Tag: poem

I Only Like People Exactly Like Me

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I only like people exactly like me.
I never like people like you.
I’m not fond of people like him or like her.
I dislike all those people too.

The people I like are like me to a tee.
They look and they sound like me too.
They talk like I talk, and they dress like I dress,
and, clearly, they do what I do.

You probably think that I’m picky and rude.
You may think I’m sad and alone.
And normally you would be perfectly right,
but, lucky for me, I’m a clone.

–Kenn Nesbitt

When Daniel Went Dancing

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When Daniel went dancing that night at the fair
he leapt on the stage with his arms in the air.
He ran back and forth at a neck-breaking pace,
then back-flipped and cartwheeled all over the place.
He jumped like a jumping bean, bounced like a ball,
careened off the ceiling, and ran down the wall.
He flew through the room with an ear-splitting scream
till, shaking and sobbing, he ran out of steam.
The witnesses watching could see at a glance
that Dan had invented some new kind of dance.
They cheered and applauded. They gave him First Prize.
They cried, “You’re a genius in all of our eyes!”
So now, just like Daniel, from Finland to France
they sit on a cactus to start every dance.

–Kenn Nesbitt

Pete the Pirate Wannabe

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He’s Pete, the pirate wannabe.
He’ll sail the seas someday.
But, first, he needs a little cash
to help him on his way.

He can’t afford a parrot.
He can’t afford a plank.
A peg leg’s much too pricey,
and ship would break the bank.

He cannot buy an eye patch.
He hasn’t got a hat.
He’ll never own a blunderbuss;
he’s much too broke for that.

A dagger’s too expensive.
He couldn’t swing a sword.
In fact, there’s only one thing
he’s been able to afford.

His shopping list is lengthy,
with loads of pirate gear,
but all he has are earrings
since they’re just a buck an ear.

–Kenn Nesbitt

How to Write a Funny List Poem

Shopping List

What is a list poem?

A “list poem” gets its name from the fact that most of the poem is made up of a long list of things.

Two famous list poems are “Bleezer’s Ice Cream” by Jack Prelutsky and “Sick” by Shel Silverstein. You will even find some of my list poems on poetry4kids.com, such as “My Lunch” and “That Explains It!

These are not the only list poems, though. Many children’s poets have written fun list poems, and you can even write your own. This lesson will show you how.

The structure of a list poem

List poems usually have a list in the middle, plus a few lines at the beginning and a few lines at the end. You can think of the beginning and end of a list poem like the top and bottom slices of bread in a sandwich. The list is like the meat or peanut butter or whatever else is between the bread. Picture it like this:

Beginning
List
List
List
List
Ending

List poems often rhyme, and they are usually funny. If you look at poems like Shel Silverstein’s “Sick” or Jack Prelutsky’s “Bleezer’s Ice Cream” you will notice that the lists also include very unusual items. Putting strange, unexpected, or exaggerated things on your list is a good way to make your poem funny.

Getting started

Here are two easy ways to start writing a list poem:

1.  Start with someone else’s beginning and end, but make your own list in the middle.

2.  Start by writing a list of your own, and then write your own beginning and end to go with the list.

You can decide for yourself whether it will be easier to write your own list poem from scratch, or to use someone else’s poem as a starting point.

Starting with someone else’s poem

It’s okay to use someone else’s list poem as the starting point for your own poem. (Just be sure to say your creation was “Based on…” the poem you used.) For example, here is my poem “That Explains It!”:

That Explains It!

I went to the doctor. He x-rayed my head.
He stared for a moment and here’s what he said.
“It looks like you’ve got a banana in there,
an apple, an orange, a peach, and a pear.
I also see something that looks like a shoe,
a plate of spaghetti, some fake doggy doo,
an airplane, an arrow, a barrel, a chair,
a salmon, a camera, some old underwear,
a penny, a pickle, a pencil, a pen,
a hairy canary, a hammer, a hen,
a whistle, a thistle, a missile, a duck,
an icicle, bicycle, tricycle, truck.
with all of the junk that you have in your head
it’s kind of amazing you got out of bed.
The good news, at least, is you shouldn’t feel pain.
From what I can see here you don’t have a brain.”

Notice that this poem begins with the four lines that set up the story, and ends with four lines that make it even funnier. You can use the same beginning and end, if you like, while putting your own list in the middle.

For example, what would the doctor find in your head? Since this list has rhymes at the end of each line, you can start with a few rhymes, like this:

house
mouse
cat
hat

Once you’ve got a few rhymes, you can add as many items as you want, like this:

“I also see something that looks like a house,
a monkey, a meerkat, a mink, and a mouse,
a laptop computer, a boat, and a cat,
an old pair of glasses, a coat, and a hat,

Of course, you don’t have to use my poem; you can use any list poem you like to create your own new list poem, or you can even create one from scratch.

Starting with your own list

If you prefer to write your own list poem from scratch, one easy way is to figure out what you’re going to make a list of. For example, you could make a grocery list, a list of things in your backpack, a list of your favorite sweets, a list of things you want for Christmas, and so on.

Let’s try it with a list of sweets. First let’s try to think of candies and sweets that rhyme.

Nestle’s Crunch
Hawaiian Punch
Dots
Zotz
Tootsie Pops
Lemon drops
Whoppers
Gobstoppers

Now that you’ve got some rhymes, put them into a list, adding a few more items to make the lines each about the same length:

A half a dozen Nestle’s Crunch.
A gallon of Hawaiian Punch.
Some Cracker Jacks. A box of Dots.
Some Pop Rocks and a jar of Zotz.
Reese’s Pieces. Tootsie Pops.
Hershey Kisses. Lemon drops.
Candy Corn, Milk Duds, and Whoppers.
Skittles, Snickers, and Gobstoppers.

Once your rhyming list is done, give it a beginning, an end, and a title and you’re all done.

My Shopping List

My mother said, “Go buy some bread,”
but this is what I got instead.

A half a dozen Nestle’s Crunch.
A gallon of Hawaiian Punch.
Some Cracker Jacks. A box of Dots.
Some Pop Rocks and a jar of Zotz.
Reese’s Pieces. Tootsie Pops.
Hershey Kisses. Lemon drops.
Candy Corn, Milk Duds, and Whoppers.
Skittles, Snickers, and Gobstoppers.
When mother needs things from the store
She never sends me anymore.

And that’s all there is to it. Now it’s your turn. Make a list of animals, friends, monsters, games, foods, places you’d like to go on vacation, or anything else you like, and see if you can turn it into a funny list poem of your own!

New Video – My Brother’s Not a Werewolf

It’s time once again for a new animated video. This one is of my poem “My Brother’s Not a Werewolf.” With fun, bouncy music by Sergei Stern and awesome animation by Stephan Krosecz, I hope you’ll enjoy watching this one over and over. If you like, you can even click on the “CC” (closed captioning) button to read along as you listen to the poem.

Electronic Christmas

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I asked for new gadgets for Christmas.
My list was a hundred lines long.
I figured I might as well try it.
Why not? I mean, what could go wrong?

My parents bought all that I wanted:
An iPod, a big-screen TV,
a camera, a laptop computer,
a Playstation, Xbox, and Wii.

I got a new Kindle, a smart phone,
an RF remote-controlled car,
a robot, a video camera,
a brand new electric guitar.

But those things were just the beginning.
This Christmas, I had such a haul,
it took me all morning, and then some,
to finish unwrapping it all.

A hundred new gadgets to play with.
I couldn’t be bothered to wait.
The moment I plugged them all in, though,
it blew every fuse in the state.

If you’re spending Christmas in darkness,
and can’t play your video game,
I’m sorry for all of the trouble;
it’s probably me who’s to blame.

I know now I shouldn’t be greedy,
so, next year, I think you’ll be fine.
Instead of a hundred new gadgets,
I’m asking for just ninety nine.

–Kenn Nesbitt

A Reindeer for Christmas

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Dear Santa, this Christmas my list is quite small.
In fact, I need practically nothing at all.
My list is so short and so easy to read
because there’s just one thing I actually need.

A reindeer for Christmas is all I require;
a reindeer, of course, who’s an excellent flier.
I really don’t care if it’s Dasher or Dancer.
I’m okay with Cupid or Comet or Prancer.

Please don’t think I’m greedy; I only want one.
You won’t even miss him, and I’ll have such fun.
I promise I’ll feed him and treat him just right,
and take him out flying around every night.

You see, I’m not selfish. So for my surprise
this Christmas, please bring me a reindeer that flies.
But if my request is a bit much for you,
I guess that an iPod will just have to do.

–Kenn Nesbitt

I Named My Dogs the Strangest Names

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I named my dogs the strangest names,
not simply “Spot” or “Rover.”
Instead I named them “Fetch” and “Stay”
and “Here Boy” and “Roll Over.”

Not “Lassie,” “Patch,” or “Fido.”
No, instead they’re “Shake” and “Crawl”
and “Turn Around” and “Take a Bow”
and “Come” and “Wave” and “Ball!”

I gave them these abnormal names
to see what they would do.
I thought it would be fun but,
sad to say, that isn’t true.

And now I’m sort of sorry for the
crazy names I used.
My dogs cannot do any tricks;
they’re all just too confused.

–Kenn Nesbitt