Monday, November 24, 2008

THE SASSAFRAS LEAF


THE SASSAFRAS LEAF

A leaf all full of sassafras,
Floated without a sound onto the grass,
Then, quickly wafted onto a stone,
To sit there and think all alone.

I am big and yellow, the leaf thought,
But, it was something else that she sought,
To be something useful was her desire,
A thing that would encourage or inspire.

But, alas, no revelations came to her,
No ideas or imaginings began to stir,
So sadly, she let go of her dream,
She didn’t plan and she didn’t scheme.

Look, Mom, called a little voice,
This leaf is lucky – it has a choice,
It can be a mitten to warm a hand,
Or a big fat turkey living off the land.

The leaf felt the touch of a boy’s love,
As he picked up the yellow mitten glove,
Then turned the leaf on its other side,
And gobbled for the turkey there fat and wide.

The boy showed the leaf to his dad,
Who tried on the mitten, then gobbled like mad,
The child and his parents laughed with glee,
At the big yellow leaf from the sassafras tree.

The boy pressed the leaf all by himself,
And placed it carefully on a shelf,
And there he kept it all winter long,
Now that’s the end of this autumn song.

But, if you please, just one more word,
In case you find this poem absurd,
Oh, remember those days of childhood play,
When imagination ruled the day!

30 comments:

Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...

I read this to my six year old daughter, Enya, and she really liked it. This would be an awsome children's poem. I love how you personify the leaf and then make the connection between nature and the child. A message that this generation needs to hear to cultivate environmental awareness!

...perhaps you could get some children to do accompanying illustrations for this piece...

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Minister - I'm so glad that Enya liked the poem. :) That was sweet.

Thanks for the good idea about having children illustrate the poem. I have several poems that I would like to publish as children's books. Maybe someday.

You are right - anything to promote the greening of the planet is a good idea. I hope this qualifies.

Catvibe said...

I love this, and that you chose to make it a rhythmic rhyming poem makes it all that much more effective. This is such a sweet episode, one of those little moments in families where the parents really do a great job tapping into the child's imagination. It is so easy as parents to just sort of step on and ignore this magical time in a young person's mind. Thank you for capturing it and putting it into poetry.

Aine said...

Oh fun! I love this! And the best part is that the leaf ended up being useful and inspiring just by being herself. Great message-- stop trying to be something we aren't. Each of us has a gift or talent that will prove useful to someone, somewhere.

I've always seen sassafras leaves as mittens, too.
:)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Catvibe - You are so right about it being important to encourage imagination in our children. With all the gadgets, bells, and whistles these days - creative play is sometimes lost. Thanks!! :)


Aine - Much of my poetry tends to be a intense and/or dark. So, now and then, I like to "lighten up". I took this photo when I was at the Dodge Poetry Festival in late September and knew right away what poem I HAD to write.

Your comments are so insightful. Thanks a bunch for weighing in! :)

trooping with crows said...

I felt like, with every stanza, I was turning a page and imagining the illustrations. This is a children's book!
I had a wonderful and imaginative childhood, growing up in the woods. Everything in nature is "something else" I'm so happy that I get to relive this now with my child as he grows up. I will also be sharing this poem with him!
Charming, sweet and very creative.

Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...

It's sad how imagination is becoming lost to our children. Every Sunday after my daughter's rock climbing class, we take our dogs for an hour long walk down in the river valley. Since Enya was 4 I began telling these stories about faeries and other things in the wooded area we walk and it amazes me how much she retains (I also have to keep sharp as I don't want to cross up my details!).

It's so important to talk, play and imagine with our kids. Reading, making up stories and getting outside build relationships, a love for nature and the Arts. These are the types of children we need to lead the next generation.

Incidently, I went to a PD this past Friday on learning, behaviour and resiliency presented by Dr. Gordon Neufeld. I'd recommend anyone raising or working with children to check out his books (he's got a web site: www.GordonNeufeld.com ).I teach inner-city special needs jr. high students, and the stuff Neufeld said about relationship building is so evident in my classroom.

Children need great books - please write more!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Trooping w/Crows - Awww, that is so nice. Isn't it great to re-live our childhood, in a sense, through our children. I am so happy that your childhood was wonderful - and now you are making sure your own child has a happy one. ;)

You know, I just might work on this as a children's book. Gonna have to work on getting an agent, I think. I have twenty-five poems that I would like to publish in a chapbook, too.

I am always so happy to see that you have visited. I appreciate your warm and interesting comments.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Minister - It sounds as though you are doing a great job with your daughter. I know she must be thrilled to hear about the fairies and other magical creatures of the woods.

Thanks for the tip on Dr. Neufeld. I will certainly check out his website.

I appreciate your encouragement!

Sarah Hina said...

There's something so wonderfully sassy about sassafras. :)

This poem was delightful, K!! I love how you took the rhyming route with this one--it encourages the child-like feel. I had such a big smile on my face as I imagined the family switching between mitten and turkey. The greatest joys can be found in the smallest, most humble things.

And your imagination still rules the day. :)

Sarah Hina said...

Oops! I meant to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, too!!

I hope you have a wonderful day with your family, K.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Sarah, I'm glad you liked my "Sassy" poem. It was fun to write. I took the picture at the Dodge Poetry Festival. I knew then I would write a poem about a leaf that looked like a mitten AND a turkey. Thanks so much!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well. Blessings, K

Hans Ford said...

K it is so refreshing to see all the wonderful comments you get back.like the Minister, my wife also raised our children with with that same magical belief in fairies and they in turn have passed it on to their children.imagination and fantasy is what children are all about and it should never be changed or glossed over.Great job with this one and please sneak a few more in from time to time.I am thrilled to have found this blog. thank you

joaquin carvel said...

i love that this one sings, and its accuracy. a big fallen leaf, to a kid, is as good a find as any - and, like rocks or feathers, will often find its way to a place of prominence (in home & heart).

fyi, you are awarded a "blogging star" (per me) on l&m. :)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hans - you are so very kind. I appreciate your flattering comments. I am glad you found this blog, too!!

Your wife sounds lovely. And she is lucky to have a sensitive husband who appreciates her. ;)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Joaquin - Oh, that is such a good way of putting it...those wonderful, little nature treasures DO find their way to a place of prominence, don't they? Heart and home - that is it exactly!

My goodness - Joaquin, thank you, most sincerely, for the distinguished award you have bestowed upon me. I appreciate your recognition more than I can say. I'm going over to Lyrics and Maladies to pick up my star! Blessings - Happy Thanksgiving. ;)))

Rick said...

Happy Thanksgiving, K Lawsen!

Reading this poem actually brought back childhood memories. Then again, the phrase "brought back childhood memories" doesn't explain what I experienced reading this poem at all. What actually happened was this- I was reading your poem and enjoying it and then I was pressing an hot iron over a linen cloth beneath which wss held captive a leaf sandwiched between two sheets of wax paper. Ic could smell the melting wax. I was wondering if I was pressing too hard or too long and would burn the leaf. And then I was back with your poem again. Thank you for resurrecting, shaking out and gifting me a memory long since covered with dust.

And thank you for the blogging star. Now I have to plot what to do with it. Surely I can mingle it with a little mischief.

Sarah Hina said...

Thank you for the wonderful award, K!! What a nice goodie for Thanksgiving Day. :)

I'm very grateful, not just for the star, but that you started blogging. I immediately felt a connection to your poetry from that first day I visited. And more importantly, you radiate a warmth and wonderful spirit that always makes me smile, whether I see you at my blog, or at some of the others you chose to honor. You're just a good, good person, K.

I don't usually put awards up on my sidebar, but nonetheless, they are special to me, and I am honored. Thank you again, K!!

Vesper said...

What a lovely, lovely, lovely poem!

Childhood and return to childhood all in one. Wonderful!

I live this with my daughters every day, but, come to think about it, I'm still a child myself, in so many ways...

Congratulations for your star!

Happy Thanksgiving!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Rick, I am happy that I was able to take you back in time. Yes, remember pressing a leaf between two sheets of wax paper? (The poor man's lamination). Thanks. Rick.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Day.

You are welcome for the star - you deserve it!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Sarah, You are very welcome for the award. Your blog is such an interesting and welcoming place to visit. You always amaze me with your erudition and insight.

What a sweet response. I feel exactly the same way about you! Thank you for all the kind words. K

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Vesper - Thank you so very much. I am happy that my little poem has been so well received.

It sounds like you have magical fun in your life. Your daughters are lucky! ;)

Thanks, for the good wishes. It means a lot to me. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

jason evans said...

Sassafras leaves have always captivated me. So different than the usual symmetry of nature. I love that you used the sassafras leaf as inspiration! It is most deserved.

Thank you for the wonderful award, Kaye!! I'm deeply honored. You've always been a treasured visitor at The Clarity of Night. I'm so pleased to now have the opportunity to visit you here and experience your vision.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Jason- Isn't the sassafras plant special, having three distinct leaf patterns on the same plant!

You are welcome for the Blogging Star. I am sure that you have received many for your wonderful blog. You always make me feel like such a welcomed guest when I visit there. AND - Thank you, most sincerely, for helping me launch OMM. I appreciate your support of my poetry. :)

Aine said...

Thanks for the award!! I feel honored to be included in that list. I've been delighted every time I stop by Old Mossy Moon. Your creative vision is just wonderful. And your blog has a nicely defined personality-- consistency in vision and feeling. It is comforting to visit because I know I'll find something worthwhile everytime. Your blog is worth many, many awards!
:)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Aine - You are so very welcome for the Blogging Star. I enjoy your unique, thought provoking posts very much at Life Is Beautiful. It is a great blog! (You really know your stuff! ;))

Thanks for always visiting OMM & supporting my work. It means so much to me. I look forward to your visits.

Rick said...

Hello K. Lawsen. Thought I'd tell you that I read your poem to a child today, and she giggled. There's no better compliment!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Rick - It was so good of you to let me know that. Thanks, my friend. K.

blue possum said...

Great poem!! From the moment it started I was crossing my fingers hoping that something great would happen to that leaf! I love finding and appreciating unusual leaves, rocks, sticks, flowers, anything in nature! I think how they must love sharing their life with the surrounding habitat!

I'm glad something special happened to this sassafras leaf!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Dearest Blue Posh, Ohmygosh, I know what you mean. I spend most of my day *life* experiencing or thinking about our natural world. It is as important to me as breathing.

I remember when I drove my daughter to school everyday for eight years - the whole ride was checking out the things we passed each day. Cows, white horses, a three-legged dog, a white birch tree that was more human than not, a shower of autumn leaves...

I am glad that my poem did not disappoint. It makes me so happy when you show up!
Blessings <3