Resources on poetry by the poets themselves

We Must be Polite

WE MUST BE POLITE
(LESSONS FOR CHILDREN ON HOW TO BEHAVE UNDER PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES)

1.
If we meet a gorilla
what shall we do?

Two things we may do
if we so wish to do.

Speak to the gorilla,
very, very respectfully,
“How do you do, sir?”

Or, speak to him with less
distinction of manner,
“Hey, why don’t you go back
where you came from?”

2.
If an elephant knocks on your door
and asks for something to eat,
there are two things to say:
Tell him there are nothing but cold
victuals in the house and he will do
better next door.

Or say: We have nothing but six bushels
of potatoes- will that be enough for
your breakfast, sir?

CARL SANDBURG

Classroom Tip: This nicely conversational poem by Carl Sandburg(1878-1967) is another excellent model to use in stimulating children’s writing. The combination of imagination and colloquial speech will be perfect for your class. Ask the pupils to imagine different creatures knocking on their door and different ways of greeting them- rude or polite.