Friday, April 8, 2016

I Love This Little Poem Because

Happy National Poetry Month! To celebrate the month (and especially National Poem in Your Pocket Day), we Teaching Authors are sharing some of our favorite pocket-sized poems.

We have a new puppy, Rosy. The other day, I heard her barking and remembered a favorite old poem Id saved long ago. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate its clever wordplay.

Motto For a Dog 
I love this little house because
It offers after dark,
A pause for rest, a rest for paws,
A place to moor my bark. 
Arthur Guiterman

The last line always grabs me. I didnt realize the double meaning at first: a bark is a kind of boat; of course, a dog’s bark would be moored (tied up) somewhere cozy and safe. And the pause/paws homonyms add to the poems genius.

I looked up Arthur Guiterman and found a Wikipedia entry plus a 1915 (!) New York Times article (read a .pdf here) in which he gives advice on how to make a living as poet. Notice the articles author: Joyce Kilmer! According to Kilmers Poetry Foundation bio, he was on staff at the New York Times around then. I love discovering tidbits like that.

I keep lots of Other Peoples Poems on my computer in a file labeled Inspiration. I turned to that file last year when I visited an elementary school on National Poem in Your Pocket Day. I printed a stack of pocket-sized poems in case anyone needed one. Most students came prepared, but some of the parents at the evening assembly were empty-pocketed, so I was glad I had extras.

Do you have an Inspiration” file? Whats in it?

Be sure to check out our other Teaching Authors posts in this series. April started with Steven WithrowWhat Makes a Turbine Turn from Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell's new anthology, The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for KIDS.

Mary Ann shared the moving and memorable 92 by e.e. cummings, and then April returned with a Wednesday Writing Workout about rhyming patterns in poetry.

Last year for National Poetry Month, I wrote a haiku a day. You can read all thirty poems on my web site. This year, school visits and deadlines made me decide to focus on reading more poetry. Im happy to have so many options available! Laura Purdie Salas has this weeks Poetry Friday Roundup at Writing the World for Kids. Enjoy!

Check out Bruce Black’s interview with me at Wordswimmer.

And if you havent yet, please Like our Teaching Authors Facebook page!

JoAnn Early Macken


jama said...

What a sweet puppy. The poem is a gem! As you said, great last line :).

Liz Steinglass said...

What a cutie! I love the wordplay in the 3rd line and the use of moor in the 4th. Thanks for sharing it!

laurasalas said...

He is adorable--and I'm glad you told me a bark is a boat. I had no idea--and it worse wonderfully even if I didn't know that, which is always great:>) Happy Poetry Month!

Brenda Harsham said...

That is an adorable pocket poem.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thanks, everyone! I'm so glad you all enjoyed the poem, too. I think it might be 80 years old--timeless!

Mary Lee said...

Love that pup's sweet face, and love the poem (thanks for teaching me the double entendre), and yes, I have a massive saved poem file on my computer with poems from blogger and BUNCHES of poems from The Writer's Almanac. It's my own personally curated anthology.

Molly Hogan said...

Wonderful word play in a gem of a poem! Thanks for sharing.

Violet Nesdoly said...

I love your clever and inspirational dog poem!

My must-keeps are saved on my computer in a folder I call "Scrapbook." In it I have folders for Recipes, Science, Photography, House-Home, Games-Quizzes and more including Favorite Poems.

katswhiskers said...

There is something about short poems that really pack a punch. This one is beautifully done. As is your little Rosy.

Penny Parker Klostermann said...

Rosy is adorable! And thanks for sharing Motto For a Dog...I loved it.

I need to have an inspiration file designated for poems. My inspiration files are more general (for picture books as well as poems) and scattered between my computer files, Pinterest, and a tab that always opens on my computer to where I find inspiration from art.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Thanks, everyone! I love hearing about other people's inspirations and Inspiration files. Happy collecting!