Poet's Choice

By Robert Pinsky
Sunday, December 9, 2007

Eminent poets sometimes write poems to please children. Theodore Roethke (1908-1963) succeeded, with poems that are short, funny, well-rhymed and respectful of the reader's intelligence:

The Sloth

In moving-slow he has no Peer.

You ask him something in his ear;

He thinks about it for a Year;

And, then, before he says a Word

There, upside down (unlike a Bird)

He will assume that you have Heard --

A most Ex-as-per-at-ing Lug.

But should you call his manner Smug,

He'll sigh and give his Branch a Hug;

Then off again to Sleep he goes,

Still swaying gently by his Toes,

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