by Kate Coombs
Seagulls remind me of beagles—
all that they think of is food.
Yet seagulls can soar through the sky
the minute they get in the mood.
And when seagulls take wing
they become a new thing,
attaining some dignity.
But beagles are round
and remain on the ground,
pretty much dignity-free.
Copyright © 2012 Kate Coombs. From the book Water Sings Blue. Chronicle Books. Reprinted by permission of the author.
I used to dog-sit a couple of beagles, and their love of food was astonishing. One of them once knocked over a big container full of dog food and ate so much he had to be taken to the vet and have his stomach pumped. (Not on my watch, fortunately!) As for seagulls, maybe you’ve seen them hanging around a school lunch yard like they used to when I was growing up in California. Like pigeons, only louder and more quarrelsome. I’m pretty pleased with myself for not only rhyming seagull with beagle in this poem, but for finding a logical connection between two creatures that seem so different.
Write Your Own Poem: When a writer compares one thing to another it’s called a metaphor, or sometimes a simile. When a writer goes on and on about the comparison, we call it an extended metaphor. What can you compare in a poem? Find two objects, animals, people, places, or actions that may not seem alike at first glance and find at least one strong way that they are alike. Then say how they are not alike! Try to write 6–10 lines. You don’t need to rhyme if you don’t want to. And, while this poem is kind of funny, your poem can be funny or serious.
Kate Coombs writes picture books, middle grade fiction, and poetry. She grew up in California near the ocean, where she used to boogie board with her brothers and sisters. She likes to step on dry autumn leaves and thinks frogs are really funny. Her first poetry book, Water Sings Blue, won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for 2012.
Having grown up near water…ocean, sound and bay and now living by a lake, Kate’s book spoke to me instantly. As a teacher her seagull/ beagle metaphor poem is terrific. On visits to family we will head to the ocean for a car picnic if it is sunny and cool. We open the sunroof and windows to enjoy the salty air and the roar of the waves. If we venture out to sit in beach chairs we must be in on guard. Those feathery thieves dive in from out of the blue and will take the sandwich from your hand if you are not alert. They have eagle eyes and some sort of signalling system for sure. Ifcyou are unfamiliar and drop something on the stand you will be instantky engulfed by a loud throng of birds! I love the beach, and seagulls from a distance and Water Sings Blue. Thanks Kate and Kenn.
Thanks, Janet! Now I want to go to the beach with you. :)