A Not-So-Nice "Tail"

 
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There was once a girl named Meg
that everyone in town thought was great.
She smiled and laughed
and put on a show
so the people would never guess.
How could they have known?
That underneath her grin
lay a monster within.

One summer all the people in town
were planning their annual celebration.
A yearly party about love and kindness.
A singing, dancing jubilation.
Meg volunteered to help.
She showed up early and left late
but when the town wasn’t looking
she was up to no good, 
plotting and scheming,
hiding behind her sweet face.

The day before the party
the town woke up to a shock.
The tents were crushed, the animals were loose,
the kids were crying, the woman were spooked.
There was trash blowing back and forth, up and down.
Everything they’d built had been burnt to the ground.

Well, as you can imagine the town was upset.
They had no idea what had happened. What a mess!
They started to argue about who had done it and what to do
when an old traveler came quietly wandering through,
“Pardon,” He said, “I heard your plight. 
I assure you, you can trust it will be alright.
I've traveled many places.
And, one thing I know for sure
is people that do wrong without a care are marked. 
You’ll know when you see it. It’s easy to spot.”

That made the people nervous. Who would it be?
The butcher? The farmer, the lady with the wooden knee?
The traveler spoke once more, “Just wait. You will see.”
The town’s people stood watching the traveler’s long baggy cloak
as he walked down the path till he was gone. 
What a strange day. How did things go so wrong?

As predicted, the very next morning, the traveler was proven right.
They learned the truth when Meg came happily strolling by –
 BUT she wasn’t the same as she’d been the previous night.
Meg had grown a long spiny monkey tail.
It had ripped through her pants and wrapped around her toenails. 
Though she tried to pretend it wasn’t there
everyone knew what she’d done and they stared.
She couldn’t hide this from them.
She was a faker, a betrayer, not a friend.

That night Meg grew fur all over her limbs
and her hands and feet became claws with nubby talons.
The town’s people pulled together to set the party back up.
but Meg wasn’t invited. She sat alone in a huff.

A few days more and Meg’s face went flat. 
Her nose slid right off. 
She grew warts all over her back.
She began walking on all four paws.
On top of her head grew three bumpy horns.
Big, lumpy horns that showed every flaw.

Now her outsides matched her insides.
There was no pretending anymore. 
At last, she shrank to the size of a bug.
And, all the people just forgot where she was.

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Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jenn Duggan. 

Word Party

 
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You’re invited to a word party!
Yes! I said it. A party for words.  
Because there is no party
like a word party. That’s for sure!

Yo!

Where are my geeks at?
Where are my copy katz?
Where are my rhymers?
and my grammar good-timers?

The guest list will be long.
So, you’re sure to get along
with a shortie or a verb-ie.
Don’t worry we’re all a little nerdy.

The vowels are coming – A, E, I, O and U.
I guess they’re bringing Y too.

THEN said he’d GO. 
Only if LET’S stays between them though.

THE, AND, ARE and YOU are almost always in.
GROW’s taking his time. He can’t move fast on any decision. 

But he'll come around
when UP says she’s down.
And, DOWN will show up with CREW
hoping TOWN will be there too.

I kid – but JEST,
the biggest clown of all, is up to the test.
He’ll have CROWDS rolling and LADIES will giggle,
He might be the world’s coolest underused one syllable.

Come for FUNK
or WORD, PLAY and JUNK.
MUSIC will be loud
but we’ll enjoy all the SOUNDS.
There’s nothing quite like when
ALPHABETS get down.

PENCILS are out.
SET is ready to go.

What’s that?

BEWARE just warned TENSION,
“It wouldn’t be smart to invite ORANGE to the show,”
She said, “The party would end before it started, you know...
because nothing rhymes with orange.”

Oh. 

Well, that’s ok. 
ORANGE is misunderstood anyway.
Just come have a good time.
Don’t stress about the rhythm and rhyme.
 

 

Beware The Sel-Fish

 
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There are all kinds of fish in the sea; 
blue fish and red fish,
shiny fish and plain fish,
fish that swim and fish that crawl,
fish that don’t look like fish at all.

But, if you ever meet one
that is enchanting on first sight
never makes waves or puts up a fight.
Beware its sweet watery speak
a flowing rhyme meant to make you weak. 
This fish is looking for a meal.
It will use its slimy sickly ways
to hook you without a reel.
And, that’s when it will happen.
From behind - a monstrous bite!
Because this fish is a hunter,
It’s only goal is to survive.
If you’re not careful you too will fall into the trap.
This Sel-Fish will have you for its dinner,
breakfast, lunch and snack.

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Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jenn Duggan. 

Little Gray Cloud

 
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Little gray cloud
I see you following me. 
And, that’s ok.
I invite you to come along.
I’m not afraid of your shadow.
I don’t mind your sad song.
I know you’re only here a short time.
So, I’ll enjoy the shade
till you’re no longer mine.

Little gray cloud
I see you leaving me. 
And, that’s ok.
I knew that this would happen someday.
I’m not afraid to step into the sun.
I won’t forget all that you’ve done.
And, until you return,
I’ll appreciate each happy thing
– each and every day
that your absence brings.

 

Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jenn Duggan. 

 

What's In A Scribble?

 
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There’s a doodle
in my scribble.
I’m not sure how she got there?

There’s a scribble
in my doodle.
She’s got eyes, a mouth and hair.

I wish she could talk! 
What would she say?
Would she tell me a story?
A scribble story
about scribble things?

She might sing me a scribble song
and then I could try to sing along?
Or, maybe she’d do a scribble rap
that makes my feet tap tap tap?

She might braid her scribble hair
while reciting a scribble poem
that makes no scribble sense.
Unless you’re another scribble
or a doodle that dabbles in squiggles.
Come to think of it...
I guess if she could talk I wouldn’t understand. 
Because I haven’t learned enough scribblish
to know just what she meant.

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Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jenn Duggan. 

Earless

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Hello, I am one of the earless.
Of course, I have ears!
Rather large ones too, but you see
it’s not about having, it’s about doing
and doing relentlessly.

Confused? Let me explain.

To start.
To be earless means you must be strong
and willing to be told that you’re wrong.
It means when you’re turned down or told no,
you try again and again til you’ve made it so.
It means you choose not to hear the won’t, don’t or can’ts.
It means you hope others will also take this stance.
It means you’ll keep doing what you love because it’s what you do.
It means you play make believe and sometimes dress up too.
It means you’re probably weird.
But, you know, weird is cool.
It means you’ll likely never grow up
because if growing up means staying the same,
then that’s not for you.
It means you know there’s another way.
It means you want to grow higher and higher every day.
And, to do that you have to keep trying,
keep doing, keep seeking, keep moving.
It means there’s no giving up even when the payoff is far.
It means you can do it, no matter who you are.

Because, if you can be earless,
Then, one day, you can also be fearless.
And, if you can be fearless,
you can be free.

Will you join me?

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Text and Illustration copyright © 2017 Jenn Duggan. 

Armadillos In The Sky

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Starry light you shine so bright.
Who do I thank for your glow tonight?
Is it the sky or perhaps the moon?
No?
It’s an armadillo crew.

An armadillo crew with a very tall ladder.
When a light goes out, they climb up to see what’s the matter.
From way down below on the surface
we never see them fulfilling this purpose.
But, they scuttle and they shuffle. 
They pidder padder to and fro
moving their ladders from light to light
making the stars twinkle so bright.

Why, you ask,
does an armadillo crew care
about the lights in the sky
and the brightness they share?

Well, some time, not so long ago, 
there lived a very lonely armadillo.
His name was Gerald. Gerald was very shy.
He lived in a small park in a small house on a hillside.
Gerald was alone and that made him sad.
He wanted a pal or even two wouldn’t be bad.
But, he was afraid to leave his small place
to look for a new fun friendly face. 

So, he stayed there and got grumpy and cold, 
never trying anything new, never doing anything bold.
Then, one night in his park a star fell from the sky.
To Gerald’s surprise, it landed close to his hillside.

“Hello, I'm Sam. I’m a star. What’s your name?”
“Gerald,” The armadillo said, “Look how far you came?!”
Gerald stared with wonder at the trail Sam had left in the sky.
“Oh, I’ve gone farther than that,” Sam said, “I like to fly.
But, now I’ve crashed. Could you help me get back?”
“Oh. No.” Gerald said, “I can’t. That’s a fact.”
“Please. Please put me back in the sky.
I know you can do it. Just try.”
“Even if I would, and I’m not saying I will,
how do I get up there? I can’t just stand on a window sill.”
“A ladder. You need a ladder,” said Sam, 
“One really tall ladder and I’ll be off again.”

Gerald thought for a moment, then a few more.
Then finally, “Ok, I’ll try, but it’s a long shot you know.”
The star got excited as Gerald began gathering wood
from all around his park, everywhere he could.
Every stick, log and fallen tree but there wasn’t enough
to make the ladder reach up where Sam needed to be. 

“It’s too short,” cried Sam, “Is there anyone you could call?”
Gerald shook his head not knowing what to do at all.
“There’s another park over there,” Sam said with a smile.
Could you see if anyone there would mind adding to the pile?"
This park was new and Gerald felt scared. 
He wanted to help but to go somewhere else, did he dare? 

There was no other way and Gerald couldn’t finish the ladder without more wood. 
So, he went. It worked! Soon, armadillos all around heard how tall his ladder stood.
They wanted to lend a hand too. A crew building day and night
made the ladder high enough to put the other stars in sight. 

Gerald climbed up first and his new friends followed behind
climbing rung after rung way up into the sky.
But when they got to the top,
they were in for a shock.
Sam couldn’t fly. 
The crash had put out all of his lights.
“The bulbs make me shine, the shine makes me go," 
Sam said, “Mine are out. So, now, I just don’t know?"

Gerald grinned, which was also something new,
“Don’t worry Sam, I know what to do.”
He climbed all the way down, went to the store,
bought some light bulbs and his new crew went to work.

They carried Sam up the ladder once more.
Sam shot into the sky. Oh, how he soared!
“Thank you! Thank you! You’ve saved me! You Have!"
Gerald and his crew felt pretty good about that.

“Glad to help Sam. You helped me too. 
I found friends and finally tried something new."
Sam beamed and said, “I have an idea! If you like,
you could come back to visit and help us stars stay bright?"

That sounded fun. Gerald really liked coming to space
and his friends liked building ladders down at his place.
So, they kept on building, replacing bulbs and making friends,
exploring the sky while they lit it up end-to-end.
All thanks to Gerald for facing his fear and being kind,
for caring about how much one star wanted to fly.
 

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Text and Illustration copyright © 2017 Jenn Duggan. 

The Land of Missing Socks

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I once lost a sock.
A sock that rocked.
A yellow and green striped pair.
One day Lefty just wasn't there.

The dryer was empty. The clothes had been shook.
The laundry was folded. I didn't know where else to look.
So, I set Righty aside and hoped for the best.
Maybe, someday Lefty would return to be with the rest.

Winter came and spring and summer days.
Then in the fall, Lefty appeared – Hip Hip Hooray!
Picking him up, I noticed his toe was worn thin
as though Lefty had danced on it every day, over and over again.

“I did! I’ve been dancing this whole time,” said Lefty The Sock.
What a surprise! He could talk!
“In The Land of Missing Socks, the socks dance & never get tired or sore.”
He bounced out of my hand shaking his heel across the floor,
“There, each song makes you happy, every new note makes you hum.
The harmony makes you move together as one.”
He headed for the door, “I like being your sock,  
but I can’t help it. I’ve got the need to rock.
I crave that long open floor with socks of all different threads.
A river of color bright and bare bobbing their heads.
It’s a simple trick to get there and to come back,
but I’m afraid you’re much too big to fit through the trap.”

Then, Lefty bowed at the ankle, slid down the stairs
and jumped into the dryer. I yelled, “Wait! Don’t you dare!”

Lefty giggled, “It’s time to say goodbye.
It was nice to see you one last time.
I just have one more thing to do
before I go back to the tunes.”
Lefty shouted, “Righty! Come on! Let’s go!
Sometimes a sock needs to be a pair, you know?"

I turned my head and saw Righty jump in.
By the time I got to the dryer he’d already hit Spin.
I never saw Lefty or Righty after that day,
but their story spread from sock to sock wherever they lay.

First one pair split, then a dozen more.
Until there were no socks left in my drawer.
It makes me smile to think of them dancing together.
I just wish sandals were made for cold weather.
 

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Text and Illustration copyright © 2017 Jenn Duggan.