Monday, April 19, 2010

David L. Harrison - Lookit!

David L. Harrison

Lookit me!
My toes grew roots!
I’m a tree!

You say, “Whoa!”
and I say, “I know!”

Lookit my limbs.
They’re big and huge and strong!

You go, “How did your limbs
get to be so big and huge and strong?”
and I go, “I don’t know, they just did.”

And lookit my branches!
They’re all full of storks and parrots
and ostriches building nests!

You say, “Wow! How did you get so many birds?”
and I go, “Because I’m so big and huge and strong,”
and you say, “Oh yeah, I forgot.”

My bark is the toughest bark in the whole world
so no one can chop me down.

Act like you’re a tree chopper with this huge ax –
the biggest ax in the whole world –
and you try and try
but you can’t even make a little chip in my bark
and you go,
“I can’t even make a little chip in your bark,”
and I say, “I know.”

Pretend you see a hippopotamus
making a nest on my tallest branch
and you say, “Wait a minute,
hippopotamuses can’t fly!”
and I go, “This one can,”
and you go, ”How?”
and I go, “Because he’s magic,”
and you just fall down on the ground
because you’ve never seen a magic hippopotamus.

Now lookit my toes.
They just grew claws!
I’m not a tree.
Forget about that.
I’m a cat.

© 2010 David L. Harrison. All rights reserved.

David L. Harrison is the only poet ever on this blog, so far as I know, to have an elementary school named after him. How cool is that???!!! He's also written around 80 books, covering subjects from bugs to vacations to volcanoes to pirates and beyond while running the gamut from non-fiction to fiction to collections of poetry (and beyond!). And, as if all that wasn't enough, he started blogging last year, and his blog is already on my must-read-every-post list. Huh. One could get the idea that he's mighty good at this whole writing thing....

I love how in Lookit! he captures the way a child's imagination can create an incredibly fun, involved scenario... then immediately discard it for something else. Better than just capturing it, though, he celebrates that imagination with such joy and honesty and humor. Plus, he shows respect for his readers in this and everything I've read by him (check out his Poetry Makers interview over at the Miss Rumphius Effect if you need further proof). Because of that respect, whatever subject or style he goes for, we're all ready to go along with him. And I'm telling ya, he's really amazingly good with this whole writing thing, so we get rewarded. All of this is why I say, with the utmost respect, I'm thrilled to have David L. Harrison here as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Yesterday we learned about Things To Do If You Are King Kong thanks to Elaine Magliaro. Tomorrow... Personification by Brod Bagert. For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.


tanita✿davis said...

A school??? WOW!!!

I love this poem; it's so much like conversation -- and I love the language so much, it's spot on.

David Harrison said...

Good morning, Tanita,

I'm glad to meet you and very pleased that you enjoyed the poem. My thanks to Greg for including me in this year's group of poets.


David Harrison said...


I'm flattered by your kindness. I have been enjoying the works of the other poets you are featuring this month. Many thanks! It is a pleasure to find myself as today's selection.


Anonymous said...

We love this poem! We love the magic hippo. It was hilarious and made us think of the power of imagination.

-Patterson Elementary fifth graders("Harvard" class)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tanita - it's a conversation. I also love how it celebrates the fun, as Gregory said. It doesn't diminish in any way, and I am sure kids sense that. Great fun!


David Harrison said...

Dear Patterson "Harvard" Class,

I'm quite impressed to be addressed by so many smart kids who have already planned such bright futures. Congratulations!

You want to know the truth? I like that hippo too. I don't know where he came from but I'm glad he did.


Carmela Martino said...

I love the childlike quality of this poem, especially:
>>You say, “Wow! How did you get so many birds?”
and I go, “Because I’m so big and huge and strong,”
and you say, “Oh yeah, I forgot.”<<
And, of course, the magic flying hippo. What a great image. This poem would have wonderful illustrations!
Thanks so much,

David Harrison said...

Hello, Carmela,

I appreciate your comments very much. Now that I've been good and not shown the poem elsewhere until Greg could post it first, I'll share it with other audiences.

Best wishes,


David Harrison said...

Hi Ardis,

Thanks! I've written many poems for two voices but this one features one voice who is directing a second voice in how to act, react, and speak. The technique infused the narrative with a sense of spontaneity that I like.


Anonymous said...


Jane Heitman Healy said...

This is so playful and kid friendly! I can imagine having kids act it out and adding their own verses, turning into a variety of things & creatures.

David Harrison said...

Dear Jane,

I've had a wonderful time this month enjoying all the poems. I'm glad you liked mine.