Site icon Liesl Garner

Monkeys Flinging Poop, Friends Visiting and other Poetic Adventures

“Not Cool, Robert Frost!” It has been all the rage on the internet, at Ted Talks, on the Late Night Circuit – all over the place. If you have not yet seen The Pep Talk, by Kid President, please, go see it now. I will wait.

My kids and I have watched this so many times, we have it memorized. We have gone on to watch countless other Kid President videos, because they are laugh out loud hilarious and inspiring. The kids get a chuckle, I get tears in my eyes, and my face hurts from smiling.

Somehow, this week, the whole idea of Poop keeps circling. I’m not proud of that, but I do live on a farm, and there have been several To Do’s on my list this week, to clean out poop from one area, sweep poop out of the goat yard, clean out the chicken coop, take the rabbit poop and spread it around plants in the garden, because it can be used as fertilizer immediately. In the early mornings, before everyone wakes up, I’m out there shoveling poop, and thinking of all sorts of things that make me laugh.

There was the time, when Michael was in high school (he is 25 now and getting married here next weekend), and was given the Poetry assignment to gather poems by any poet he wanted, and bring them to class and talk about them. He chose Robert Frost, and included in his three poems one about Monkeys flinging poop against a wall.

I was quite certain that the Robert Frost I know from the literary world never wrote anything of the sort.

Michael countered that it was written by a poet named Robert Frost. It may not be THE Robert Frost, but it was, in fact, a poem, written by Robert Frost. There was a twinkle in his eye, that I missed in that moment. I can see it so clearly looking back.

I remember being furious that he would make a mockery of poetry – even though he knows how much I love poetry. But because I made a big deal of it, he couldn’t back down. This was how we did things. He would stand his ground, until I realized I was choosing a battle poorly, and I would end up in tears, bringing a bowl of ice cream for each of us so we could sit on the front porch and silently, calmly, make up.

This week, Ben (my 9-year old) had his friend up from California. They have been great friends since they met in Kindergarten. We moved to Oregon at the end of the summer before First Grade, and they have written letters, visited, taken train rides to see each other, talked by phone, sent intricate homemade pop-up heart cards all the way through the end of Third Grade. It was a magical few days to have her here.

They baked cake and decorated it, we danced down a rose-lined walkway with the cake to eat it under an ivy-covered trellis with a picnic table underneath. We played in the water at Lithia Park. We made Purple Pizza. We did Tie-Die and romped all over the place with our homemade shirts. She helped all over the farm, getting to milk a goat, bottle-feed a baby cow, hold bunnies, hold baby chicks (and name one). We played board games long into the night, and then stayed up late watching movies until all the kids passed out.

One of the movies they wanted to see Again was A Knight’s Tale. In horrid British accents, they kept repeating one of the earliest lines in the movie, “The spark of his life is smothered in shite.” They laughed, and howled. She thought it said Poop, but I said it was actually a more Olde English term of Shite – which means the same thing. They thought this was hilarious.

On our way to one of our activities, they sat in the back of the car repeating that line and howling laughing over and over and over again. I suggested that each time they said it, they should try to use a different accent, or funny voice. I sang it in an Opera voice. We said it high, we said it low, we said it loud, and quiet, and British, and slightly more difficult British, and Southern, and Dark, like The Addams Family might say it – all spooky and breathy.

And I realized that after all that drama about Monkey’s Flinging Poop, I have learned a thing or two. If one of my younger sets tries to turn in something like that for an English Assignment, I will probably let it fly, and see what the Teacher Says. If she questions my parenting, I will explain that we delight in all manner of ridiculous at our house.

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