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May 31, 2007 | HARMLESS UNTRUTHS

A borrowed poem

My niece Brighid interviewed me for school and then integrated some of the results into a poem for my birthday. I hope she won’t mind that I share it here. It’s so interesting to see what my niece and nephew know about me! A lot of it is stuff they picked up from my sister, who of course has known me my whole life, but only really spent a lot of time with me when I was a youngster, so her kids know all these funny stories from when I was really little.

I am impressed by this poem — it is mostly factually accurate (though I haven’t been to Australia, and I don’t really speak Spanish) and I am always a sucker for eccentric rhyme schemes.

Here it is:

My uncle�s name
is Jeff, and he plays
without much fame
guitar every day.

For thirteen or fourteen
years he�s done
a good guitarist he�s been,
he thinks it�s fun.

Jeff was raised in a family of eight
He was the middle son.
They all lived in the Old Line State,
His favorite sibling? He couldn�t choose one!

When Jeff was just a kid
He�d play with his 5 siblings in the yard.
Adventures from cartoons were what they did,
I wonder if thinking of plots was hard.

When Jeff was five or six, he
was at his grandma�s house.
He knocked over a potted plant, and he
must have wanted to run like a mouse.

His grandma came into the room and
looked at the mess�that was bad!
her carpet was full of soil, and
boy, did that make her mad!

Jeff�s brother Greg, when Jeff was small,
said the Black Pudding would come.
It lived under the porch and next to the wall,
so away from the porch Jeff would run.

Dungeons and Dragons was a game he would play,
the characters weren�t made for you.
He worked on his character every day
and decided to name him Fahoo.

When Jeff was small, he was scared of flies,
though he saw them every day.
Because when he saw them he would cry,
he got a block labeled Magic Bug Spray.

When Jeff was in school, he liked to do plays.
His first role was an ant.
Memorizing lines took him just a few days,
But remember them now, he can�t

Jeff likes to write on his blog
He post about current issues.
He has a roommate with a dog
His allergies make him need tissues.

Jeff likes to eat
not hot dogs or ham,
but carrots and beets
and certainly not spam!

Jeff speaks three languages from somewhere else,
Spanish and Polish and German,
There isn�t a reason for him to speak Welsh,
but I think it�s better than Russian.

Jeff has done lots of interesting things,
He�s climbed a volcano� geil! *
That would be awesome, but unless I got wings,
I think it would take me a while.

In Guatemala, Jeff wanted to go
see what it was like at the beach.
Jeff got very frustrated, though:
the beach wasn�t easy to reach!

Finding no path, Jeff hired a car,
The search by himself might have taken him days!
Even though it was probably not far,
They had to use a raft across a lake part of the way.

Jeff lived in Poland for two years,
he worked at a Polish school.
He made English make sense to the student�s ears
And he learned that ekstra means cool.

Poland, Guatemala, Holland and Germany
Lithuania and France
Canada, Slovakia, Australia and Hungary,
He�s gone everywhere he�s had the chance!

The place Jeff has traveled that is the most far
Is Lithuania, for a break.
It was only about 8 hours by car,
It was a nice trip for him to take.

The place that interested Jeff the most
Was Paris, the capital of France.
He went with a friend from Germany�s coast,
I�ll go there, when I have a chance!

Jeff has traveled
The most by far.
Strange that only he
Has no car!

The most influential thing for him is the cell
Phone, is has taken us far.
It�s an invention that connects people well,
You can call them wherever they are.

When Jeff was a kid, he read everything.
He liked fantasy the best.
He still reads a great big selection of things,
Fantasy as well as the rest.

When Jeff was in school, he liked English a lot
Reading was what he did best.
But even so, believe it or not,
He wanted to be a scientist!

Jeff plays a mean guitar,
That doesn�t have a name.
Though he might want to be a star,
Right now he doesn�t have much fame.

On the 18th of this May,
Jeff will be turning thirty.
Perhaps he will play his guitar that day,
or perhaps he will be wordy.

Jeff lives a busy life
in our country�s capital city
It has caused me strife
to write that in this ditty!

*geil�cool. (German)