Friday, November 2, 2012

Sing in a different color than the music around - A poem by Ron Koertge


I read this poem to the kids today.  The poem is "Do you have any advice for those of us just starting out?"The poem gives advice on writing.

Learn from a 2 year old kid visiting a library.  While other people are enjoying themselves reading books (or are there because of an assignment that needs to be done), he picks books based on their appearance, not their content, and makes a tower with them; then watches them fall.  And laughs out loud and repeats this feat despite people objecting to it with Shhhhs.  Be like that child.  Write creatively.  Sing in a different color than the music around.



“Do You Have Any Advice For Those of Us Just Starting Out?"
- Ron Koertge

Give up sitting dutifully at your desk. Leave
your house or apartment. Go out into the world.

It's all right to carry a notebook but a cheap
one is best, with pages the color of weak tea
and on the front a kitten or a space ship.

Avoid any enclosed space where more than
three people are wearing turtlenecks. Beware
any snow-covered chalet with deer tracks
across the muffled tennis courts.

Not surprisingly, libraries are a good place to write.
And the perfect place in a library is near an aisle
where a child a year or two old is playing as his
mother browses the ranks of the dead.

Often he will pull books from the bottom shelf.
The title, the author's name, the brooding photo
on the flap mean nothing. Red book on black, gray
book on brown, he builds a tower. And the higher
it gets, the wider he grins.

You who asked for advice, listen: When the tower
falls, be like that child. Laugh so loud everybody
in the world frowns and says, "Shhhh."

Then start again.