Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 22 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day 2014


Happy Earth Day, everyone!


And happy Day 22 as well! Today Maureen Thorson suggests a poem for children (NaPoWriMo). Robert Lee Brewer has a two-for-Tuesday prompt: write an optimistic and/or pessimistic poem (Poetic Asides).

The Glass

The glass is half full.
The glass is half empty.
The glass is too big. But . . .
For kids, half is plenty.

—Draft by Vince Gotera    [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]


Mixed lots of things here: a children's poem that addresses both optimism and pessimism plus Earth Day, indirectly. It was fun to write and came together rather quickly. "It wrote itself," as people sometimes say.

Okay, now let's move on to Dr. Holmes's latest. Alan introduces his poem for us today: "Here's a poem for children that is likely to get me in trouble with parents."

Nuts in Church

There was a boy who had my name;
I guess we even looked the same.
I can’t remember all he did,
but I think he was a good kid
who did his homework, did his chores,
spent lots of healthy time outdoors,
tried to be obedient
(even when not expedient),
treated old folks with respect,
but did stuff folks would not suspect,
feeding stray dogs peanut butter,
floating toy boats in the gutter,
reading books that some kept hidden
and had content they’d forbidden,
but the worst, let’s face the facts,
was during church, he’d sneak some snacks.

We’d all sit there so properly
dressed in our Sunday foppery,
the girls in pastels and in lace,
the boys in slacks. Each well-scrubbed face
a near-raw glow, our hair in place.
We didn’t have computer games
or cell phones—Hell’s eternal flames
would burn us up for sinful play
when we were there to think and pray.
But I admit, there would be some
with peppermint or chewing gum
to pass the dreary hour away
till church was done about midday;
it’s hard to feel contrite and humble
when your stomach starts to rumble.

One Saturday, he had a thought
if he avoided getting caught
a Sunday sermon snack of nuts
would be the best, if he had guts
to take the risk; his pockets full
of peanuts, he left Sunday School
and headed to the sanctuary
knowing that he must be wary
of his watchful mother’s eye
before he gave his plan a try.

She saw him in the back row, sitting
with the sleepy backslid; spitting
mad, she motioned him to her,
and he came up where his folks were
and had to sit just to her right,
the folks in that pew packed in tight,
his elbows at his hips. He felt
the nuts he feared his mother smelled,
and, trying to get one, his fidget
prompted her attention. He’d get
just about to grab a bite
when she’d squeeze on his knee, a “light”
reminder that he must behave.
“Oh God,” he prayed, “I beg you stave
this mortal’s weakened hunger.” (He
did not talk this way usually;
he offered such high eloquence
when seeking God’s benevolence.)
In proof that prayers are not ignored,
about that time his father snored,
distracting folks for pews around,
and our hero shoved his hand down,
retrieved some nuts and stuffed his cheeks
as if he had been starved for weeks,
the happy and contented criminal
hiding his face in a hymnal.

But now he didn’t dare to munch,
believing that the tell-tale crunch
would give his little crime away,
and we all know that crime must pay.
He couldn’t chew or speak or swallow,
and his mouth was too dry to allow
any other option. Bad enough,
he thought he had to sneeze or cough,
and then he did. The peanuts sprayed
all in his lap while people prayed
at service end. His mother caught
him by the ear and then she brought
him down the aisle and out the door,
explaining just what church is for
with emphasis, each step and tug
along the way, the kiss and hug
of loving fellowship left back inside
as she began to dust his backside.

That boy grew up, I’m glad to say.
I see him almost every day
and recognize him through the gray.

—Draft by Thomas Alan Holmes     [Do not copy or quote . . . thanks.]


Ah yes, I remember those days well. When I was about 4, my hands were two intrepid mountain climbers and they would rock-climb (as we say now) all over my torso, 'cause I would be the mountain. Wish I'd thought to sneak in snacks. One of the mountain climbers could convey peanuts up to the cave near the top and then rappel back down — quick! — before he's spotted.

Fun poem, Alan. Enjoyed these rhyme pairs very much: properly / foppery and criminal / hymnal. Amusing juxtapositions. I also appreciate the boy's wistful wish to be back in "the kiss and hug / of loving fellowship." If only. But the dusting must. Brilliant!


Finally, I want to show you some rockin' art I discovered while searching for images of half-full/half-empty glasses. Both of the pieces are by the artist Bradley W. Schenck, who blogs at Webomator. Click on either of the art pieces below to purchase a print or a T-shirt.

      

The pieces above are available in Schenck's shop at Retropolis, the Art of the Future That Never Was.  Browse around Retropolis and his other art shop, Celtic Art Works. The two worlds intersect here. I'm a new big fan of Bradley W. Schenck . . . there be dragons in his Celtic world. And robots in Retropolis. And also his own stories in yet another world, Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual. AND, dig this, he's got a gadget where you can make your own custom pulp magazine covers that say whatever you want. Man, this guy Schenck absolutamente rocks!


Won't you comment, please, friends? To make a comment, look for a blue link below that says Post a comment and click it once. If you don't see that, look in the red line that starts Posted by Vince, then find the word comments and click it once.

Ingat, everyone.  


POEM-A-DAY 2014 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


2 comments:

Thomas Alan Holmes said...

My main mischief during church services was drawing cartoons on the church bulletin--I was heavily influenced by Looney Tunes at the time and was apprehended for depicting one choir member as a large hen. As an even smaller child, pretending my hands were spiders passed a lot of time.

Patent Attorney said...

I really love those retro prints, the glass half full thing has always intrigued me! Why don't people just go and fill up their glass with more water? That's what I want to know.

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