Monday, September 07, 2009

Monday Poetry Stretch - Poems of Work

A while back, inspired by poems from Tracie Vaughn Zimmer's book Steady Hands: Poems About Work and J. Patrick Lewis' book The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse, we wrote about work or professions. Since it's Labor Day, I thought this would be a fun one to revisit. Here is a poem from Pat's book for a little inspiration.
Subway Driver

A sixty-mile-an-hour mole
On automatic cruise control,
I worm my way around and around
Big bunny tunnels underground
With folks who stare or read or sleep
And dream of something
V E R Y   D E E P.

©J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.
Have fun with this one. I can't wait to read the results!


  1. The Best-Selling Author

    Getcha red hot metaphors here,
    Your poetry stretches line by line.
    Yes, you can handle the similes
    I think you’ll find they’re rather fine.
    Alliteration always sells,
    Even in recessions,
    But slant rhymes are another kettle
    Of fish, of flesh, of fissions.
    I’ve got some second-hand paragraphs,
    Some small, used punctuations
    Suitable for a senior prom
    And for most graduations.

    And pssst, if you will come back here,
    You’ll find that you’re in luck.
    I’ve got some first class sentences
    That just fell off the truck.

    c 2009 Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

  2. I wrote this after interviewing a lady who leads huge mall storytimes. It's looong, but this is a "stretch" after all!


    Mom drags me to the bookstore every Saturday.
    I grump and groan,
    complain and moan,
    “Can’t I stay home and play?”

    She puts her yellow apron on,
    with its shiny flowers.
    “Make yourself comfy,” she says. “We’ll be here a few hours.”

    I straighten the tiara that sparkles on her hair
    So she can be Queen Barbara Jean -- Story Lady Extraordinaire.

    When we go in the bookstore, kids rush up and hug her.
    They shout, “Story Lady! Barbara Jean!” acting like they love her.

    Mom stands on a small platform and takes out her guitar.
    Kids smoosh and squish to sit in front, as if my mom’s a star.

    Mom sings about a car. The audience goes, “Vroom!”
    They honk like horns. They beep and laugh. Those kids shout, “Crash!” and “Boom!”

    Then Mom puts on her glasses. She opens a big book.
    Thirty kids lean toward her, trying to get a look.

    I sit in the back and yawn. I’ve heard this book before.
    Mom must have read it 50 times to kids at this bookstore.

    When we’re home alone tonight, we’ll have a cup of tea
    And Mom will read a special book to no one else but me.

    We’ll hold the book on our laps, so no one blocks my view.
    And Mom will say, “You’re my best audience. This book is just for you.”

  3. Having to go back to work tomorrow after two months off kills all my desire to write about jobs. But I would like to buy a second-hand paragraph! And find out what tonight's secret book will be...

  4. I'll take some of Jane's similes, please, and I'm rather fond of those slant rhymes!

    Here's mine, inspired by the start of the school year. Thanks for the nudge for my daily poem!

    Old Yeller

    I’m right-on-time dependable.
    I rarely whine or fuss.
    I get them to their school on time
    But they’re not happy. Plus
    They sometimes—oops—have accidents,
    Or spill their lunch, or cuss!
    They hate to see me pulling up—
    It sucks to be the bus.

    --Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved