Friday, April 30, 2010

Walter Dean Myers - Walking

Walter Dean Myers

How come my feet know how to meet
The sidewalk as I walk?
          “Because of your brain, my love.”
How come my lips don’t ever slip
As I begin to talk?
          “Your lovely brain, my pet”
How come my knees fly through the breeze
As I race along?
          “Did I mention your B-R-A-I-N?”
How come my ears know what to hear
When I listen to a song?
          “They’re connected to your brain!”
How come my eyes can judge the size
Of everything they see?
          “Your brain, dummy!”
How come my wrists know how to twist
A knob or turn a key?
          “BRAIN! BRAIN! BRAIN! Use it!”
And how come my belly button just sits there in the middle of my stomach without doing one little bit of work, gets these little lint things in it, and feels funny if I touch it?

          “Err…beats me.”

© Walter Dean Myers. All rights reserved.

Walter Dean Myers has won five (FIVE!!!) Coretta Scott King Awards, had a pair of Newbery Honor books, won the very first Michael L. Printz award, and won YALSA's Margaret A. Edwards Award, an award which recognizes an author's body of work, back in 1994... and just look at what he's done since! He writes fiction, non-fiction, novels, picture books and poetry. And as if he doesn't do enough for children's literature by himself, he's a character in and one of his poems is central to Sharon Creech's Love That Dog, which I mention here in part because 1) it is why in my head he is often "Mr. Walter Dean Myers" and 2) I can link you to the fabulous video of him, Sharon Creech, Sarah Weeks, and Avi performing Love That Dog.

For me, Walking is a wonderful way to close out this month of poetry here at GottaBook. It's fun, adds up to more than you expect, shows those skills great poets have of capturing a voice and putting a fresh spin on a situation, and, well, it makes me laugh. Plus, I love the seeing the brain get its due... though I do wish the poem offered an answer to the final question because it's always flummoxed me, too! Ah well. Even though he didn't give us the answer, I am totally thrilled to have Walter Dean Myers here to bring the 2010 edition of 30 Poets/30 Days to a close.

It's Poetry Friday (a year round tradition!), so why not head on over to Great Kid Books for the roundup of poetry related posts?

Yesterday brought us Reflecting by Liz Garton Scanlon. Tomorrow... a final wrap up.


Colleen said...

Oh this one is great! It brings a smile to my face....

Mary Lee said...


Amy L V said...

How funny! And how very versatile WDM is. Thank you, Greg, for this wonderful series...once again. It's been a treat!

Author Amok said...

I love how the answering voice goes from patient to frustrated to exploding in this poem.

Andrea Murphy said...

Stumped by a belly button. Fun!

Thanks, Greg.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, too fun on the poem. Think I want to contemplate the belly button!

And, thanks for sharing that video!! Reminded my of how much I Love That Book.

Brimful Curiosities said...

The belly button has already fulfilled its purpose in life...without we not be. Definitely didn't see that one coming. :)

Elaine Magliaro said...

I've heard Walter Dean Myers speak a couple of times. He's such an impressive individual--and seems so unspoiled by all his literary success and all the accolades he has received.

I really loved his book JAZZ!


Thanks so much for asking me to be one of your "30 poets." What an honor for me to be included with writers like Walter Dean Myers in your National Poetry Month 2010project. And thanks for all the lovely things you said about me.

It's been wonderful getting to "virtually" know people like you who blog in the kidlitosphere and share my love of children's poetry.

Laura said...

Thanks, Greg, for sharing so many poems this month.

Regarding the belly button, perhaps, it sits there because "navel gazing" is a pleasant pastime. Whereas if the navel moved, then you'd end up playing the "button, button, who has the button" game.

Laura Evans
all things poetry

tanita✿davis said...

Hahaha! Belly lint.

When I had the opportunity to hear Walter Dean Myers speak, I was tickled to death at how very human and down to earth he seemed -- after all those honors, after all that brilliance.

Such a lovely person. Such a great brain.