National Poetry Month Inspires Mascot Riley to Write Poetry About Treats
By Guest Blogger Riley, assisted by Martha Sessums
I’ve been checking out the progress of the students learning about poetry at Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School. There are all kinds of poetry styles and rhyming patterns. Some have very structured verse (like the 14-line sonnet that starts with an eight-line rhyming pattern of ABBAABBA, which is a dancing-queen-kinda-old-school singing group, now a Broadway musical.)
Others have no structure at all. Those are my favorite – like doggerel. That’s a form of bad verse characterized by clichés, clumsiness and irregular meter. No ABBA cool here.
So here’s one of my poems, probably written in doggerel, cause the clumsy part kinda fits me.
Working It for Treats
By Riley, the Dog
You try being a dog for a day,
Working for treats to come your way.
Smiling, hugging, putting up with pets
Twirling, obeying, doing your best
To please all your masters, big and small
Who walk and talk in the Alpha School hall.
“Good dog” they say with enthusiasm
And I hold up my head so I won’t raz ‘em.
My ears get pulled, fur pushed from my eyes,
My tail is twisted and I muffle my cries
My tummy is patted, my paws are shook
I endure it all ‘cause I’m not off the hook.
I gotta perform, do something cute
Something impressive to earn the loot.
Small crunchies of beef, pork or chicken
Or the best – oh the best – a bite of bacon.
Again and again, I’m sometimes so beat
To work it and work it – just for a treat
But at the end of the day, when I watch the kids leave
Books in their arms, swarming home like bees
Computers turned off, classrooms closed down
The hallways are quiet with no one around.
As I sit under the desk of my best friend
I sigh, ‘cause I can’t wait for it to happen again.
And I want to give a shout out to Lobo, San Francisco International High School’s mascot for the ACE Poetry Contest. He is going to try his paw at writing poetry too. I hear he’s working on a haiku poem, which is a Japanese verse of three un-rhyming lines, but watch the pattern of the syllables. There are rules!
Treat yourself to a poem!