I love finding a poem that pairs just perfectly with a story I’m attached to.
It doesn’t happen a lot, but twice it has happened magically. Here are those two. (I still need to memorize the second one).
To preface Half a Blanket (It took some practice to say this one with a clear voice. My Grandfather was very dear to me).
The Little Boy and the Old Man— by Shel Silverstein
Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the little old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the touch of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.
From the book Poetry Speaks to Children, a poem by an anonymous Inuit poet and translated by Edward Field. It is the perfect companion to Raven and the Whale’s Burning Heart. It would also make a good transition piece between traditional Alaskan tales.
In the very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes they were animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen–
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this:
that’s the way it was.