We read a Shel Silverstein poem in my Creative Writing class. This class is all about observing the techniques of other writers trying to find our own styles. I had always loved reading Shel Silverstein when I was younger, Falling Up was one of my favorite books. I was really excited when one of my classmates chose to read it for his presentation. The poem he chose goes like this:
Runny’s Garty Pames
When Runny Babbit’s cirthday bame
They all played a gillion mames–
Side-and-Heek and Beek-a-Poo,
They played Mouse and Harbles, too.
They obbed for bapples, then they played
Fo Gish, Rin Gummy and Mold Aid,
Hing of the Kill and Mind the Fonkey,
Pin the Dail on the Tonkey,
Guck-Guck Doose and Fapture the Clag,
Bin the Spottle, Tacks and Jag.
They played Scophotch and Crab the Grown,
Brondon Lidge Is Dalling Fown,
Kan the Cick, Toe-Tac-Tic,
Rops and Cobbers and Stick-Up Picks.
And when they all were wired and teak,
They played a game called Fall Asleep.
After his presentation, we discussed the technical qualities of the piece including its rhyme scheme and patterns. It was the last few questions some classmates brought up nearer the end of our conversation that really got me thinking. How are we able to read this poem? The human brain can read words as long as the first and the last letter are in place, the rest of the letters can be all scrambled up. However, in this poem the first letter is swapped with the word next to it, so we have to slow down to read it instead of relying solely on the word’s phonetic appearance. We are forced to read slowly until we catch on the the rhythm the author has created and once we do catch on we can start to pick up our pace a bit. Then we end up reading the last line as ‘Aall Fsleep’ instead of how it is written as ‘Fall Asleep’. The last line is the only one in the poem to be written correctly. One interesting reasoning as to the last line being correct that was observed was that the poem could be narrated by the mother of Runny Babbit and by the time the party is all over she is too tired to keep up with their game of switching letters that its is said normally.
Just an interesting reflection into a childhood poem.