Friday, December 14, 2007

Poetry Friday -- Picking Favorites

I kept snagging this poem as I ran my fingers through the teeming waters of the Poetry Foundation archive. The more I read it, the more perfect it seemed for this week. This week of Newbery Hopefuls and Newbery Potentials. (Did you notice that the first four letters of potential spell poet?)

Here is the first verse:

Reading to the Children
by Herbert Morris

The first child asks me: Are these poems yours?
The second asks: Where do you get ideas?
The third child says: I have always loved poems.
The fourth child wonders: What makes poems poems?
The fifth one asks: Which of them is your favorite?
The sixth one asks me: Is there ice cream later?
The seventh child asks: Is a poem dreaming?

The verses that follow answer the children's questions, one by one. You might expect me to share with you the answer to the fifth child, in keeping with the theme of "picking favorites." Here, however, is a part of the sixth answer, and it is just as apt:

Ice cream? Of course there will be ice cream later,
more flavors than you knew existed, cookies
shaped like cottages (plumes of chocolate coiling
from crumb-top chimneys), candied apples, plum tarts.
By the time the desserts are brought and passed
(I suggest this for your consideration,
no more than that, one possibility
among the many which may offer themselves),
what you have heard (and, hearing, felt) may well seem
more astonishing than the crisps, the pastries,
the butterscotch napoleons, the rum balls,
mocha parfaits, coconut wafers, jam cakes,
the goblets of vanilla-laced-with-mangoes,
brought on trays from the pantry. One can know that
only at the conclusion, having sampled,
one by one, what was deftly laid before you,
poems read, plates passed, music heard, half-heard,
a judgment reached, or not reached, a choice made.


The whole poem is here.

The Roundup today is at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

3 comments:

  1. Wow. This is a new one for me -- I will take time to imagine all seven of the children and the responses, especially the food-related ones. What an interesting poem!

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  2. Great poem!

    And now I find myself thinking--"the only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream." (Wallace Stevens)

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  3. What a great entry. I'm going to read the entire thing later when it's quiet. Thank you!

    Jules, 7-Imp

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