Thursday, March 14, 2019

Poetry Friday -- Climate Change Edition

For today's Climate Change Edition of Poetry Friday, I'm reposting a poem I wrote for my 2017 Poetry Month project featuring Malvina Reynolds.

“ was while doing graduate work in English there (University of California Berkeley) that she did some student teaching. She used pop songs to teach her high school students about rhyme scheme and meter, as they were not poetry readers."

Malvina Reynolds would have been at Berkeley in the 1920's, and "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue" was a popular song then. Perhaps it was one she used to teach about rhyme scheme and meter.

I used this song as my mentor text for a poem about Mother Nature.

Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue
Words: Sam M. Lewis and Joseph Widow Young; Music: Ray Henderson (1925)

Five foot two, eyes of blue,
but oh, what those five foot could do:
has anybody seen my gal?

Turned-up nose, turned-down hose
Flapper? Yes sir, one of those
Has anybody seen my gal?

Now, if you run into
a five-foot-two
covered with fur,
Diamond rings,
and all those things,
Bet your life it isn't her

But could she love, could she woo!
Could she, could she, could she coo!
Has anybody seen my gal?

My Gal, Mother Nature

Birds and bees, rocks and trees
Oh the breeze and green green leaves
Has anybody seen my gal?

Skies of blue, rivers too
Nature? Yes we need her hues
Has anybody seen my gal?

Now if the skies are hazed
Parks are paved
Trash everywhere,
Species dead
Sewage spread
Bet your life there’s no clean air

The temps are high, could she die?
Could she, could she, could she die?
Has anybody seen my gal?

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

Heidi has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at my juicy little universe. Head over and get inspired!


  1. A perfect choice for this week, Mary Lee. I love the beat of both poems.

  2. I sang along as I read this. Save the planet!

  3. I imagine some of those walking out would love this for their protest song, Mary Lee! Wonderful!

  4. You got my toes tappin' with this one. Perfect!

  5. Heartbreaking, Mary Lee. The upbeat tune and dark message really hit home.

  6. I sang it too,and sadly. It's perfectly matched to the tune except in the ways that it's not matched at all. THEY didn't know, did they? It all felt like progress then, didn't it?

  7. Raising my hand as a singer of the poem. Love the bouncy beat and pattern from Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue. Oh, do I wish and hope and work to save our gal. She's a beauty.

  8. Yes, Mary Lee, I got invested in the song so I started singing along until the message became somber. Then, I started reflecting and rereading. This would be a great poem to bring to the classroom and see what the children would have to say about missing Mother Nature.

  9. Well that certainly packs a punch, Mary Lee! The juxtaposition of the upbeat tune with the despairing message is really effective.

  10. Oh, but this one gets to the heart of it - especially that last query: could she die? You bet...:(

  11. Well that's fantastic-hope we can save "our gal…" Rachel Carson is sending you a wink for this poem and so am I. Time to take a big breath and dig into some major cleanup work ahead.

  12. Thanks for sharing your poem and the idea of using songs as mentor texts, Mary Lee. I especially like the way you added an extra layer of conflict to your poem by pitting the rhythm/tempo in direct opposition to its dire meaning.

  13. I remember your Malvina Reynolds poems, but I must have missed this one. Thank you for reposting it. It's so discouraging that we even have to ask these questions.


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