“He went to sea in a thimble of poetry.”Poet Warning, Jim Harrison
Wynken, Blyken and Nod my childhood friends, lived in the well-turned pages of mother’s Child Craft book of poetry. Their neighbors always made me smile, the Old Lady who lived in the shoe, Miss Muffet sitting primly on her tuffet and that merry Old King Cole too.
I often dreamed of that crazy cow jumping over the moon, prancing round the stars. I lived in my imagination where no one yelled at anyone, hugging my yellow sort-of-teddy-bear smeared with mother’s lipstick so it always smiled at me.
Those dog-eared pages, oh how I loved them. When mama read to me, all was good and calm and fun.
Linda is hosting Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. She introduces us to Jim Harrison (December 11, 1937 – March 26, 2016), an American poet, novelist, and essayist, and provides us with a number of lines from his works. We are to choose one line and use it as an epigraph at the beginning of our poem. An epigraph is a short quotation at the beginning of a book or chapter (in this case, a poem), intended to suggest its theme.
I still have two of the Childcraft volumes published in 1949, including the Childcraft Poems of Early Childhood. I loved these poems as a child and then read them to my children and my grandchildren too. Photo is from the book.
Box of colored chalk in hand, hmmm…. how do I do this again? First, pick the perfect sidewalk spot. White chalk, start close, draw one square. Yellow chalked rectangle on top, divide it into two and three. White chalk again, I like consistency. Draw square four, same as one. Green rectangle right above that, evenly make into five and six. White me a seven. Orange rectangle next, divide precisely into eight and nine. Sky blue ten crowns them all, all squares point to heaven. Brush straggly gray hair off face. Ooh yes, scratch nose where it itches. Small rock in hand, stand steady, stand tall. Neighbor man walks by and smiles, stares at my colorful cheeks and nose. “Hi” I say. “Care to play?” “Nah” he says, “but you go ahead.” So . . . stoop and throw . . . hopscotch through my private rainbow right on up to that promising blue.
Where have all the colors gone? Long time passing. Where have all the colors gone? Long time ago.
Prussian Blue and Indian Red, Blue Gray, Maize, and Green Blue. Orange Red, Orange Yellow, Flesh and Violet Blue, Raw Umber and Mulberry too. Long time passing. Long time ago.
Crayola’s first eight cost but a nickel, presented in 1905. Children were thrilled and color they did, using Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue, Black, Brown, Violet and Orange Kids today need more to be tempted.
Enter Cerulean, Dandelion, Fuschia and Bluetiful too. Most clever and tastiest yet? Yummy Jazzberry Jam. My rose-colored glasses enjoy these hues but one new color does confuse.
Ready for it? You’ll never guess. It’s a bit strange, I do confess, guaranteed to make you squirm. The newest? And I do confirm, it really, unbelievably is Inch Worm!
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets from around the globe where today Mish asks us to write from the perspective of colors. I’ve kind of gone off the beaten track with this…..but here’s some added history: Cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith introduced the first box of Crayolas in 1905 and yes, they did cost a nickel. Over the years color names have come and gone….some in relation to societal attitudes. The color Flesh became Peach in 1962. Prussian Blue was introduced in 1949 but, figuring young children didn’t know anything about Prussia, it was changed to Midnight Blue in 1958. Indian Red was introduced in 1958 and it actually referred to a pigment that originated in India. The color’s name was changed to Chestnut in 1999….but soon after, a disclaimer was made warning children not to try to roast the color or any crayons over an open fire because they would melt and children could be burned. I suppose this warning was in reference to Nat King Cole’s popular The Christmas Song which opened with the line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” And yes, Inch Worm is a real Crayola color! I should also add, apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary for changing the words of their popular song, Where Have all the Flowers Gone. Image from Pixabay.com Information on the history of Crayolas mainly from the article “5 Times Crayola Retired Its Crayons” by Paul Davidson and from Wikipedia.
Would that we all could be
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,
sailing and bobbing along
on beautiful misty seas.
Snuggled together in our boat
lullaby waves softly lulling,
drifting slowly under the stars
off to the shores of Neverland.
Never the hatred,
never the strife.
Never the sadness
never the Covid-19.
Yes, I’ll be Wynken and you be Blynken,
both with our lids shut tight.
Smile with me and together shall we
nod off to the shores of Neverland.
Sarah is hosting Tuesday Poetics today at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to write about boats. For me, the first thing that came to mind was the poem Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. My mother often read it to me when I was very young….always just before bedtime. The poem was written by American writer and poet, Eugene Field and first published on March 9, 1889. Photo illustration is from the actual book my mother read to me from, Volume One, Poems of Early Childhood, in Childcraft in Fourteen Volumes, published by the Quarrie Corporation, Chicago, in 1947. I’ve obviously also taken liberty with Peter Pan’s Neverland!
Skiddely-do, I see you.
tromping loudly as we romp.
Skiddely-do, join me too.
Spinning spinning like a top
round and round we never stop.
Skiddely-do, crouch down low.
Creepity-creep, oh so slow.
Skiddely-do is so much fun
until we’re all, skiddely-done.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Bjorn asks us to write using alliteration (repetition of the same sound in the beginning of one or more words in a line of poetry). It strikes me that young childrens’ games and songs often have alliteration, which makes them “catchy”, easy to memorize and repeat…and when they also include an action (clapping hands; stomping feet; creeping crawling) they’re even more fun! I’m only sorry my grand daughter is not with us in San Diego to make up a tune to this little ditty. Click HERE to listen when she put a tune to a previous poem I wrote a few years ago. Perhaps you can read this new poem aloud and come up with a tune yourself! 🙂
Mind stalled, synapses off kilter
gait pained by age and atrophy,
he swings a chalk bucket
as we walk our weekly walk.
Stopped to watch scurrying ants
he stoops, putting chalk to sidewalk.
Hopscotch numbers beyond his grasp
he draws a simple sun, one cloud.
Standing, he pats my face
grins at me, then bends again.
Clutching pink chalk, draws a string
attached to one pink balloon.
Chalk tossed aside, he lowers himself
shifts bony frame uncomfortably
until he is perfectly placed,
as if holding that pink string.
Eyes tight shut, he lies still
floating in his muddled mind,
beside the cloud and sun.
And I smile wistfully.
I picture him a young boy
spent from playing tag,
drawing this sidewalk scene
lying down just like this . . .
then jumping up to run away,
an entire life in front of him.
Not bumbling to recognize me,
needing a helping hand.
My nephew posted this photo of his son quite some time ago on FB. I loved the photo and asked permission to use it some day on my poetry blog. This little boy is a wonderful bright, lively and imaginative child! I went to a place with this poem that I wasn’t expecting. Posting for OLN (Open Link Night) at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today that famous guy from Sweden, Bjorn, is still revelling in the summer solstice season and Sweden’s advancement in the World Cup!
scabby knees squat low
agate rolled in sweaty palms
spit for extra luck
cold marbles wait for quick hit
king of the hood at six, shoots
A tanka (5 lines with the following syllabic pattern: 5-7-5-7-7) written for Misky’s Twiglet #82, “cold marble”. A twiglet is a short phrase meant to inspire writing. Perhaps someday all our children will only shoot marbles.
In the neighborhood where we raised our children, there was a beautiful weeping willow in the front yard next door. Our children loved to have picnic lunches beneath its low bowing branches. Other times, all the children in the area gathered and played tag, running in and out of the green lacey-leafed cascading curtains, sometimes tripping on the roots that made the ground lumpy beneath its shade. Laughter abounded around the tree.
The only day it earned its name was the day the arborists came. They sawed it into pieces. Drilled out its heart-stump, and carted it all away. My children watched the scene in horror and cried their hurt that night as we sat at the dinner table. Mother nature wept her disappointment in a summer evening storm. Strands of weeping branches littered our street, until the street cleaner arrived early one morning and swept all evidence away.
birds sing sweet sorrow
weeping willow cracks in grief
earth disrobed by man
Thursday is Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Gail is hosting and asks us to come imbibe some words and post one poem of our choice – no prompt given. We’re a friendly bunch. Come enjoy!