Breaking News: The University of St. Thomas has been renamed St. Dylan Thomas University of Poetry!
Okay, okay. April Fool’s Day was four weeks ago. St. Thomas Aquinas’ place in our hearts and on our letterhead is secure.
But you still do have time to celebrate to National Poetry Month. Sure, you may have missed this year’s O’Shaughnessy Irish Poetry Award winner, Theo Dorgan, last week, but there are still opportunities on Thursday. Not only could you hear St. Thomas students, staff and faculty read their favorite poems at the annual Poetry on the Patio event at the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center, but you also could participate. Go to www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/409 and choose a key word. You will have your own personal poem to carry in your pocket, pull out occasionally and read to anyone who will listen on Thursday. (In my case, that will be my dog.) Andy Leet, administrative assistant in the Department of English, forwarded me the idea from Erika Scheurer, English faculty member.
The keywords can give you a surprise result. Andy picked WADE. While I pictured fish nibbling at bare toes in warm creek water, the poem featured jellyfish and barnacles. My first choice, SHOE, gave me an Ezra Pound poem too bleak for me to carry around. So, I cheated and chose PIE; there was no cake. This is what I got (just in case Tootsie won’t listen) …
“IF THE WORLD WAS CRAZY”
If the world was crazy, you know what I’d eat?
A big slice of soup and a whole quart of meat,
A lemonade sandwich, and then I might try
Some roasted ice cream or a bicycle pie,
A nice notebook salad, an underwear roast,
An omelet of hats and some crisp cardboard toast,
A thick malted milk made from pencils and daisies,
And that’s what I’d eat if the world was crazy.
If the world was crazy, you know what I’d wear?
A chocolate suit and a tie of éclair,
Some marshmallow earmuffs, some licorice shoes,
And I’d read a paper of peppermint news.
I’d call the boys “Suzy” and I’d call the girls “Harry,”
I’d talk through my ears, and I always would carry
A paper umbrella for when it grew hazy
To keep in the rain, if the world was crazy.
If the world was crazy, you know what I’d do?
I’d walk on the ocean and swim in my shoe,
I’d fly through the ground and I’d skip through the air,
I’d run down the bathtub and bathe on the stair.
When I met somebody I’d say “G’bye, Joe,”
And when I was leaving –then I’d say “Hello.”
And the greatest of men would be silly and lazy
So I would be king … if the world was crazy.
– Shel Silverstein
Perfect for a woman with Imelda Marcos tendencies, a weakness for dessert and a willingness to cheat on the poem in her pocket.