For those of you who aren’t aware of this, April is National Poetry Month. I know this because a friend of mine is a poet and celebrates it every year, and also because Georgia Writers Museum always has poetry-related events during April, whether it’s an open mic night for poetry readings, a “Meet the Author” event featuring published poets, or a contest for students asking them to write a poem – or submit their favorite poem, along with a paragraph explaining why it’s their favorite.

Separate from – but related to – National Poetry Month is the March 2 birthday of Dr. Seuss, which the Museum also celebrates, including being a sponsor for a “Seuss on the Loose” Festival that takes place every year.

Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite authors and poets, and I appreciate his work even more as an adult than I did as a child. Over the years, I’ve written several Seuss-style poems for different occasions, including an invocation for a conference that had Oh, the Places You’ll Go! as the conference theme, and a speech, titled “My friend, Teddy Geisel,” for a Toastmasters Tall Tale Contest, in which I told the story of growing up next door to Theodor Geisel, which is Dr. Seuss’ real name. I didn’t win the contest, but I took it as a compliment to my writing that someone later asked me if I really grew up next door to Dr. Seuss. (I didn’t.)

One of the reasons I love Dr. Seuss so much is that hidden in his clever rhymes and made-up words  and worlds, he had powerful messages about many things, like caring for our planet, not being afraid to try new things, and accepting other people and their differences.

In honor of National Poetry Month, and Dr. Seuss, I wrote a few lines about what I think he might have thought about the world today. I hope they put a smile on your face:

With so much going on in this big world today
We’re so serious now, taking no time to play.
We have so much to do: we must rush, we must hurry,
And goodness—we’ve so many reasons to worry!

The war, the pandemic. Anxiety, sorrow,
The fear that the world may end sometime tomorrow.
No wonder we’ve gotten to such scary places
That frowns overcame all the smiles on our faces.

I think Doctor Seuss would have shaken his head
And replied, “We should all work together instead.
Let us stop all this screaming and shooting and slapping.
Let’s cheer on each other by whooping and clapping.

By building them up, and not tearing them down.
Our foes become friends. And then peace can be found!”
When all of that happens, I’ll say this out loud:
I know that our friend Doctor Seuss would be proud.

Happy Poetry Month!

April 3, 2022
©Betty Liedtke, 2022

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