Friday, September 7, 2012

panda down the rabbit hole

Huh.  There are not a lot of panda poems out there, I find.  I just felt like I wanted to continue on from Tuesday's post, so I went searching and found a whole panda-poem competition for children (and isn't that post and blog such an illuminating look at all the English-language literature there is outside the US of A?)

I also found this, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation website.  It makes me feel both unsettled and roundly content, to be so in on all the "jokes."

And as in Alice | Mary Jo Bang

Alice cannot be in the poem, she says, because
She's only a metaphor for childhood7
And a poem is a metaphor already
So we'd only have a metaphor

Inside a metaphor. Do you see?
They all nod. They see. Except for the girl
With her head in the rabbit hole. From this vantage,
Her bum looks like the flattened backside

Of  a black and white panda. She actually has one
In the crook of  her arm.
Of course it's stuffed and not living.
Who would dare hold a real bear so near the outer ear?

She's wondering what possible harm might come to her
If  she fell all the way down the dark she's looking through.
Would strange creatures sing songs
Where odd syllables came to a sibilant end at the end.

Perhaps the sounds would be a form of  light  hissing.
Like when a walrus blows air
Through two fractured front teeth. Perhaps it would
Take the form of a snake. But if a snake, it would need a tree.

Could she grow one from seed? Could one make a cat?
Make it sit on a branch and fade away again
The moment you told it that the rude noise it was hearing was rational thought
With an axe beating on the forest door.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. Perhaps we'll be surprised by another panda poem!


  1. Hi, Heidi. I love following the flow of logic in this poem. My big question is -- in poetry -- when a rabbit hole appears as you're writing a poem, what makes a poet decide to follow it, rather than staying with the intended topic? So often, going down the hole is when surprises happen in the poem.

  2. Very interesting! I too love that I actually "get" what the author is hinting at. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Oh, I like this! And not just because it plays with the surreal nature of Alice's adventures. Thanks, Heidi!

  4. Ha1 I love it! I'll never be able toi think of Alice going down the rabbit hole in qite the same way again!

  5. The line about the cat: I'm guessing that's because the Chinese word for panda is xiong mao, which means "bear cat." I based my Panda poem on that fanciful fact, too. (Take a look; it's posted at my site!) BOOBAM: love it!!

  6. Pandas are adorable! Will look into that panda poem competition. Thanks for sharing this lovely poem. I enjoyed its references to Alice in Wonderland. I especially loved the last verse, with the image of the Cheshire cat floating in my head. Have a fun-filled weekend, Heidi! :)

  7. I love, "Who would dare hold a real bear so near the outer ear?" Alice maybe?

  8. Love how that panda poem plays with my head! Great read.

  9. That's quite a rabbit hole of a poem!

  10. Who would dare hold a real bear so near the outer ear?

    Love the way this sounds! Great find, Heidi!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!