Thursday, April 07, 2016

NPM Celebrations - World Health Day

April 7th is World Health Day. Every year, the World Health Organization selects a priority area of global public health concern as the theme for World Health Day, which falls on the birthday of the Organization. The theme for 2016 is diabetes, a noncommunicable disease directly impacting millions of people of globally, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

This day is a good one to focus on general overall health and the human body.

Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse (2015), written by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Mike Lowery, encourages readers to follow poetic and visual clues to determine the body part in question. At the end of the poem, readers are rewarded with the answer and a bit of information about the science. Here's a poem closely related to this year's theme for World Health Day.

by Leslie Bulion

Wolf what you will
Swallow all kinds of swill,
If I don't add my juices, you're toast.

Without me, chewed food,
Smashed with acids and brewed
In your turn, is plain useless. No Boast!

No other glands
Take the upper hand
With protein, carb, and fat;

In one fell swoop
You'll have nutrient soup—
My enzymes see to that.

My other cells seep
Key hormones that keep
Your blood sugar levels on track.

Second biggest in size?
Among glands, I'm the prize--
that big floppy liver's a hack!

Poem © Leslie Bulion, 2015. All rights reserved.

The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts (2003), written by Allan Wolf and illustrated by Greg Clarke, is a collection of 35 poems that celebrates our gross, disgusting, fascinating, and amazing body parts and functions. It begins with a poem entitled "Our Amazing Body Language" and is followed by anatomically devoted sections with one or more poems. The poems are funny and sometimes silly, but still ultimately impart some real knowledge about the part under consideration. The illustrations are whimsical (many of the organs depicted have faces and arms and legs) and not necessarily anatomically correct, but they do convey the messages shared in the poems.

Here's one of my favorite poems from the collection.

by Allan Wolf

It's on your face. Beneath your hair.
It's here. It's there. It's everywhere.
It's on your elbows and your knees.
It covers those. It covers these.
It hangs on tight beneath your shirt.
It's in the dark beneath your skirt.
It heals itself when it gets hurt.
Your skin. Your skin. Your skin.

You've basically two layers of skin.
The outer layer is very thin.
The epidermis is its name,
your largest organ, so they claim.
The surface of this layer is dead.
And though you cannot see it shed,
it does, while brand-new cells are fed
from just beneath your skin.

That's where the second layer lies,
the dermis, and it's just your size.
It senses pressure, pain, and touch.
It sweats when you play ball and such.
It holds the hair tight to your head.
Pierre, Rosita, Franz, or Fred,
each body on the planet's spread
with skin, with skin, with skin.

It covers these. It covers those.
It's on your fingers and your toes.
It's in your ears and up your nose.
Your skin. Your skin. Your skin.
It wraps around your throat and chin. 
It keeps germs out. It keeps you in.
The skin that we are all born in.
Your skin. Your skin. Your skin.

Poem © Allan Wolf, 2003. All rights reserved.

Science Verse (2004), written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith, is a collection of science poems that parody poems by Joyce Kilmer, Lewis Carroll, Ann Taylor, Robert Frost and others, as well as nursery rhymes and childhood songs. One of these poems is about the spleen.

by Jon Scieszka

I think that I ain't never seen
A poem ugly as a spleen.

A poem that could make you shiver,
Like 3.5 . . . pounds of liver.

A poem to make you lose your lunch,
Tie your intestines in a bunch.

A poem all gray, wet, and swollen,
Like a stomach or a colon.

Something like your kidney, lung,
Pancreas, bladder, even tongue.

Why you turning green, good buddy?
It's just human body study.

Poem ©Jon Scieszka. All rights reserved.

Two additional poems you may enjoy are Their Bodies, by David Wagoner, and The Author to His Body on Their Fifteenth Birthday, 29 ii 80, by Howard Nemerov.

That's it for today. I hope you'll join me tomorrow for our next celebration.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing these health and human body poems! Perfect!