First, let me apologize for the photo of the anorexic cheerleader. (Somebody needs to bring that girl a taco plate. Grande!) I only include her because she is my one way of identifying the age of this poem. I couldn’t find a single date on any of the pages, but there is a clip-out from a magazine on the poem’s construction paper cover. According to Google Images (Thank you, drag-and-drop function.), the photo is of Denise Doran. And according to Linkedin, Doran was a cheerleader for Dallas for exactly one year, 1978. A little math tells me I wrote the poem when I was 12.
This isn’t a brilliant poem by a stretch, and I certainly don’t remember writing it. But I found a few things familiar and interesting.
If I ever had doubt Ernest Thayer’s Casey at the Bat was an early influence on my storytelling poetry, this poem lays that to rest. (Thank you again, Dad. YOU were responsible for sharing Casey at the Bat with me. That and Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s Ride. Oh, and thank you, Mom, for saving this bit of classwork!)
I still use the paper’s margins for messing around with rhyme possibilities. (Although I no longer need to write out the entire alphabet as a reference.)
I’m tickled (That’s pretty much the right word.) that I must not have been entirely happy with the poem I wrote by longhand and revised it before typing it up. There are several lines in the middle that have seen changes – and, yes, improvement.
Oh, and I no longer feel the need to write “typed by” in the byline of my poems. Apparently that was a big deal when I was 12.
And what does this all tell me?
It tells me we have no idea what will stick when we expose our children (and our students) to literature. Or art. Or math or science or . . . Sometimes things stick. An afternoon tromp through a wetland could see a child majoring in environmental science. The sharing of a single poem could send another on a lifelong rabbit chase of poetry writing.
There is no one writing process. If you’re teaching kids about writing, talk about the writing (and creating) processes. Plural. You can get there any number of ways.
When we get truly jazzed by the creating processes, we won’t be happy until we get it right. Or at least closer to our idea of right.
Typing is hard when you’re 12.
A Football Day in Dallas (Typos and everything)
The sun was shining clear,
On that gorgeous Dallas day.
A football game was to be played.
Or so the people say.
The players trotted on the field,
The noise could break your ears,
But all eyes were on the girls in white,
The Dallas Cheerleaders.
The players took a bow,
And huddled mighty quick.
At the sound of “Break”, the game began,
With a high, long starting kick.
Those gorgeous maidens in ivory shorts
Gave out their starting praise.
Their scrawny little quarter-back,
Went through the people maze.
A touch-down was the call,
The girls, they did their best.
Not until the final score,
Could they get their well earned rest.
With one point down, five seconds left,
Right on the five yard line,
The quarter-back, he called the play,
And looking mighty fine.
The cheerleaders were awful tense,
Especially one named May.
She was getting super mad,
When she saw this crummy play.
The quarter-back, he let it go,
Way over the receivers hands.
May raced right out onto the field,
And threw him in the stands.
Written by Eric Ode
Typed by Eric Ode