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Poems

Deep in Our Refrigerator

by Jack Prelutsky

Deep in our refrigerator,

there's a special place

for food that's been around awhile...

"It's probably too old to eat,"

my mother likes to say.

"But I don't think it's old enough

for me to throw away."

 

It stays there for a month or more

to ripen in the cold,

and soon we notice fuzzy clumps

or multicolored mold.

The clumps are larger every day,

we notice this as well,

but mostly what we notice

is a certain special smell.

 

When finally it all becomes

a nasty mass of slime,

my mother takes it out, and says,

"Apparently, it's time."

She dumps it in the garbage can,

though not without regret,

then fills that space with other food

that's not so ancient yet.

How to Torture Your Teacher
by Bruce Lansky

Only raise your hand when
you want to sharpen your pencil
or go to the bathroom.
Repeat every ten minutes.

Never raise your hand
when you want to answer a question:
instead, yell, "Oooh! Oooh! Oooh!"
and then, when the teacher calls on you,
say, "I forgot what I was going to say."

Lean your chair back,
take off your shoes, and
put your feet on your desk.
Act surprised when the teacher
puts all four legs of your chair back on the floor.

Drop the eraser end of your pencil
on your desk.
See how high it will bounce.

Drop your books on the floor.
See how load a noise you can make.

Hum.
Get all your friends to join in.

Hold your nose,
make a face, and say, "P.U.!"
Fan the air away from your face,
and point to the kid in front of you.

On the last day of school,
lead your classmates in chanting:
"No more pencils!
No more books!
No more teachers'
dirty looks!"

Then, on your way out the door, tell the teacher,
"Bet you're looking forward
to summer vacation this year.
But I'll sure miss you.
You're the best teacher I've ever had."

 


The Spider And The Fly

Mary Howitt  (1799-1888)

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there."
"Oh no, no," said the little fly; "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high.
Well you rest upon my little bed?" said the spider to the fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest a while, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
"Oh no, no," said the little fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning spider to the fly: "Dear friend, what can I do
To prove the warm affection I've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome - will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little fly; "kind sir, that cannot be:
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the spider, "you're witty and you're wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings; how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
If you'd step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you're pleased to say,
And, bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly;
Then came out to his door again and merrily did sing:
"Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple; there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer grew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes and green and purple hue,
Thinking only of her crested head. Poor, foolish thing! at last
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast;
He dragged her up his winding stair, into the dismal den -
Within his little parlor - but she ne'er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words I pray you ne'er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the spider and the fly.

The Cremation of Sam McGee

by Robert W. Service

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee,
     where the cotton blooms and blows
Why he left his home in the South to roam
     'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold but the land of gold
     seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way
     that he'd sooner live in Hell.

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way
     over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold
     it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze
     till sometimes we couldn't see,
It wasn't much fun, but the only one
     to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight
     in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead
     were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap", says he,
     "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you
     won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no;
     then he says with a sort of moan,
"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold
     till I'm chilled clean through to the bone
Yet 'taint being dead-it's my awful dread
     of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair,
     you'll cremate my last remains.

A pal's last need is a thing to heed,
     so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn
     but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day
     of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all
     that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death,
     and I hurried, horror-driven
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid,
     because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say.
     "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you
     to cremate these last remains".

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid,
     and the trail has its own stern code,
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb
     in my heart how I cursed that load!
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight,
     while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows-
     Oh God, how I loathed the thing!

And every day that quiet clay
     seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent
     and the grub was getting low.
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad,
     but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing,
     and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge,
    and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice
     it was called the Alice May,
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit,
     and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here", said I, with a sudden cry, 
     "is my  cre-ma-tor-eum"!

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor
     and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around,
     and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared
     such a blaze you seldom see,
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal,
     and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like
     to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled,
     and the wind began to blow,
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled
     down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak
     went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow
     I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about
     ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said,
     "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked".
     Then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm,
     in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile,
     and he said, "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear
     you'll let in the cold and storm-
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee,
     it's the first time I've been warm".

 There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee

 

**This poem is from Edgar's Spoon River Anthology and speaks of an epitaph that could have been written on Theodore's gravestone.

Theodore the Poet

by Edgar Lee Masters

 

As a boy, Theodore, you sat for long hours

On the shore of the turbid Spoon

With deep-set eyes staring at the door of the crawfish's burrow,

Waiting for him to appear, pushing ahead,

First his waving antennae, like straws of hay,

And soon his body, colored like soapstone,

Gemmed with eyes of jet.

And you wondered in a trance of thought

What he knew, what he desired, and why he lived at all.

But later your vision watched for men and women

Hiding in burrows of fate amid great cities,

Looking for the souls of them to come out,

So that you could see

How they lived, and for what,

And why they kept crawling so busily

Along the sandy way where water falls.

As the summer wanes.

 

 

Turn Off the TV!
by Bruce Lansky

My father gets quite mad at me;
my mother gets upset--
when they catch me watching
our new television set.

My father yells, "Turn that thing off!"
Mom says, "It's time to study."
I'd rather watch my favorite TV show
with my best buddy.

I sneak down after homework
and turn the set on low.
But when she sees me watching it,
my mom yells out, "No!"

Dad says, "If you don't turn it off,
I'll hang it from a tree!"
I rather doubt he'll do it,
'cause he watches more than me.

He watches sports all weekend,
and weekday evenings too,
while munching chips and pretzels--
the room looks like a zoo.

So if he ever got the nerve
to hang it from a tree,
he'd spend a lot of time up there--
watching it with me.

The Love of the Game

by H. Harper

The Time

The Effort

The Pain

The Passion

The Strength

The Courage

You sacrificed it all for

The Love of the Game.

 

Happiness

Spirit

Dreams

Success

Respect

Enthusiasm

You gained it all from

The Love of the Game.

 

 

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