Friday, August 23, 2019

DMC: "The Show Must Go On" by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes


Darrell Miller

Today I'm contributing to a collective celebration of the life and work of Lee Bennett Hopkins with an original poem inspired by a line from one of Lee's poems.


Thomas Hawk
The Merry-Go-Round Horse
    by Lee Bennett Hopkins

The merry-go-round
       horse has a tear in its eye
left by the spring rain.


From The Sky is Full of Song (Harper & Row, 1983)





The Show Must Go On
          for Lee, by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

The carousel horse
has a tear in its eye.
No fairy floss wants to be spun.
Flowers are wilting,

curtains are drawn,
jugglers say they are done.

The dreamers felt helpless,
chose not to believe it—
"It's just an illusion!" they cried.
But words had collected,
trembling in corners,
afraid that The Muse had died.

They hoped for a rainbow—
a sign or a vision
of what their future might be,
when along came a child
who picked up a poem
and eagerly started to read.



My poem was also inspired by Jesse Anna Bornemann's ditty challenge to use selected words from a well-known song. And because I'm not very good at keeping secrets, here's the song that helped to inspire my words. Feel free to sing along with Kermit. It might make you feel better—it did for me.




The winner of last week's giveaway for a signed copy of Once Upon a Twisted Tale, by Gayle C. Krause, illustrated by Caroline O'Neal (Clear Fork/Spork, 2019) is...

MARGARET SIMON Congratulations, Margaret!


Only one week to go for this month's challenge to write a poem inspired by song lyrics. Click HERE for full instructions, and to post your poem for the challenge. Don't miss the new contributions this week by Donna JT Smith, Cory Corrado, Kathleen Mazurowski, Carol Varsalona, and Molly Hogan; and join us next Friday for a rockin' end-of-month wrap-up celebration!


For more tributes to Lee Bennett Hopkins, visit this week's celebration of his life, words, and works, hosted by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm. #DearOneLBH

51 comments:

  1. I'm excited to be the book giveaway winner this month. You are such a wonderful children's poetry cheerleader. Your poem is a cheer for Lee. I love how you used the song and wove it into something new and true.

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. Glad to have you on that poetry cheerleading team, too! With Lee gone, we'll need as many as we can get.

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  2. Dear Michelle,

    Appreciations for this sublime carousel ride.

    Lee's words + your poem are a bitter sweet echo for me.
    Just yesterday I read an article by a niece of Lee, who wrote so lovingly of her memories of many times riding the carousel with Uncle Lee at the Rye amusement park. She remembers that he was like a child again, on those carousels. I squeaked when I saw the carousel horse & felt his Spirit here at Today's Little Ditty this AM, our Friday 23 August, collective Poetry Friday celebration of #DearOneLBH.

    Yours is the first I've read. Off now to the others with wishes that we all enjoy a carousel ride soon. (My closest is more than 3 hours away in St. Augustine... alas.)

    love

    Jan
    Bookseedstudio

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    1. So nice to hear, Jan! Thanks for sharing about Lee's niece's recollections. xo

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  3. Ahhhhh, perfection. Perfection in this poem craft and capture of the spirit we so dearly miss. Well done, Michelle. And, this poem could only have been written with great love. I came to TLD for some inspiration for my celebration & remembrance post. Thank you for being that for me too.

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  4. This is absolutely lovely Michelle; the ending is a perfect tribute.

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  5. Wonderful, M. Really well done! I am going to miss Poetry Friday this week due to college move-in exhaustion. xo

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    1. Thanks, T. :) I appreciate you stopping by despite the college craziness!

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  6. Michelle, Rainbow Connections is a wonderful song to lift spirits. "The Show Must Go On" is a beautiful tribute to Lee and the ending lines are a fitting line. Well done! PS: thanks for the shoutout for my August ditty response. I appreciate it.

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    1. Thanks, Carol. Growing up and even now, Kermit has always been a mood lifter for me!

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  7. Such a lovely poem, Michelle. And such a great tribute!

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  8. Michelle, you've done such a beautiful job with this poem. Through grief and sorrow, hope arises, and so fittingly, with a child picking up a poem to read. I imagine Lee would have so enjoyed that ending!

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    1. Thanks, Molly. I like to imagine somehow Lee is able to appreciate it from wherever he is.

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  9. Beautifully said, Michelle...Lee would love it.

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  10. Oh, that ending, "along came a child", Michelle! It shows the true journey that Lee's poems and collections will continue to make. Thanks for sneaking in 'The Rainbow Connection", too, ever a smile for everyone.

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    1. I firmly believe Kermit can brighten anyone's day! Thanks for the kind words, Linda.

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  11. This is so beautiful. And so true. The thousands of children who will read Lee's poems today and years to come will keep his incredible, wise, rollicking show alive for generations. You chose one of my favorite of Lee's poems, and where you went with it moves me. Happy Poetry Friday. Here's to the show! xx

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    1. Oh! I'm so glad you love that poem, too, Amy! THE SKY IS FULL OF SONG is such a small little collection, but I just adore it. xo

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  12. Michelle - so, so touching. The end of your poem was perfection. The gift of Lee and so many children’s poets, will just keep coming ♥️

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    1. I agree, Vicki! In that way, Lee will always be with us.

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  13. Love this poem, Michelle--especially that third-no-longer-hidden stanza. Thanks for the poem...and Kermit!

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    1. Yup, I decided to ditch the invisible ink. ;) And of course you're a Kermit fan, Buffy! I could have guessed that.

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  14. Your poem is so beautiful and heartfelt. You've captured the sadness and joy in the crazy circle of life. Thank you so much for the link to The Rainbow Connection. It is the perfect companion song for today.

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    1. Isn't it? I got choked up reading many of the Lee tributes, but Rainbow Connection? That has me in tears every time. (They're good tears, though.)

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  15. No spring rain, but there is a tear in my eye. Thank you, Michelle.

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  16. Well, that ending made me smile broadly - and I believe somewhere Lee is smiling at it, too. Beautiful choices, Michelle, and such a touching tribute. XO

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    1. Thanks, Robyn. I hope you're right about Lee smiling, too!

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  17. What a beautiful tribute poem, Michelle. The ending really touched my heart. Absolutely perfect!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. As I thought about Lee, this was one of those poems that mostly just wrote itself.

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  18. That poem with that ending - sublime! A lovely tribute.

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  19. Thank you for this gorgeous post! Combining Lee's words of inspiration with Kermit's was brilliant, Michelle! Your final lines are perfect, and listening to The Rainbow Connection was the perfect way to begin my day!

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    1. I appreciate the kind words, Catherine. Kermit is my go-to picker-upper. He's very accommodating that way. :D

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  20. Your poem is like one that's always been there, waiting for you to set it on paper–it has a timeless feeling to it. I love these lines:
    "But words had collected,
    trembling in corners,
    afraid that The Muse had died."
    And your ending breathes light and life, lovely, thanks Michelle

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    1. Thanks so much, Michelle. And you're right! I DID feel that way— that the poem more or less wrote itself.

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  21. I love this poem and its tribute. Wonderfully done. <3

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  22. That ending is just perfect--I love that child/those children continuing to read poetry written and collected by Lee.

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    1. That's the best "happily ever after" that any of us could ask for. Thank you, Kay.

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  23. "They hoped for a rainbow." Don't we all? I hope you find many rainbows, Michelle. I think LBH would have loved this.

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    1. Thank you, Diane! If not many rainbows, at least a Kermit or two would be nice. ;)

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  24. Michelle, you have captured so much of how this thing called writing works: the essential alchemy of living on beyond one's years of walking the planet, of passing on the rainbows and making those connections. Perfectly lovely.

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    1. Oh, I love that, Heidi — "passing on the rainbows and making those connections." I think I need that on my business cards. :D

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  25. Michelle, there are so many layers to this poem. I love that it is a tribute to Lee, has elements of "The Rainbow Connection," and also feels like an elegy.

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