, , , , ,


Crow, Crow,
why so proud?

My eyes are sharp,
my voice is loud.

Why do you choose
the tallest tree?

I sit up high
where I can see.

What if danger
lurks below?

I caw my friends
and off we go!


From Farmer’s Dog in the Forest: More Rhymes for Two Voices, a picture book with verses by David L. Harrison and illustrations, Arden Johnson-Petrov, 2005. Colourful and lively, an accessible introduction to poetry for young readers and ESL learners of all ages.
Harrison has written many books for children and adults (see davidlharrison.com/books.htm), and won much recognition for his contributions to literacy and community awareness efforts. Awards include, in 1972, the Christopher Medal, for The Book of Giant Stories (recently republished and available, though am not sure that its appearance is exactly like the original). The Christopher Awards were established by Christopher founder Father James Keller to salute media that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” Their goal is to encourage men, women and children to pursue excellence in creative arenas that have the potential to influence a mass audience positively. Award winners encourage audiences to see the better side of human nature and motivate artists and the general public to use their best instincts on behalf of others (from The Christophers website, christophers.org, accessed 12 September 2015).
Harrison has a blog at davidlharrison.wordpress.com, where you can see what he’s up to at present.

This particular poem especially appealed to me not only because I’m partial to crows, but because I simply can’t resist a pun, and it’s the only one I found in the book. A “pun” is a little joke often occurring seamlessly within regular conversation; it capitalizes on two possible meanings of a word, or on the fact that (as occurs in “Crow”) there exist words that sound alike but have different meanings (“caw” and “call”). An easy-to-remember definition is that a pun is a play on words. (I found myself wishing that each of the verses here contained a pun: the book would then be like a puzzle, and even more of a fun learning adventure than it already is. But I imagine it’s not always easy to create a good pun . . . though bad ones are enjoyable too, so, hey, it’s worth a try! Here’s one to get you started, courtesy of a familiar nursery rhyme: Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle / The cow jumped over the moo-oo-o-oo-oon . . .)