Erica H.

May 1, 1999

Post #838 – 19990501

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

I am an author and poet, and have been since I was four (I’m seventeen now.) Your books have always inspired me. Okay, the nice part’s over. I’m not going to insult your cigar (although I do disapprove of it) but I am going to question your generalization that kids shouldn’t write rhyming poetry. As evidence I submit The Ballad of Noah’s Ark and the Fishes, which I wrote as a high school freshman:

The Whales and the Dolphins, the Stingrays and Sharks
Were quite unconcerned with the building of Arks.
When the Heavens declared that the flood-rains would fall,
They counter-declared, “We aren’t bothered at all!”
A Camel walked into the Ark, then another,
And two Flying Squirrels who hated each other
(But later were forced into matrimony
Whilst Sea Turtles smirked up at them from the Sea.)
Two Seagulls arrived, drawing laughs from the Whales.
(They’d almost mistakenly chosen two males.)
The Swordfishes giggled, the Sailfish guffawed
And the entrance of Chickens brought sneers from the Cod.
The Flying Fish leapt through the air in their mirth
When ten feet of rainwater flooded the Earth,
But a young Moray Eel took a gulp and cried, “Ish!
We can’t live in this, we’re the Salt-Water Fish!”
The Creatures who generally lived in the Ocean
Became overcome with remorseful emotion.
They begged for assistance at starboard and port:
“You’ll all be to blame if our lives are cut short!”
Despite all the ruckus from Deer and Gazelle,
Who felt that the Fishes could all go to Hell,
and the Rhinos who cried, “It’s their own bloody fault!”
Noah dumped over a truckload of salt.
The Freshwater Fish were offended and cried,
“Hey Eel! Keep your salt on your own bloody side!”
But somehow they managed to get through the flood
And the ship was at last washed ashore in the mud.
When the Dove flew to Noah and gave him her Leaf,
No one concealed their tremendous relief,
But the Animals felt a bit Predatorish,
And that’s why so many Land Creatures catch Fish.

That poem was a finalist in the College of Saint Catherine’s Emerging Writers Contest, a competition for juniors and seniors, and I think it’s a very nice poem if I do say so myself. But then I’m not an average kid. I’m an extraterrestrial. I know that because when we read The Muffin Fiend my dad made us gorgonzola muffins as a joke, and I loved them.

Sincerely, Erika H.

Daniel replies:

Nice poem. I quit cigars a year ago. I said that kids shouldn't write rhyming poetry? You sure? I can't believe I said anything that dumb. Well, actually I can, but I hope I didn't. Anyway, I deny I said it, and if you can prove I did, I retract it. You probably are an alien. At least you appreciate gorgonzola. Millions don't.