Found poem, and an elegy…

My sister forwarded an e-mail to me last night that contained her kids’ thank-you notes for gifts they received from their aunt and uncle in St. Louis. My four-year-old niece’s dictated note struck me as a “found” poem. (My sister describes my niece’s dictation as “a stream of consciousness thank you note,” but much of my niece’s ramblings are like that.)

It’s not that I find my niece’s note cute; I envy her ability to be so disjointed and random. It all works together somehow. I don’t tend to think like that (I’m not sure I did as a child, either). That’s probably why I simply can’t write avant-garde or experimental poetry. My mind doesn’t work that way.

I broke my niece’s note into lines to make a small poem of it. I’m sure if she could read she’d abhor my editing–this kid knows she knows what’s best, always.


Thank you for doing that. 
If you like I will say
come here one day and that
can be the day. Today
can be a lot of pretty days. 
I hope it doesn’t rain or snow tonight. 
And it’s not going to snow today
or if it doesn’t and then if it does… 
sometimes you can play a game. 
Thank you for the present
and give me another one some day
if you make another one. 
And if a bear catches up with you,
don’t worry, just get out
and try to get it off like this bear,
just pull it apart. 
And if you don’t care,
I like you.

Robert wrote here about elegies. This morning on the way to work I heard a song that turned my thoughts elegiac. This is for a friend I used to work with at Gibson Greetings.

December Elegy for Lara

Lara insisted: The Christmas season
didn’t start officially
until she’d heard WEBN play Bruce’s
“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”
One random day in early December
we’d look up from our desks
to see Lara dancing down the aisle.
She wore her traditional hat, a braided
fabric Christmas wreath. It sat
on her head like a Magi’s turban.
Then Lara went back to her cubicle
and her headphones, and we went
back to work.

This morning on the car radio
I heard that familiar jingling intro,
the cold wind along the boardwalk,
and then Bruce and Clarence getting down.
Suddenly Lara shimmied before me.
Her braided wreath turban was woven
with a crown of stars.




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