Friday, April 06, 2007

On plums -- a Poetry Friday/National Poetry Month post

I've been getting ready for my upcoming school appearances at local elementary school, which is set to take place during National Poetry Week for Children, the week of April 16th. And one of the things I've decided to talk about is the plum, the subject of two different poems, and the title of a picture book by the wonderful English poet, Tony Mitton, illustrated by Mary GrandPré, best-known for illustrating the American editions of the Harry Potter books.

The book includes long poems, such as "Mrs. Bhattacharya's Chapati-Zap Machine" and "Elegant Elephan Delicatessen", medium ones like "The Histon Boulder" and "Green Man Lane", and very short ones like "Flightpath," which is a single line of text.

Here's an excerpt from the title poem, "Plum":

Don't be so glum,

Don't feel beaten.
You were made
to be eaten.

I will be using this poem in my school presentation to fifth graders and will be pairing it with one by eminent poet, William Carlos Williams, entitled "This Is Just to Say":

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

I love the Williams poem because it sounds just like a note left on the refrigerator, and yet not. It's the sort of rubbing-it-in quality of the last few lines that takes this small poem up and over the top.

I'm going grocery shopping later today. I think I'll buy some plums.

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