Friday, January 16, 2009

But You Can Have This...

Author Jeff Anderson describes a good writing assignment he had in a class with poet Naomi Shihab Nye. Nye read them You Can't Have It All by Barbara Ras and then asked them to write their own "you can’t have it all, but you can have this..." poem. Read these excerpts of Ras's poem and you'll see:

from You Can't Have It All
by Barbara Ras

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands gloved with green...

you can be ...grateful for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels sucking up the drops on your clean skin...

You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise...

There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother's,
it will always whisper, you can't have it all,
but there is this.

I think winter weather makes introspective poems particularly appeal to me. But I'm going to include an old favorite that is a little less deep.

By Shel Silverstein

Oh, I'm being eaten
By a boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
I'm being eaten by a boa constrictor,
And I don't like it--one bit.
Well, what do you know?
It's nibblin' my toe.
Oh, gee,
It's up to my knee.
Oh my,
It's up to my thigh.
Oh, fiddle,
It's up to my middle.
Oh, heck,
It's up to my neck.
Oh, dread,
It's upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff...

Shel's site has some great activities for kids. There's stuff for teachers/parents, too.

You can hear The Chenille Sisters sing Boa Constrictor here.

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