This week I have three 45-minute poetry writing workshops with a group of local 5th graders—the BPL asked me to prepare the kids for an upcoming tribute to Shel Silverstein. I have to say, until this past weekend, I’d never read any of Silverstein’s work! My friend Kate shared one of his stories with me years ago, but I have to say—I’m not a silly/goofy kind of girl. And you have to have a strong sense of whimsy to appreciate these poems, so…today I came out of my shell and acted out “Danny O’Dare,” the dancing bear who can do the Mashed Potato and the Boogaloo. The kids loved it, especially when I shared my own silly creature poem:
Millie Eckstine the singing swine
Came over to my house to dine
And all my friends, they stood in line
To hear fair Millie sing so fine.
She oinked and boinked and hummed and hawed
She did a dance that was very…odd
She spun and twirled and coughed and sputtered
She shouted out loud, then softly muttered:
“I am an operatic swine
No pig has a voice as sweet as mine
I have sung in London, and Paris, and Rome
But I love nothing more than to sing here at home
I can shatter a glass that’s made of crystal
And make you wish you had brought a pistol.”
Then Millie’s amazing voice took wing
And my poor ears, they started to ring
It was a most extraordinary thing
To hear Millie Eckstine sing!
So I realized early this morning that referencing a pistol probably wasn’t a good call…but the poem still works without those two lines, right? We ran out of time today, but I think the kids still had a lot of fun. My other creature? Grover Philpote the Rapping Goat. Coming up with the rhyming surname is hard!