I recently bought a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein, for my son. He’s 4 and he loves to rhyme so when I saw the book I thought he’d love it.
You know what? I love it even more.
I remember seeing the book around but it didn’t come out until I was finishing high school, so I never read it.
Reading it out loud to my son makes me remember reading other poems as a child and the joy of words spoken aloud just to hear how they sound.
When I opened the book to read to my son, I came to a poem called “Joey.” Read these lines aloud (about how Joey knocked down the sun) and see what you think:
And whoosh! it swizzled
Down so hard.
And bloomp! it bounced
In his backyard.
And glunk! it landed
On his toe!”
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I love the silliness of the poems but I don’t think, as a child, I would have appreciated that silliness, as I was a more serious child. But now I love the silliness and the alliteration and the onomatopoeia.
I have tried to write poetry many times over the years, and enjoyed the attempt, but never wrote anything I thought was worth much. But reading from Where the Sidewalk Ends reminds of the epic poem my brother and I wrote about a school cafeteria food fight, and the spoof I wrote, in verse, of the place I waited tables while I was in college. The restaurant (lounge and bar) was called Pete’s Dream and, of course, my spoof was Pete’s Nightmare.
I think I might start writing poetry again, if only as a creative exercise. And allow it to be silly, as silly as I can make it. That sounds like fun to me. Unlike a poem I wrote many years ago that was cathartic, but not really any fun. You can read it here on my website if you’d like.
I’m also wondering what other children’s poems I might like. I’ll have to go on a hunt, especially as my son asks me to read from Where the Sidewalk Ends all the time. I bet he’d like some other children’s poetry.
Do you read poetry? Who are your favorite poets, especially children’s poets? Please share in the comments.
Diane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, life coach, physician, mother, and stepmother. I’m excited to tell you that I’ll be hosting a one-day writing retreat in September for 12 fellow writers who’d like to spend a day writing together in a comfortable setting. It’ll be structure writing time, a little time to discuss craft, and a whole lot of coffee! Click here to find out more information.