In 2013, I was named the Children’s Poet Laureate. Awarded by the Poetry Foundation every two years, and now called the Young People’s Poet Laureate, the aim of this award is to raise awareness that young people have a natural receptivity to poetry and are its most appreciative audience, especially when poems are written specifically for them.
A “laureate” is a person who has been honored for achieving distinction in a particular field, and a “poet laureate” is a poet whose work is officially recognized and awarded.
Because I love the sound of language, I noticed that the word “laureate” sounds a lot like some other words such as “lariat” and “Laurie ate” and thought it would be fun to write a poem using one of these other words in place of “laureate.” This poem is the result, and I hope you enjoy it.
The Story of Laurie
Perhaps you shouldn’t read this story.
It isn’t sweet and hunky-dory.
It isn’t even just okay,
or nice or kind in any way.
In fact, it’s gruesome, grim, and gory,
and all about a girl named Laurie.
See, Laurie is a cannibal.
She’ll eat no plant nor animal.
She’ll eat no vegetable nor fruit,
no leaf, no seed, no sprout, nor shoot.
And if you offer fish or fowl
she’ll stare at you and start to growl.
It’s not that Laurie’s mean or mad.
She simply thinks that beans are bad.
She says, “No thanks” to chips and cheese,
bologna, carrots, parsley, peas,
bananas, bagels, sauerkraut,
arugula and rainbow trout.
She doesn’t care for Christmas roast,
or pie or pumpernickel toast,
or rigatoni, ravioli,
mustard, custard, guacamole,
pickles, yogurt, sirloin steak,
or even candy bars and cake.
She’ll never feed on frozen food.
And any entree, steamed or stewed,
from any package, box, or bag,
is guaranteed to make her gag.
It’s not part of her diet plan;
the only thing she eats is Man.
I truly hope I never meet
with Laurie, for I know she’ll eat
my feet, my legs, my arms, my head,
and then, of course, I’ll end up dead.
And that’s the one thing I would hate:
To be the poet Laurie ate.