Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place—
be glad your nose is on your face!

From The New Kid on the Block, published by Greenwillow, 1984. Used with permission.

              10

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Copyright © 1956, 1984, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust from The Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, Edited by George J. Firmage. Reprinted by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they smell,
And never sit when you say sit,
Or even when you yell.
And when you come home late at night
And there is ice and snow,
You have to go back out because
The dumb dog has to go.

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they shed,
And always let the strangers in
And bark at friends instead,
And do disgraceful things on rugs,
And track mud on the floor,
And flop upon your bed at night
And snore their doggy snore.

Mother doesn't want a dog.
She's making a mistake.
Because, more than a dog, I think
She will not want this snake.

From If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries . . ., published by Macmillan, 1981. Used with permission.

A

A was an ant
Who seldom stood still,
And who made a nice house
In the side of a hill.

a

Nice little ant!

 

*

B

B was a book
With a binding of blue,
And pictures and stories
For me and for you.

b

Nice little book!

 

*

C

C was a cat
Who ran after a rat;
But his courage did fail
When she seized on his tail.

c

Crafty old cat!

 

*

D

D was a duck
With spots on his back,
Who lived in the water,
And always said “Quack!”
d

Dear little duck!

 

*

E

E was an elephant,
Stately and wise:
He had tusks and a trunk,
And two queer little eyes.

e

Oh, what funny small eyes!

 

*

F

F was a fish
Who was caught in a net;
But he got out again,
And is quite alive yet.

f

Lively young fish!

 

*

G

G was a goat
Who was spotted with brown:
When he did not lie still
He walked up and down.

g

Good little goat!

 

*

H

H was a hat
Which was all on one side;
Its crown was too high,
And its brim was too wide.

h

Oh, what a hat!

 

*

I

I was some ice
So white and so nice,
But which nobody tasted;
And so it was wasted.

i

All that good ice!

 

*

J

J was a jackdaw
Who hopped up and down
In the principal street
Of a neighboring town.

j

All through the town!

 

*

K

K was a kite
Which flew out of sight,
Above houses so high,
Quite into the sky.

k

Fly away, kite!

 

*

L

L was a light
Which burned all the night,
And lighted the gloom
Of a very dark room.

l

Useful nice light!

 

*

M

M was a mill
Which stood on a hill,
And turned round and round
With a loud hummy sound.

m

Useful old mill!

 

*

N

N was a net
Which was thrown in the sea
To catch fish for dinner
For you and for me.

n

Nice little net!

 

*

O

O was an orange
So yellow and round:
When it fell off the tree,
It fell down to the ground.

o

Down to the ground!

 

*

P

P was a pig,
Who was not very big;
But his tail was too curly,
And that made him surly.

p

Cross little pig!

 

*

Q

Q was a quail
With a very short tail;
And he fed upon corn
In the evening and morn.

q

Quaint little quail!

 

*

R

R was a rabbit,
Who had a bad habit
Of eating the flowers
In gardens and bowers.

r

Naughty fat rabbit!

 

*

S

S was the sugar-tongs,
sippity-see,
To take up the sugar
To put in our tea.

s

sippity-see!

 

*

T

T was a tortoise,
All yellow and black:
He walked slowly away,
And he never came back.

t

Torty never came back!

 

*

U

U was an urn
All polished and bright,
And full of hot water
At noon and at night.

u

Useful old urn!

 

*

V

V was a villa
Which stood on a hill,
By the side of a river,
And close to a mill.

v

Nice little villa!

 

*

W

W was a whale
With a very long tail,
Whose movements were frantic
Across the Atlantic.

w

Monstrous old whale!

 

*

X

X was King Xerxes,
Who, more than all Turks, is
Renowned for his fashion
Of fury and passion.

x

Angry old Xerxes!

 

*

Y

Y was a yew,
Which flourished and grew
By a quiet abode
Near the side of a road.

y

Dark little yew!

 

*

Z

Z was some zinc,
So shiny and bright,
Which caused you to wink
In the sun's merry light.

z

Beautiful zinc!

 

This poem is in the public domain.

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more—that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut—my eyes are blue—
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke—
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is—what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

From Shel Silverstein: Poems and Drawings; originally appeared in Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Copyright © 2003 by HarperCollins Children's Books. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

My mother was not impressed with her beauty;
once a year she put it on like a costume,
plaited her black hair, slick as cornsilk, down past her hips,  
in one rope-thick braid, turned it, carefully, hand over hand,  
and fixed it at the nape of her neck, stiff and elegant as a crown,  
with tortoise pins, like huge insects,
some belonging to her dead mother,
some to my living grandmother.
Sitting on the stool at the mirror,
she applied a peachy foundation that seemed to hold her down, to trap her,
as if we never would have noticed what flew among us
unless it was weighted and bound in its mask.
Vaseline shined her eyebrows,
mascara blackened her lashes until they swept down like feathers;
her eyes deepened until they shone from far away.

Now I remember her hands, her poor hands, which, even
then were old from scrubbing, whiter on the inside than they should have been,
and hard, the first joints of her fingers, little fattened pads,
the nails filed to sharp points like old-fashioned ink pens, painted a jolly color.
Her hands stood next to her face and wanted to be put away, prayed
for the scrub bucket and brush to make them useful.
And, as I write, I forget the years I watched her
pull hairs like a witch from her chin, magnify
every blotch—as if acid were thrown from the inside. 

But once a year my mother
rose in her white silk slip,
not the slave of the house, the woman,
took the ironed dress from the hanger—
allowing me to stand on the bed, so that
my face looked directly into her face,
and hold the garment away from her
as she pulled it down.

From Captivity. Copyright © 1989 by Toi Derricotte. Published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Used with permission of the author. All rights reserved.