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.

Mary Blair

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!)

--Mary Blair

Introduction to Poetry
Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Okay, Brown Girl, Okay
James Berry

For Josie (9 years old, who wrote to me saying, "boys called me names because of my color. I felt very upset... My brother and sister are English. I wish I was, then I won't be picked on... How do you like being brown?")

Josie, Josie, I am okay
being brown. I remember,
every day dusk and dawn get born
from the loving of night and light
who work together, like married.
        And they would like to say to you:
        Be at school on and on, brown Josie,
        like thousands and thousands and thousands
        of children, who are brown and white
        and black and pale-lemon color.
        All the time, brown girl Josie is okay.

Josie, Josie, I am okay
being brown. I remember,
every minute sun in the sky
and ground of the earth work together
like married.
        And they would like to say to you:
        Ride on up a going escalator
        like thousands and thousands and thousands
        of people, who are brown and white
        and black and pale-lemon color.
        All the time, brown girl Josie is okay.

Josie, Josie, I am okay
being brown. I remember,
all the time bright-sky and brown-earth
work together, like married
making forests and food and flowers and rain.
        And they would like to say to you:
        grow and grow brightly, brown girl.
        Write and read and play and work.
        Ride bus or train or boat or airplane
        like thousands and thousands and thousands
        of people, who are brown and white
        and black and pale-lemon color.
        All the time, brown girl Josie is okay.

Star Wars haiku by Tai:

He wears green armor.
It is Mandalorian.
Who is he? Boba Fett.

Has a bunch of weapons.
It does not have hyperdrive.
It has 4 cockpits.

Some haiku by Basho (1644 - 1694)

The old pond.
A frog jumps in--
The sound of water.

butterflies flit
in a field of sunlight
that is all

How admirable,
he who thinks not, "Life is fleeting,"
when lightning flashes!

A tanka from the Manyoshu, a collection of poems from the 7th and 8th century Japanese court:

At Iwashiro,
I pull and bind the branches
of pines on the beach.
If good fortune rescues me,
I will return to see them.

This is one of those poems that's much better when you have more information: It is written in the voice of Prince Arima, who in 658 was accused of plotting a coup against the Empress and her nephew. He was taken for questioning to Muro (now part of Wakayama prefecture), where the court was visiting the hot springs. On the way, he stopped at the coast of Iwashiro to tie pine branches together--a custom of travelers praying for a safe journey. Sadly, his answers did not please his interrogators and he was taken back up the coast and strangled to death. He was nineteen years old.

The Garden
Shel Silverstein

Ol' man Simon, planted a diamond
Grew hisself a garden the likes of none.
Sprouts all growin', comin' up glowin',
Fruit of jewels all shinin' in the sun.
Colors of the rainbow,
See the sun and rain grow
Sapphires and rubies on ivory vines.
Grapes of jade, just
Ripenin' in the shade, just
Ready for the squeezin' into green jade wine.
Pure gold corn there,
Blowin' in the warm air,
Ol' crow nibblin' on the amnythyst seeds.
In between the diamonds, ol' man Simon
Crawls about pullin' out platinum weeds.
Pink pearl berries,
All you can carry,
Put 'em in a bushel and
Haul 'em into town.
Up in the tree there's
Opal nuts, and gold pears--
Hurry quick, grab a stick
And shake some down.
Take a silver tater,
Emerald tomater,
Fresh plump coral melons
Hangin' in reach.
Ol' man Simon,
Diggin' in his diamonds,
Stops and rests and dreams about

Let Evening Come
Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come. 

The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus 
Ogden Nash 
In Baltimore there lived a boy.
He wasn't anybody's joy.
Although his name was Jabez Dawes,
His character was full of flaws.

In school he never led his classes,
He hid old ladies' reading glasses,
His mouth was open when he chewed,
And elbows to the table glued.
He stole the milk of hungry kittens,
And walked through doors marked NO ADMITTANCE.
He said he acted thus because
There wasn't any Santa Claus.

Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying 'Boo' at little babies.
He brushed his teeth, they said in town,
Sideways instead of up and down.
Yet people pardoned every sin,
And viewed his antics with a grin,
Till they were told by Jabez Dawes,
'There isn't any Santa Claus!'

Deploring how he did behave,
His parents swiftly sought their grave.
They hurried through the portals pearly,
And Jabez left the funeral early.

Like whooping cough, from child to child,
He sped to spread the rumor wild:
'Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn't any Santa Claus!'
Slunk like a weasel of a marten
Through nursery and kindergarten,
Whispering low to every tot,
'There isn't any, no there's not!'

The children wept all Christmas eve
And Jabez chortled up his sleeve.
No infant dared hang up his stocking
For fear of Jabez' ribald mocking.

He sprawled on his untidy bed,
Fresh malice dancing in his head,
When presently with scalp-a-tingling,
Jabez heard a distant jingling;
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof.
What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.

What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
Then Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of 'Don't,' and 'Pretty Please.'
He howled, 'I don't know where you read it,
But anyhow, I never said it!'
'Jabez' replied the angry saint,
'It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus,
There isn't any Jabez Dawes!'

Said Jabez then with impudent vim,
'Oh, yes there is, and I am him!
Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't'
And suddenly he found he wasn't!
From grimy feet to grimy locks,
Jabez became a Jack-in-the-box,
An ugly toy with springs unsprung,
Forever sticking out his tongue.

The neighbors heard his mournful squeal;
They searched for him, but not with zeal.
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes,
Which led to thunderous applause,
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.

All you who sneer at Santa Claus,
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes,
The saucy boy who mocked the saint.
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.

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