Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts*: Poetry for Children

I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I do not condone inflicting poetry upon innocent and impressionable youngsters. Read your kids books on business administration, or advanced particle physics…anything but poetry. It will only lead them to lives of frustration and heartache--not to mention insanely expensive and useless liberal arts degrees.

Not convinced? Mull this little nugget over: reading poetry to your young ones greatly increases the likelihood that when they become teenagers, they will write ugly and prescient little poems about you, your job, your politics, and the way you dress. Rest assured, they will share these with the world on TikTok.

What I'm trying to get at here is that poetry encourages children to think for themselves, which leads them to ask "why?" about issues you do not begin to understand. And because poetry tends to give one a love of language, your child will rarely resort to emojis in their texts because they will actually have the vocabulary to express themselves. All of these traits, you have to agree, will seriously hinder your child's social and financial well-being.

I realize most of you will not heed my warnings, so if you must read verse to your kids, at least read them good poetry, not the syrupy-sweet greeting card stuff. The world is disheartening and disappointing enough without starting life with a head full of mistaken ideas about its friendliness. Bears are not cute and do not, as a rule, teach valuable life lessons. Bears eat people.

And that, ultimately, is what it comes down to, if you read poetry to your kids, they'll be eaten by bears.

The choice is yours.

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About the Title

*This is the version I learned from a perennial bad influence and longtime bestie in the late 1960s: It remains, in my mind, one of the highest achievements in verse. 

Great big gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts
mutilated monkey meal
little, dirty birdy feet
and I forgot my spoon

What were the words you learned? When did you learn them? Leave a comment!