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There’s no rhyme or reason to family poet-tree [opinion]

It’s hard to be humble, but in fourth grade I was named Class Poet.

Once a week, students could read a poem they had written in front of the class. A lot of weeks — OK, almost every week — I was the only one reading a poem, which likely explains the Class Poet honor.

I have no idea why I thought I could write poetry, except that many in the older generation often recited interesting poems at length. “The Village Blacksmith” and “The Road Not Taken” come to mind.

I still remember one of my favorite poems I wrote, but only in part. It was about a trip to the zoo and ended like this: “There was a commotion in that cage like no other, because the cage contained my little brother.”

I doubt Robert Frost or Carl Sandburg ever felt threatened.

Funny how it is hard to forget what you memorized as a child (“I do not like them Sam-I-Am, I do not like green eggs and ham”) but infinitely harder to memorize as an adult.

If only I had been able to memorize all the social security numbers, policy member numbers, credit card numbers, family birthdays, anniversary dates, account logins and passwords I would need as an adult back when I was a kid.

My guess is that most people over 35 remember their home phone number from childhood but haven’t memorized cellphone numbers of family and close friends because they’re all on speed dial.

Meanwhile, one of our grands is memorizing all the license plates in the family.
Another grand recently announced she is conducting a poetry competition open to family members and some friends.

How now, brown cow.

I thought most might pass on the invitation, but the contest host just sent out a terse email saying, “No more than three entries per person or your entry will be disqualified!”

Doesn’t that just get you in the pentameter?

In it to win it.

Of course, now everybody wants to know who is crowding the field with multiple entries in hopes of the big win. The one conducting the contest isn’t talking, which may be part of her ruse to heighten interest in the competition. There’s nothing like mystery and the threat of disqualification to crowd the field.

Rhyming verse, free verse and bad verse are shooting through cyberspace.

I just received a copy of a 5-year-old’s entry, titled “Lunch.” It goes like this: “We had some root beer for lunch, We had a sandwich. Carrots are crunchy, Crunch, crunch, crunchity crunch.”

Maybe she’ll place for alliteration.

I read another submission about flowers and another about a lost black sheep: “Where did you go? High in the mountains? Low in the snow?”

I won’t tell how it ends. Let’s just say it’s a cliffhanger.

I’m not entering a poem until I’ve memorized our son’s cellphone number.

Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Her new book, “What Happens at Grandma’s Stays at Grandma’s” is now available. Email her at

Source: Berkshire mont

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