Children’s Poems

Contents
And Tim Was Left All Orange
Dessert Storm
The Ghastly but True Secrets of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
The Glen of Dancing Trees
I’m Sick Today
Jack Frost Endeavors to Keep Winter
Late Last Night I Went to Bed
Mr. McGraff the Happy Giraffe
Mr. Shaker the Undertaker
The Slumberjack
Terry the Brontosaurus
A Whale with a Handlebar Mustache

A Wildebeest Named Gnu


And Tim Was Left All Orange
Tim the Tiger was born at the zoo,
And soon after caused a hullabaloo:
For when the baby cat rubbed his water trough,
Every one of his stripes fell off!
And Tim the Tiger was left all orange.

The stripes lay like leaves on the ground:
Fluttering in the wind, with rustling sounds.
The zoo director said to glue the stripes back on
In the depths of night, before the dawn,
So the baby tiger wouldn’t be all orange.

The night that night was a deep, dark black,
When the keepers re-glued the stripes to Tim’s back.
And the baby cub thought it a very fine game,
Because they petted him and stroked him and said his name,
For the Tim the Tiger never knew that he was all orange.

So the keepers worked by Orion’s dull shine,
But soon found that they had made an odd design!
For without the aid of their trusted sight,
They’d glued the stripes from left to right,
And they’d left Tim’s tail completely orange!

The visitors came to the zoo next day,
And they admired the very stylish way
That Tim the Tiger seemed to stand
With his stripes in a horizontal band,
And a tail that was entirely orange.

And although the zoo director was raging mad,
The keepers they were not too sad,
For they said, “Well, if the director thinks Tim caused a stink—
Just wait till he discovers that our penguin’s pink!”
And over time the stripes fell off, and Tim was left all orange.


The Dessert Storm
Suzy was just seven, and when vegetables made her sickly
She really had to race to the confectionery quickly!
Down came rain and hail, and in blew wind and snow,
Near the purple mountains appeared a colorful rainbow!
Then ivory marshmallows fell from the sky like rain,
And all the clouds above were whipped into meringue!
The distant boulders turned to huge crumblings of cake,
While the nearby reservoir became a cocoa lake!
Through the dessert storm, Suzy forged on to the treats,
Where the kind confectioner helped her to the sweets.
“In peculiar times like this,” said he, “A sweet will change its name!
It joins with stormy weather, although its taste remains the same!
Here, my dear, we have cannoliclones and churrocanes!
Sugarsqualls and strudelfalls, gumdrops and pecan rains!
Here the tortenados and tart-typhoons
Surround us like a wild monsoon!
We have ambrosialanches and fudge slides
That tumble down the mountain sides!
We have coconut cakequakes and chocolate cupquakes
And a tiramisunami that blew trees across lakes!
With its sweet coffee flavor and its ladyfingery taste
The mascarpone laid many farmlands to waste!
We have solar éclairs that can brighten a day
And a dust-devil’s food cake to blow you away!
We have erupting baklavolcanoes and a shaved ice storm,
My dear, there are desserts in each weather form:
We have a maple barrage and a torrential sundaeluge—
And the dessert that you want depends upon you!”
“I think,” said Suzy, as outside, honey drops began to fall,
“I think, that I would like to have at least one of them all!”


The Ghastly but True Secrets of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
Madame Tussauds has kept a revolting secret for years—
They harvest their wax from children’s ears!
Now, I’m sorry if the truth has jellied your knees.
It’s disgusting, I know.
But that is why Madame Tussaud’s must go
To such lengths to say their wax comes from bees!

Now, the waxman will sneak into a child’s room,
With a silver speculum and a small spoon,
While the child lies deep in sweet dreams.
This waxman will creep very near,
Insert the instrument deep in the ear,
Then spoon the wax out as if it were cream!

When Tussauds first get the wax,
It is as gold-brown as flax,
And they must store it well out of the light.
So they hide it deep in dark caves,
And far underground in fake graves,
So the wax stays in endless night!

And by the time Tussauds brings the wax out,
It has become as treacly as grout,
And they must pour it into enormous glass jars.
Here the stuff sits,
As wax sculptors spoon out small bits
To make their models of stars!


The Glen of Dancing Trees
While Mike was standing on the corner
He became a tree.
Why that was or how that was
No one could clearly see.
Mike became a big tall oak
With branches wide and strong
He had a crop of fluttering leaves
For the wind to blow along

Now Mike was not your normal oak
That stays planted in the ground
No, Mike was of the special sort
That goes walking ’round the town
He took his steps with big deep roots
That pulled up pavement as he walked
He stopped the delivery man in his stride
And village gossips as they talked.

Mike reached down with his big brown bough
And scratched the knot upon his chest
From it scampered a small brown squirrel
That had made the hole its nest
Then Mike walked to the river’s edge
Where a young girl read a book
And he leaned out over her shoulder
So that he might have a look

She was reading a classic tale
Of true blissful romance
In which heroes fought with words and blades
And lovers got to dance
And so absorbed was the young girl
In the words on every page
That she noticed not the walking tree
As it passed on towards the glade.

Mike soon reached the forest’s edge
And he entered with a smile
For this place seemed the home for him
And he walked on for a mile
Until he came to a sunny dell
Upon a grassy hill
And because it was the spot for him
He grew quiet and grew still.

Now Mike lives on the hill
Much like an ordinary tree
But on some nights he takes a walk
Past idle oaks and hickories
He goes strolling through the moonlight,
Where he’s brushed by season’s breeze,
And joins his friends who are just like him
In the glen of dancing trees.


I’m Sick Today
I’m sick today, my throat is red;
I’m sick today, I’ll stay in bed.
My body’s sore, I don’t feel right
I sweated through the endless night.
I’m sick today, I think I’ll die.
I’m sick today, this is goodbye.
I feel all achey, my head’s not straight.
My body’s stopped; my brain is late.
Thank you for the Get Wells and your smiling face;
I need no soup; I have no hope.  I am a hopeless case.
Thank heaven for my pillow, and thank heaven for my bed,
I’ll lay in mine for endless years or until I’m dead.
Then you can put me in the ground,
Where I’ll lay without a sound,
My friends will weep,
But I will keep
For many many years,
Unbothered by the spiders and my mother’s tears.
Oh! I am sick.
Bleh.


Jack Frost Endeavors to Keep Winter
Through the snowy passes
Hurtles an old and hoary train.
It dashes past crevasses
Along the cold moraines.

Its transit is annuary—
Only once in ice and snow—
Only deep in January
Is the Icicle Train prepared to go.

And how extraordinary
The Icicle Train is to see
It seems imaginary
As it curves around glaciers and the scree.

Its locomotive is wrought of iron,
Embellished with curls and coils
With raveled figurines of wire on
Its smokestack, which blows and boils.

Its cars are made of stained glass
Each are as vitreous as the sea
The glass is mullioned in fine brass
With designs of spruce and cedar trees.

The conductor is an old man
Jack Frost is his name
For longer than mankind’s lifespan
He has steered this venerable train.

He wears a jester’s cap 
With five points that have five bells
And he wears a cloak with a golden snap
And gloves and shoes as white as shells.

He drives the train into the north
Where the bears and walrus live
Into dark lands where few rove forth,
Where the cold does not forgive.

What does the conductor seek there?
It’s a secret you should know.
He is searching with intent care
For a faint and feeble glow.

He seeks the flame of winter
Which gutters night by night,
The flame lies furthest hinter
Beneath dancing aurora light.

The flame of winter shudders
With each approaching spring
And when at last it gutters
The earth begins to green.

But Frost wants winter eternal—
A world of snow and ice—
So he strives to cease the vernal
Tidings by this particular device.

For if he can keep that cold flame
Burning in the north
Then he will meet his own aim
And spring shall not come forth.

So the Icicle Train speeds onwards
Through the snow and ice and frost
To thwart the coming season
And to render summer lost.

Frost stokes the boiler’s fire
He throws in wood and coal
So the flames in it lick higher
As he steams on toward his goal.

But the winter’s flame has dwindled so far
Even as he comes
The fire flickers beneath a bell jar
As the locomotive hums.

Jack Frost speeds across a prairie
Of flat ice and winter’s snow
Across dazzling ice that’s glary
Toward the paltry distant glow.

Now he’s very near it
And Frost will fan its flame
But the candle is but half-lit–
Or half-dead to say the same.

And then the fire does choke
And a tragedy strikes for him
The fire becomes a feathered smoke
The flame dies within the glim.

And although no word is spoken
There comes a thundering crack of ice
As winter’s spell is broken
And spring is drawn from its glacial vise.

The Icicle Train must go back
For another long, green year
And Jack Frost with his coat black
Must take his bow and disappear.

But this is not forever—
Every year he tries his worth—
And in eras when Frost was quick and clever
We’ve had a snowball earth.

But this year he’s been frustrated
And the north sounds with his rage
For Frost will never be placated
Till we live in a perpetual ice age.


Late Last Night I Went to Bed
Late last night I went to bed
And tentacles crawled around my head
They pulled me deep
Into my sleep
The tentacles around me curled
And pulled me to another world
One with dreams and nightmares real
With swimming sharks and snakes and eels
With valley floors with heads of stone
With dancing skeletons made of bone
With burning coals and fires blue
You know these lands, for you’ve slept too.

I stood atop a rocky spire
And looked upon the world entire
I saw winged creatures gold and black
And leapt from the spire to one’s back
It sailed with me past ticking clocks
And places where mermaids live by rocks
And then I fell from that beast’s back
And plunged and plunged into the black.
A cyclops hairy, vast and great,
Roared that I’d be the next thing he ate
His voice rolled off cave walls as he spoke
And remained in my mind when I awoke.


Mr. McGraff the Happy Giraffe
There once was a happy giraffe
Whose name was Mr. McGraff
He was brown and yellow
And a very tall fellow
And he had the most wonderful laugh.

Now Mr. McGraff the lovely giraffe
Went down to the mud hole one day
And it was there that he saw in four crocodile’s jaws
The child of a hippo named May.

Now Mr. McGraff was a quiet giraffe,
As it is in a giraffe’s nature to be,
But seeing this calf almost halfway in half
His cries rang from mountain to sea.

Although unable to swim, he charged right on in
And he attacked the grim crocodiles.
After much splishing and splashing
And fighting and thrashing
The giraffe emerged with a smile.

He shouted, You cool crocodiles
With your treacherous smiles
On this sunny day you’ve been beaten!
And my next endeavor
Will be to turn you to leather
For having my hippo friends eaten!

In the course of a while
After much musing on style
The giraffe was seen with a grin.
He took the lousy old brutes
And turned them into four boots
And those crocs were not heard from again.


Mr. Shaker the Undertaker
Old Mr. Shaker was the town’s undertaker
And to see him marked a very dark day
He’d wrap you in sheets, burn you in heat,
Or embalm you in formaldehyde.
Old Mr. Shaker would pack you off to your maker
And he’d whistle as he went by in his ride.
He was the one not to meet if you passed in the street
For he measured you up with his eye
He’d say to himself, This man’s six feet, two hundred,
Why just think if he’s sundered—
I’d have the perfect shape casket for him!
Or maybe he’d think speculatively,
It’d be droll if consecutively
The Anderson triplets came in!
For the girl with blonde locks
I’d find a blonde box
And for the middle child with parted hair…
Now him, I’d dissect with great care!
I’d take his heart to Kentucky
To a transplant that’s lucky
Then I’d attend the Run for the Roses…
I’d send his brain to D.C.
So the politicians could see
The organ they should use when they speak!
I’d send his arms to the Navy
For times wet and wavy
So they’d have two more appendages to swim
I’d send some blind man his eyes
So that he’d realize
The colors of the world he lived in
And that last Anderson child,
The most beautiful and mild,
I’d have her embalmed for all time.
I’d drain all of her veins
And I would go to great pains
To ensure she was properly styled.
Then like a man with a truck who is mounting a duck
I’d find her a space by the fireplace
And affix her there as the revered child.
And if in a thousand years she’s forgotten
At least she’s not rotten
Although I wouldn’t want to say how she’d smell…
Old Mr. Shaker was a versatile undertaker
And he had been for a good while
He was at once butcher and baker
And beauty-maker
In his mortuary made of green tile.


The Slumberjack
Counting trees is like counting sheep:
Each will make you fall asleep.
One-by-one as you count the sheep
You wait and wait till you drift to sleep.
But if by chance you cannot sleep
You must forbear from counting sheep.
Bring in your mind the felling of trees
By a man with a saw like the buzzing of bees.
He dwells deep in a forest of spruce trees and snow
For the taiga’s the biome where dreams like to go.
He is a slumberjack, and with every tree that he fells
Down you shall go down sleep’s bottomless wells.
Falling and falling you’ll have no bird’s wings,
Deeper and deeper you’ll sink in your dreams.
Drop and drop into the black
In the dark frosty forest of the sleep slumberjack.


Terry the Brontosaurus
Terry was a brontosaurus
With dry and pebbly skin
He ate from trees within the forest
And wore a very merry grin

One day a terrible tyrannosaur
Sighted a slow triceratops
And Terry cried, Watch out my friend!
As the T-rex licked its chops

So the triceratops it ran away
And the t-rex missed his brunch
The tyrannosaur felt angry then
And looked at Terry as his lunch!

Terry gave the tyrannosaur
His very best winning smile
And then he turned his tail to him
And sprinted for a mile!

The carnivore bared his sharp teeth
And started in pursuit
And through forests broad and rivers deep
Terry could not shake the brute

Then at last the worst did happen
As the t-rex caught his prey
On a grassy sunlit little field
In the middle of the day

The tyrannosaur held his claw
To the unfortunate victim’s throat
And said, My dear you’re at an end
For this is all she wrote!

But Terry was a kind creature
And he had a warm and cheerful air
That even the tyrannosaurus paused
Before making the final tear.

Terry gave a big old smile
And the tyrannosaur gave a sigh
Then the brontosaurus stood on his feet
As the tyrannosaur stood by

Then it was that Terry was heard
To address the t-rex and ask,
Don’t you think you’d prefer some leaves
Or some very tasty grass?

The t-rex said, I’ll try with you
Perhaps those leaves are fine
And Terry pulled down a clump of green
That was hanging from a vine

The t-rex tried to eat the greens
But his face blackened with dismay
Why this is the worst food, he said,
I’ve eaten in all my days!

Then the tyrannosaur changed his mind
And he pounced on the dinosaur
He ripped Terry from his tail to his heart
In the way of a true carnivore

So it was that the t-rex dined
On the brontosaurus’ frame
With the smacking sounds and cracking sounds
That were befitting of his name

And as the tyrannosaur licked its sharp teeth
Full of blood and raw proteins
He felt that a good brontosaur
Was certainly much more appetizing than his greens.


A Whale with a Handlebar Mustache
Wilbur the whale had a distinguishing feature
That made seem nobler than his fellow sea creatures:
For on his grey face, the good Lord elected to place
A handlebar mustache that made Wilbur look ace!

In all other respects,
Wilbur met the strict specs
That govern how a baleen whale should be built…
But in this one critical facet
He’d been given an asset
Claimed by no other whale of his ilk!

Wilbur became the pod’s greatest star
And lady whales swam in from quite far
To view and admire his whale whiskers.
For it must be admitted,
Amongst even the most jaded of blisters,
That big blonde mustaches don’t often grow on a whale!
Yet Wilbur he had one, and it was a gem,
Bushy in the middle and curled at both ends!
It required no maintenance,
Nor had it ever.
All that it did was make its wearer look clever!

So Wilbur he swam on through the deep seas,
Year after year, as fine as you please.
He grew old, and he wrinkled,
But that mustache never crinkled,
And he stole a thousand lady-whale hearts.
They just couldn’t resist
The chance to be kissed
By a debonair whale with a mustache so fine!
He’d lift up his eyebrows, and he’d kiss their whale cheeks,
And they’d coo, “Oh, that Wilbur’s divine!”


A Wildebeest Named Gnu
There once was a wildebeest named Gnu
The laziest beast that the veldt ever knew
One day a lion poked him and said,
Now either you run or you’re dead
But Gnu couldn’t be bothered to move.
Then the lion scratched the young gnu,
Said, From you I’ll make a gnu stew!
For I have claws that can shred
And I can bite off your head!
But Gnu couldn’t be bothered to move.
Then the lion jumped on Gnu’s back
Saying, I’m going to attack!
You’d better start running my friend!
Now I’ll give you some steps out in front
’Fore I start the hunt,
Then we’ll see what takes place in the end!
But Gnu couldn’t be bothered to move.
So the lion shook his head
He walked away and he said,
Such a riddle the world never knew:
For though the gnu just seems lazy
To be so idle is crazy
He must be some kind of statue!
And Gnu would have smiled
For he thought it worthwhile
But he couldn’t be bothered to move.