I didn't know April was poetry month. I found it out while I was web surfing and I came across Shel Silverstein's web site. I had forgotten what a great children's author he was. He died at his home in Florida in '99.
So I thought maybe some people would like to share a hub they've written about poetry, their favorite poem, or a poem they wrote for themselves in honor of Poetry Month and Shel Silverstein.
Here's one of Shel Silverstein's Children Poems:
A Boy Named Sue by Shel Silverstein
Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
and he didn't leave much to Ma and me,
just this old guitar and a bottle of booze.
Now I don't blame him because he run and hid,
but the meanest thing that he ever did was
before he left he went and named me Sue.
Well, he must have thought it was quite a joke,
and it got lots of laughs from a lot of folks,
it seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
and some guy would laugh and I'd bust his head,
I tell you, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue.
Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean.
My fist got hard and my wits got keen.
Roamed from town to town to hide my shame,
but I made me a vow to the moon and the stars,
I'd search the honky tonks and bars and kill
that man that gave me that awful name.
But it was Gatlinburg in mid July and I had
just hit town and my throat was dry.
I'd thought i'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon in a street of mud
and at a table dealing stud sat the dirty,
mangy dog that named me Sue.
Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
from a worn-out picture that my mother had
and I knew the scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old
and I looked at him and my blood ran cold,
and I said, "My name is Sue. How do you do?
Now you're gonna die." Yeah, that's what I told him.
Well, I hit him right between the eyes and he went down
but to my surprise he came up with a knife
and cut off a piece of my ear. But I busted a chair
right across his teeth. And we crashed through
the wall and into the street kicking and a-gouging
in the mud and the blood and the beer.
I tell you I've fought tougher men but I really can't remember when.
He kicked like a mule and bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laughin' and then I heard him cussin',
he went for his gun and I pulled mine first.
He stood there looking at me and I saw him smile.
And he said, "Son, this world is rough and if
a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
and I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along.
So I gave you that name and I said 'Goodbye'.
I knew you'd have to get tough or die. And it's
that name that helped to make you strong."
Yeah, he said, "Now you have just fought one
helluva fight, and I know you hate me and you've
got the right to kill me now and I wouldn't blame you
if you do. But you ought to thank me
before I die for the gravel in your guts and the spit
in your eye because I'm the nut that named you Sue."
Yeah, what could I do? What could I do?
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun,
called him pa and he called me a son,
and I came away with a different point of view
and I think about him now and then.
Every time I tried, every time I win and if I
ever have a son I think I am gonna name him
Bill or George - anything but Sue.
Here's my latest then RK:
I relate to this poem. Thank you RKHenry for sharing this. Anyway, is it really poetry month? I think it's time that I unearth my masterpieces from the backburner! Ha ha
Poetry month?! Schweet! I used to run a once a week "art group," did so for about two years. Most of the people that showed up were poets. And poetry is neato.
To be incredibly lame, here's one from a set I've yet to complete. Its basically a retelling of Lewis Caroll's "Alison in Wonderland," but done with a drug bent. (and no, I'm not a crackhead, I did it...to showcase what drugs do when they're abused)
Her legs dangling as she sits,
Looking down into the precipice.
Glancing up into night sky-
Silver shines of starlight glinting.
Will she fall down the well?
Or will she get up and walk away?
She'd like to think she's committed,
She'd like to hope she's ready for this...
A wonderland of journey-
Contingent upon her discovery
Of self its amazing,
can she decide?
Will she fall down into the well?
Or will she get up and walk away?
Will no one save her from mistakes?
Will no one guide her through the forest?
Deep breaths and rising heart beat,
She leaps and begins floating down.
Slight draft the fall is slow,
And as she hits dirt she finds walls/
Washed aglow with golden hues/
Of candle light, there to guide her.
Will she walk down the hall?
Or will she get up and fly away?
She'd like to think she's committed,
She'd like to hope she's ready for this.
Will she walk down the hall?
Or will she get up and fly away?
Be checking your poem, CC. Right now my room mate is calling me to join the non-internet kind.
This is truly a great poem and song. I'm so glad you acknowledged it. I'll gladly share a poem I wrote when I lost someone very dear to me:
It's called Distant Inspiration by KFS
Walk with me now as I'm gliding above, hold on tightly it will strengthen our love...
Fear not, for I've gone to a better place, in which I'm saving many a space.
Remember all the times we've shared at last, preserve them tenderly then tuck them in the past.
Hear this my children and always know,
I'm still beside you wherever you go.
and here is one of mine.
Could it be spring?
Sidewalk ice-flows change their course as the days drip by.
Snow banks ease into dirt-tainted mountain ranges.
Concave snow peaks parade craggy terrains on their hems.
Could it be spring?
Ice ledges suspend themselves
over cement gutters
lurking in street shadows.
Winter struggles through March before grudgingly relenting.
Spring slithers silently into April.
Skinny sunshine milks the days’ minutes away.
Squirrels hungrily dig for newly sprouted bulbs.
Curious buds stretch their yearning toward a weary sky.
Could it be spring?
Cars travel incognito,
wearing street clothes
of road residue and salt lick.
Winter struggles through March before relenting.
Spring slithers silently into April.
I hope you like this one, too.
Huh, RK--I didn't know that old "Boy called Sue" thing came from Shel Silverstein. That's interesting.
You are all right, RK...
Didn't know he wrote it - but you must admit, no one could have sung it better!
So there are lots of poets here in HP? That's comforting to know.
GM - that was wonderful - thank you! So the April poetry month officially kicks off?
Oh, OK, also since we were invited to post hubs and stuff-- I might as well say this:
My "For beauty is noting but the beginning of terror" was just published by Blueline, a SUNY college journal. I just got the copy in the mail, and it looks so cool (you never get over that, no matter what you publish!)
Also, "A Red, Abstract Painting," will be published in Chicago, looks like, journal associated with the U. of Chicago--which somehow fits that one, unless they change their minds (which sometimes they do, lol).
WAY TO GO!!!! Congrats Lisa!!!! When are we having the celebration?
LITA, GM... But that's OK... I don't celebrate them--I just like to look at them, what with my name in print and all, . Then stack 'em on a shelf and pull em out once in a while.
But, Thank you!!! It's always cool.
Grr, sorry Lita. It was a typo. You have a very pretty and unique name.
I'm taking a swig of my blueberry lager for you.
And thanks for the comment on the poem...its not a talent, its a curse. Anyone can have it..please, take it. I'm tired of having to break out a notebook at 3 am in the morning because a bunch of words are forming together in my head.
It seems there are great poetry lying about in HP. Who would you recomment that I read (to scope out the competition before I even start to think of sharing some of mine! Haha)
I dabble (and I mean "dabble"), but I've never been brave enough to put my dabblings on HP. In fact, I've never been quite sure it would be appropriate to post them here. I did consider making one Hub with just my better ones, but I didn't know if, because I have them stashed on a mostly unvisited poetry blog, they would be considered "duplicate content". I have to confess that most of mine are not written "from the heart" (a few are). Instead, I often just dabble to challenge myself and see what I can come up with on any subject. (How un-poet-like of me. ) A few of mine I do like. Some are horrendously stupid (hence the being reticent about posting them on here).
Maybe you should as I really want to check out the great poets here. I have read one of Charlie's and so far that's it!
Lisa, [and this time, not Lita! ]
Consider this an invitation to show us a poem. Here's the time, here's the thread. Don't worry, I won't let anyone make fun of you. I can promise you that you will enjoy it.
This is, again, why I ran an art group. I watched people blossom in their creativity, and its freaking awesome.
If you're afraid to post it here...please e-mail me one, then.
That's a gift, GM--I used to have the same one--but it's a little more controlled by the 9-5 stuff now, . Use it while you can.
And yeah, lol, the blueberry lager is an appropriate celebration,. I dunno...its like receiving a diploma...happy to have it inside--did not attend the graduation ceremony. Usually don't. That make any sense?
G/M, thanks for the encouragement. It isn't so much that I worry about being laughed at - more that HubPages could go into a mass-cringe fest.
I picked a short and simple one - "Wishes"
Light and fanciful, sunshine wishes.
Pennies tossed into a well.
A single wish upon a star,
shining brightly from afar.
Birthday candles - happy wishes.
Wishbones, charms, and lucky pennies.
Spring's first robin, touching blue.
Happy wishes may come true.
But wishes born of rain and night,
extinguished like the candle's light,
turn to longing and to yearning -
a lonely lesson to be learning.
Beautiful! Trust me, I've worst stuff. Its all about knowing what to show and where.
Thanks for showing it to us!
This is really good Lisa. As C. C. can tell you all, I'm not much into Poetry. But as a kid, I loved Shel Silverstein's books. I found out he was a poet just yesterday when I was web surfing.
WOW! I didn't know this would take off so well. I'm really glad that everybody seems to be enjoying it. Ya, I didn't Shel Silverstein wrote this poem either. It was Johnny Cash right, who made it into a song?
Lisa - that was lovely and so uplifting! Thanks!
RKH - I posted a link to the Johnny Cash video on the previous page - thanks for telling us about Shel Silverstein.
Oh hey, I missed that. I'll make sure to check that out.
Not a problem, I'm thrill that people are enjoying the topic.
And for self promotion...just begun posting a set of lyrics in a Hub. I de-construct them as I go along. I've posted four in the first edition. I'd appreciate any feedback. But hey, not everyone likes poetry.
Why don't you post your link here? Self promotion is a good thing when you consider the spirit of this post. I think I asked for people to post their hub links here.
Okay, if you will allow me, then: http://hubpages.com/hub/lookaround1
I wrote these when I was seventeen. So, please excuse the liberal use of profanity. I thought about editing some of them...but then, that'd destroy what they are.
I commented on your hub. Thanks for posting your link here. I hope more people do in honor of Shel Silverstein and in honor of April as Poetry month.
I don't think this person is active, but, I really thought this was a great hub on Shel Silverstein.
http://hubpages.com/hub/Review-on-Shel- … rens-Books
I've always loved a Boy Named Sue...seeing how my name is Susan you can see why
Shel Silverstein was great.
I had a nice, big, Shel Silverstein book in my little "home children's library" for my kids, once they got old enough to be able to appreciate it.
My Dad's Place
Each day I drive past my dad's place.
My respects I never stop to pay.
Life drives me past at such a hectic pace,
Like there's never enough time in the day.
It's a beautiful site for a manor:
Green lawns roll for as far as eye can see;
Wrought iron stretches between brick pillars;
Arches, gates, asphalt roads inviting me.
The shrubs are all shaped, neatly trimmed and green.
No signs of clutter, no trace of debris.
As tidy and peaceful as ever I've seen:
No disorder, not a leaf from a tree.
I recall, last time we parted, he smiled.
Between us there was never much to say.
Now I regret that. Even as a child
Seems like never enough time in the day.
So now, each day, I drive past my dad's place.
I see row after row of white granite.
And I know as the tears stream down my face,
One of those stones has his name on it.
-September 12, 2000
Thats a nice one, Quill! Sad, but well executed. You know, one of these days, I want to have a party on one of my friends graves. Day of the Dead and all of that...its a tradition in the south american culture, and I can't conceive of anything cooler than hanging out with your loved ones who are and were all at once!
But well done, yet again.
Thanks G|M for the kind words. I hope I get an invitation to your party. I'll provide the ice if you provide the spirits!
Haha, of course you're invited. Actually, the Bailey family (my late grandfather's side) has their own cemetery up in the hollers of panther west virginia (yep, I'm an honest to god decedent of hillbillies)
It would be a cool place to have a party! Just have to climb a mountain a bit. The original house is still standing, too, but its in much disrepair.
Quilligrapher, needless to say, very moving. The thought occurred to me that someone could write a "companion" poem from a parent's viewpoint ("I Understand" or "Don't Regret"). Then, it occurred to me (even though it's probably done many times) that a book or blog of poems about family relationships would be an interesting idea.
Your idea could be a really interesting project, Lisa. Too often, emotional ties between family members are ignored and deep seated feeling are left unspoken for a lifetime.
Q., that short little paragraph speaks volumes. My parents and I a couple of years ago had a harsh split...not going to go into details, but slowly and surely I've gotten back with them. My grandfather on my mother's side passed away in December of last year. I really took the time then to evaluate the stupidity of feeling resentful.
Quilligrapher - deeply moving - thanks for sharing this!
So what does one say, "Happy Poetry Month To You"? or do you celebrate it by actually writing and reading more poetry?
Kudos to a great in-house poet!
Follow Your Bliss
The carousel goes round and round.
The horses they go up and down.
The brass ring is just beyond reach.
The lifeguards are right, “Life is a beach.”
Some Background about the Poem for you
The core story of the song was inspired by humorist Jean Shepherd, a close friend of Shel Silverstein who was often taunted as a child because of his feminine-sounding name.
The title might have been inspired by the male attorney Sue K. Hicks of Madisonville, Tennessee, a friend of John Scopes who agreed to be a prosecutor in the Scopes Trial. Sue was named after his mother who died after giving birth to him. However, while this may have inspired Silverstein to write the poem, there may have been another reason why Johnny Cash recorded it. Johnny Cash was a fan of popular western novelist, Zane Grey, whose first name at birth was "Pearl".
In his autobiography Cash wrote that he had just received the song and only read over it a couple of times. It was included in that concert to try it out; he didn't know the words and on the filmed recording, he can be seen regularly referring to a piece of paper. Cash was surprised at how well the song went over with the audience – the rough, spontaneous performance with sparse accompaniment was included in the Johnny Cash At San Quentin album, ultimately becoming one of Cash's biggest hits.
According to Shel Silverstein's biographer Mitch Myers, it was June Carter Cash who encouraged her husband to perform the song. Silverstein introduced it to them at what they called a "Guitar Pool," where musicians would pass a guitar around and play their songs.[6
I got Interested in it after reading your Hub. Enjoyed this and the comments, keep it up.
Jon in Nashville
A Poem for Poetry Month, that I wrote
Poetry out by the Back Door
we would sit there in the full sun.
at that Old Smudged, City-stained Back door,
with no deck or patio proper to accommodate us.
just two Old kitchen Chairs, rusting in silver.
torn cushions, and the foam sticking out!
those Old weeds, so thick and resistant,
that forced themselves upon us.
in-between the Foundation seem and the broken paved edge,
tucked tight against Houses' side,
As we read our Lines to each other.
your beautiful long legs propped upon the Door frame.
You, with that chrome chair leaning backwards,
elegantly balanced, Teetering
above the Tar covered graveled pad.
With its opulent city dust,
smudging our youthful enthusiasms,
I would slouch in the broken chair opposite you.
my jeans stretched into bare feet, and
we would read out loud to the White Clapboards.
pealing off the appreciations, like blistered laminations.
one for each given stanza,
one for each perfect line.
are you still in love like I am?
I'd write, then read to you.
you would re-write, then read it back to me.
we edited each other so tenderly.
each summers day you came,
outside that back door.
we built a Portfolio you and I,
until it stopped for us.
life replaced our spontaneous verses,
and we left it!
Free strung, about that Old Black top.
did you know that some of it still roots in the cracks there?
It was strong, like us, just like those weeds were strong.
just like us, those weeds of spontaneous rhyme,
that dressed our houses in Street.
did you know that to this day,
no matter how fine of a desk I make to write upon.
I still prefer my Poetry, out by that back Door.
(All copy rights property of the Author)
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