Friday, February 29, 2008
I apologize that this will make 2 PF posts in a row, but my BOOK IS DUE on Monday, and as I've been dashing toward that deadline, I haven't had time to read or blog. This will all change on Monday. Monday Monday Monday Monday...
Now that that's out of the way.... it's POETRY FRIDAY!
Today I'm taking a deep deep breath and posting something original for the first time. Not my adult poetry, but a picture book in verse, "Lily and the Wily Corn Bears" that I revised for an editor Houghton Mifflin, only to have it cut (a lesson in why not to revise on spec. I guess). It was the first picture book I ever really sent out!
I never sent it back out, because I realized after the fact that I'd stolen a little too much from both "Outside Over There (Sendak)" and maybe also the "Teddy Bears' Picnic."
So instead, here it is, for Poetry Friday. It's rather long...
And the illustration was done by a wonderful artist friend of mine to accompany the text. (I hope it's okay I posted it here, Aaron?)
Lily and the Wily Corn Bears
By Laurel Snyder
The day she left her farmhouse to wander through the corn,
Lily wore her scamper-boots and took along her horn.
She packed a checkered satchel with sandwiches to eat,
And also her umbrella, for rainstorms she might meet.
She made her way through rows of corn, and heard the tractors hum.
She watched the birds go flitting past. She thought she heard a drum.
The sun moved fast across the sky, but Lily wandered on.
She watched it rise and sit, and set, until the day was done.
Then— just as it was getting dark, she heard the drum again,
The sound of something dancing, or the rhythm of the rain.
The pounding of a hammer or the beating of a chest.
Poor Lily didn’t know she’d found The Wily Corn Bears’ nest!
She clambered from the cornrows onto a little hill,
Where Wily Corn Bears jumped and twirled and danced around, and still
Brave Lily moved in closer— until it was too late!
They pushed her down and tied her up and strapped her to the gate.
They hooted and they hollered. They pulled at Lily’s hair.
They’d never seen a Lily, and she’d never seen a bear.
She stared at them in disbelief, as they all gnashed their jaws,
Rubbed polka dotted bellies, waved little yellow claws.
The corn bears scowled at Lily. They made a yelping sound.
They opened up her satchel, and wolfed her sandwich down.
They gobbled up her carrot sticks and swallowed down her juice.
When Lily saw them chomping, she tried to wriggle loose.
She summoned up her courage, and soft began to speak,
“That sandwich was my supper, you thiefy little sneaks!”
But corn bears don’t know human talk, and so they barely heard.
She might as well have been a goldfish burbling at birds.
She might as well have been a bluebird singing to a child.
Corn bears don’t know human words. The words they know are wild.
They just kept right on chomping, so Lily gave a shout—
“THAT JUICE WAS ALL I HAD TO DRINK AND NOW IT’S ALL DRUNK OUT!”
The corn bears heard her bellow, but they puzzled at the sound.
They snickered corn bear snickers, glanced sneakily around.
And then they turned to Lily, wondering at her yell.
They poked and prodded both her knees. They pinched her arms as well.
They unlaced both her scamper-boots. But now she shook in fear.
She wrestled to and fro against the ties that bound her there.
Tiny bear-claws combed her hair, tangled up her braids.
She felt the tiny bear-claws, and then she felt afraid.
They tugged until her head was sore. They scratched, as corn bears will.
They danced and whispered wily sounds. They pulled her clothes until
Her hem was frayed and falling, her pockets torn clean through
Lily felt quite sure that there was nothing left to do.
She trembled while she waited. She felt a creeping dread.
Until two corn bears stole her socks to wear upon their heads.
They wore the socks like little hats, which socks aren’t meant to be,
Then pulled them tight around their snouts, which caused both bears to sneeze.
But that made Lily giggle, and woke her from her fright.
She struggled with the ropes she wore, the ropes that bound her tight.
She managed then to free one arm, and with that arm she tried
To grab the Wily Corn Bears as they went running by.
She reached out for their silky backs, their pointy little ears,
But found instead her fingers fell on something lying near.
She found instead her satchel, discarded on the lawn,
And in the bag she found her horn, and in the horn a song.
The creatures twirled around her still, shapes moving through the night,
She felt their claws against her skin. She shuddered deep with fright.
But when she blew upon her horn, The Wily Corn Bears fell,
In huddled lumps at Lily’s feet, and ceased their Corn Bear yell.
She played as she untied her ropes, as she ran through the dark.
She played till she was out of breath, until she saw a spark.
A sun, a flame, a lamp, a glow, a window all alight.
When Lily saw her own front porch, she hurtled from the night.
She threw her horn into the fields, and scampered up the stairs.
She ran into the kitchen and found her mother there.
The moral of this story: Don’t wander in the corn
But if you have to wander, be sure you bring your horn.