducing our risk for dementia over our lifetimes.

Now I’d say that gives poetry reading a resounding YEAH.

To help you jump-start your poetry reading, here’s one by Shel Silverstein who wrote children’s poetry.

I often used “Listen to the Mustn’ts” from Where the Sidewalk End in my classroom. I love its message about chucking conventionality and negativity, and embracing the power of imagination and possibility. It’s a lesson for everyone.If you want to keep charging your brain, Poets.org will send a Poem-a-Day via email free of charge. You can register here .

Poem graphic taken from Pinterest.

30 04, 2018

My Favorite Poem

By |2018-04-13T18:23:11-05:00April 30th, 2018|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

April has been National Poetry Month. All month Poets.org has provided opportunities and activities to celebrate poetry and poets.

I couldn’t let the celebration pass without posting one of my favorite poems about a realio, trulio, little pet dragon named Custard. I read Ogden Nash’s poem The Tale of Custard the Dragon to my children and grandchildren so often they can quote it even today.

I love Nash’s nonsensical, humorous style. Reviewers criticize him for taking liberties with spelling and rhyme. I find those liberties delightful because I relate to the same habit.

Just ask my children and grandchildren. I’ve always called them each by a nonsensical name: Brooke became Brook E; Abby – Abby Me Gail; Faith – Faith-e-foo; Morgan-Morgan from org; Landry-Landy Pandy, J.B.-J.Beetle; Sara-Sa-RAH; and Stephanie-Steph-fon-ey.

I’m reminded of the poem every time I sit on the back porch and see my metalwork dragon. Named, you guess it, Custard.

In case you haven’t read the poem:

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called hum Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
and Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

But up jumped Custard snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm,
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda’s dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets, but they didn’t hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim.
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pirate.

But presently up spoke little dog Mustard,
I’d been twice as brave if I hadn’t been flustered.
And up spoke Ink and up spoke Blink,
We’d have been three times as brave, we think,
And Custard said, I quite agree
That everybody is braver than me.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio little pet dragon.

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

If you enjoyed The Tale of Custard the Dragon and would like to read other poems by Ogden Nash, check out this chronological list of all his work: http://www.ogdennash.org/ogden_nash_titles.htm

23 04, 2018

A Lizard Poem for National Poetry Month

By |2018-04-15T07:01:08-05:00April 23rd, 2018|A Writer's Life, Make Me Think Monday|3 Comments

The Academy of American Poets established April as poetry month in 1996 to encourage people about the pleasure of reading poetry. It’s all explained here.

In honor of poetry month, here’s a little story about poetry writing.

Years ago, my second oldest grandson and I were sitting at the kitchen table discussing his homework. He’s home schooled, and I’d promised his parents to work with him while he was visiting.

Like his daddy (my son), my grandson hated homework. The thought of poetry homework made the task even less appealing, especially when the swimming pool outside was calling.

He twirled his pencil and starred outside at the squirrel climbing the bird feeder. He ate a Pop Tart. He slipped away to play a game of chess with his Pepa. Next thing I knew the rascal was in the swimming pool.

I called him back to task.

Moments later, I caught him at the window. Again.

This time he watched a chameleon on the Maple tree by the kitchen window.

Before I could speak, he pointed to the laptop on the table. “I wrote the poem already.”

This is what I read on the computer screen:

Lizard Poetry

Lazy lizards leap from leaf to leaf

As green as a Sprite can

Lizards like to hide under the weather

Running, hiding, and sneaking around

Crazily, hastily, and hurriedly leaving their tails behind them

The miniature lizards are tiny compared to the big, blue sky

That grandson is off to college next year. I’m sure he’s forgotten about his lizard poem. I haven’t.

I learned a lesson that day about how little boys can multi-task when you think they’re playing.

22 04, 2015

APRIL SHOWERS, MAY FLOWERS and PETRICHOR

By |2015-04-22T06:00:00-05:00April 22nd, 2015|Make Me Think Monday|2 Comments

april showers may flowersWe’ve all at one time or another repeated the rhyme, April showers bring May flowers. Most of us are also familiar with the heady smell before a rainfall.

Since April is also poetry month,  it’s appropriate that the saying first appeared in 1610 in a poem as Sweet April showers/Do spring May flowers.

The science behind the rhyme and that peculiar smell is also interesting.

According to meteorologists, March winds push in low pressure systems to replace the normally dry winter air with much more moist air in the low pressure systems. The more and stronger the low pressure system, the more rain falls.

Days grow warmer and genetically hard-wired plants push through as the soil thaws and frosts end. Rain helps nutrients reach the roots faster. Springtime sees increased activity of animals, birds, and insects which renews the ecosystem.

The smell of rain comes from the oil released into the air before rain begins to fall. Scientists named the smell petrichor. Read all about the process and the name here.

Whether you sing in the rain or grumble inside on rainy days, think about what’s to come. Those dark days will bring beautiful flowers.

29 04, 2013

My choice for April Poetry Month. What’s yours?

By |2018-04-13T16:01:52-05:00April 29th, 2013|poetry|0 Comments

April is National Poetry Month. All month Poets.org has provided opportunities and activities to celebrate poetry and poets.

I couldn’t let the celebration pass without posting one of my favorite poems about a realio, trulio, little pet dragon named Custard.

custard the dragon

I read Ogden Nash’s poem to my children so often they memorized it

The Tale of Custard the Dragon

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called hum Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
and Blink said Weeck! which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

But up jumped Custard snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm,
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda’s dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets, but they didn’t hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim.
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pirate.

But presently up spoke little dog Mustard,
I’d been twice as brave if I hadn’t been flustered.
And up spoke Ink and up spoke Blink,
We’d have been three times as brave, we think,
And Custard said, I quite agree
That everybody is braver than me.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio little pet dragon.

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

I do love Ogden Nash for the nonsensical, humorous way in which he poked fun at the problems of American life in his poems.

Reviewers of his work often criticized him for taking liberties with spelling and rhyme. Things like “If called by a panther/Don’t anther.” Liberties with words that I find delightful.

I relate because I have this habit of adding things to names. Brooke becomes Brook E, Abby – Abby Me Gail, Faith – Faith-e-foo, Morgan-Morgan from org, Landry-Landy Pandy, J.B.-J.Beetle, Sara-Sa-RA, Steph-Stefoney, etc.

To me, nonsensical words and names are fun.

I hope you enjoyed The Tale of Custard the Dragon. If you’d like to read other poems by Ogden Nash, check out this chronological list of all his work: http://www.ogdennash.org/ogden_nash_titles.htm