In honor of National Poetry Month, here are my first favorite poems ever, both by Mary Blair:
This is little Rabbit-Town
With rabbits marching up and down.
The chimneys stand up tall and high
Like rabbits' ears against the sky.
When Mrs. Rabbit buys a hat,
She turns her head this way and that.
Mrs. Rabbi's hat has two
Holes that let her ears poke through.
(She isn't pretty--not at all!
She's only just a bunny.
She thinks that she looks beautiful,
But, really, she looks funny!)
I read about those chimneys like rabbits' ears agains the sky, saw the illustration, and I was hooked. What an apt comparison. It was just perfect. (Plus, there were all those cute little rabbits dressed in their fancy city clothes. And darling Mrs. Rabbit gazing at her reflection in the mirror, her head tilted coquettishly to one side. That was one problem I had with "Hat". I didn't care what the poet thought--I agreed with Mrs. Rabbit that she looked beautiful.)
I was in first grade, and I loved those poems so much that I memorized them and plagiarized them in my elementary school's annual literary anthology, Sprig. I even copied the illustration from the book.
Not only did I plagiarize, I had the hubris to edit. When I read "Hat", I could not figure out how to make lines 3 and 4 of the first stanza scan properly. Or if I did, I felt that it was awkward. Not only that, but mentioning holes for ears seemed obvious and unnecessary. So I omitted those two lines in my version.
So: first favorite poem, first encounter with metaphor, first publication, first (and only) act of plagiarism, first act as critic and editor. Not bad for first grade.
Actually I loved that whole book. Looking back through it now, I still love it.