Tag Archives: poems

Strange and Fun Poems

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Shel Silverstein’s poems are known by most American children and adults, because they are strange and funny. His books include drawings by him that go with the poems. Some of his poems are very long and hard to read, but others are easy to understand. These books have been popular for a long time, so you should be able to buy them at used bookstores.

This poem is called “Lazy Jane,” and it’s from his most famous book, Where the Sidewalk Ends. Do you know the word “lazy?” It’s an adjective that means “someone who doesn’t want to do any work.” I think the meaning will be very clear after you read this silly poem, which is about a really, REALLY lazy girl!


“Lazy Jane”
by Shel Silverstein

Lazy
lazy
lazy
lazy
lazy
lazy
Jane.
She
wants
a
drink
of
water
so
she
waits
and
waits
and
waits
and
waits
and
waits
for
it
to
rain.

jane

Langston Hughes

Many English poems are difficult to read because they are long and full of extremely old-fashioned words. However, you should give Langston Hughes a try. He is an important American poet and writer, who was born in 1902 in the same area that I was born in. He died in 1967, but his poems are still popular because they are easy to read, powerful, and beautiful. Hughes was African-American and was important in changing the roles of African Americans in American culture and society. You can read more about him at the Simple English Wikipedia article about Langston Hughes.

Here is one of his poems:

Dreams
by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

(“Hold fast” means “hold tightly.” “Barren” means “empty, without life.”)

More of his poems are available at poets.org (look at the right side).

A Poem That Reminds Me of San Francisco

I stayed at a hotel in San Francisco this weekend. From the hotel room on the fourteenth floor, I could see the fog come in. In the San Francisco Bay Area, fog comes in from the ocean in the evening. The fog usually stays until morning, and then it goes back to the ocean. It helps keep us cool! I love the fog.

Here is a famous poem about fog:

Fog
by Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Does it make sense?

The fog comes in silently, like a cat. The fog covers the city for a while. (To “sit on [one's] haunches” is to squat [if you're a human]. Just picture a cat sitting there.) Then it leaves.