Poem 3: Green Eggs and Ham

Weren’t expecting this one next, were you? I confessed my love for Dr. Seuss a couple of years ago, so I may as well admit that Green Eggs and Ham is one of my favorite poems. How can you look at these lines and not smile?

Do you like
green eggs and ham?
 
I do not like them,
Sam-I-am.
I do not like
green eggs and ham.

My favorite Dr. Seuss video ever isn’t the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Admittedly I love that to, but I delight far more in Jesse Jackson’s reading of Green Eggs and Ham.

Why do I like Green Eggs and Ham? I KNOW Green Eggs and Ham. At any moment, you might hear me adapting the situation in front of me into the rhyme and rhythm of the poem. Don’t believe me? Just a few minutes ago, the local NPR talk featured Virginia Governor Kaine’s veto of a bill that would "allow gun owners with concealed-carry permits to have firearms in establishments that serve alcohol, as long as they don’t drink."

At the end of a related interview, a state legislator who opposed Kaine’s decision said, "People should be able to carry their guns in a bar. Or in a car." I have no idea why he tacked on that "in a car," but I was off, creating a little dialogue for Sam and the governor:

Do you want
to hide a gun?
 
I do not want to,
Sam-I-am.
I do not want
to hide a gun.
 
Would you hide
one in a bar?
Would you hide
one in a car?
 
I would not hide
one in a bar.
I would not hide
one in a car.
I do not want to
hide gun.
I do not like them
Sam-I-am.

I know. I know. Not really much of a children’s book. For it to fit the plot, the governor character will have to hide a gun, use it in some life-changing way, and then he can exclaim, "Say! I like to hide a gun! I do! I like to, Sam-I-am!"

Pathetic, huh? I can summon the opening lines of The Canterbury Tales or The Waste Land effortlessly and I can allude to passages from hundreds of other poems—but Dr. Seuss is what comes to me most simply. It’s probably not shocking to anyone to hear that I wish I could write children’s and young adult books.

Yes, I’m an amateur medievalist who wants to be both a modern poet and Dr. Seuss. It’s a curse really. Every poem I try to write ultimately takes on a Dr. Seuss cadence:

Do you want to
eat a peach?
Do you want to
walk the beach?

It just doesn’t fit the imagery does it? Probably best for me to just read Green Eggs and Ham (and keep my Seussian poetry to myself).

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