We need them more than they need us, the Wild Things

i used to hang with them
on trees during the summer with
their hairy legs dangling cheerfully
while Piercing beetles
from the bark with pointed teeth– deliCacies,
sprayed with a bit of evening rain,

“don’t you beFriend with them” my mom
said, forehead wrinkled, “they don’t
do you any good”– Look–
she had no idea
how much i needed
to feel soft fur on my skin,
wild heartbeat under giant breasts
(just to adJust my own–)
and claw-spiked paws in
constant battle with the things that break

so easily– oh–
don’t YaGetMeWrong, they were
not always tender, sometimes mean like life
can be on dark days, those
that make you die or cry– or
allAtOnce– i

never had much use for phantasies
of princes on white stallions, rather go
with crazy monster-shout battalions
on a scary trip into the heart of blue
illuminated traffic signs
above a weird busy highway, spark
a firework by dis-connecting all the wires
wrapEmBack, the sirens
of police cars scrEEching–

“there is no such thing as fantasy
unrelated to reality”
says
Maurice Sendak– Beasts

without a burden,
we would rest
behind the moon with
chocolate (or vanilla) ice cream
in a tightly spun cocoon &
they couldn’t find the door– how-
ever hard they tried, this is
the magic
of these secret places, see– they’re
clothed in mystery just like
a childhood if you strip
the poor, the boring
and the painful things–
away

.

over at dVerse, we’re celebrating Maurice Sendak.. and Aaron Kent will be guest-hosting the poetics bar.. hope you gonna join us and bring all the monsters and Wild Things, you can find under your bed or in the cupboard…smiles…see you at 3pm EST 

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51 responses to “We need them more than they need us, the Wild Things

  1. Children do need a bit of ‘scary’ fantasy, I think, within their reality…before they return to the everyday. (Where the Wild Things are IS a wonderful kind of scary.) Fantasy monsters are most often not half as scary as the monsters that can inhabit real life. RIP, Maurice Sendak!

  2. dant you beFriend them…hehe…that gave me childhood falshbacks…i ran with a bit of an unruly crowd myself…my phatasies seldom had princesses in ball gowns, smiles…more like ripped jeans maybe…i really like your mash up phrasing, it works really well throughout…really wicked flow and a tight write c

  3. Hi Claudia – the internal rhyme is a lot of fun here, and the poem hops along. I agree with you re burdens – we do need them, I guess–though not so easy to shed even if we don’t! K.

    • Hi Claudia – I frankly thought this would be a very hard prompt but have had an interesting morning thinking about it! Not up yet (not quite finished, but something’s happening!) You did a wonderful job–have a very happy’s mother day btw. k.

  4. “there is no such thing as fantasy
    unrelated to reality” says
    Maurice Sendak, Beasts…”

    Hi! Claudia…
    I’m familiar with writer Maurice Sendak…Because my mother purchased me four Of his books which were 4 small books she discovered in a re-sale store…I think that your very beautiful poetic words captured his imagination…perfectly!

    Tks, for sharing his imagination…through your [very descriptive & reminiscing (Sp) ] poetic words…and I hope that you and your family have a very Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow.

    deedee 🙂

  5. This is great, Claudia. I especially like:

    we would rest
    behind the moon with
    chocolate (or vanilla) ice cream
    in a tightly spun cocoon

  6. Claudia as always beautifully pinned. If I have not had a place to rest without burden I’m not sure I would of make it through a reality gone mad.

    “I have nothing now but praise for my life. I’m not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more. … What I dread is the isolation. … There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.”…thank you Claudia and Maurice for giving us all reason to believe.

  7. I love that you’re celebrating monsters, beasts. They are around us and within us. And it’s best if we befriend them in our on-going childhood, because we need them.

    Always fun to read what’s going on in your imagination. And this one was prompted by someone a little like you I guess.

    Have a wonderful weekend. Happy Mother’s Day Claudia.

  8. Maybe this a bit besides the point, C … but your poem makes me think of Degenhardt’s: Do not play with the grubby children,
    do not sing their songs.
    Just go to the Upper Town,
    and be more like your brothers … 🙂

  9. Had to smile at this one, one of my friends who is a librarian at an elementary school gave me a large a Wild Thing foam rubber promotional cutout which sits atop my computer desk…encouraging me to write…quite enjoyed the poem.

  10. Yeah the imagination should run wild as it does with a child. But sadly we get stuck in the boring with ease, need a little more of the fake scary and not the real world kind.

  11. This poem not only sees you swinging with Sendaks Beast through the trees, but also discussing the importance of letting children have, engage with, and enjoy their own imaginative worlds which they are so adept at creating. I also really love the sentiment that you suggest- that there is a certain magic in the everyday things if only we can strip away the boring and dell elements that cloak it. To me, this means stripping away that adult view, because I don’t know why- maybe its because we understand more about the difficult side of life when we grow up, but we definately lose that childish excitement about things- I’d do anything to get it back….great poem Claudia

  12. This is a powerful piece about the stripping away of childhood, imagination, and magic. Just beautiful. These are my favorites:

    “i used to hang with them on trees”

    “she had no idea how much i needed to feel soft fur on my skin”

    “in constant battle with the things that break”

    “on a scary trip into the heart of blue”

    “without a burden, we would rest behind the moon with chocolate (or vanilla) ice cream in a tightly spun cocoon & they couldn’t find the door”

    “if you strip the poor, the boring and the painful things–away”

  13. Lovely poem, makes me think of all the times when I was younger and had mud clod fights with the monsters and my friends (although I still think my friends were the real monsters and vice versa).

    This poem really bought me back to my past – and even helped me imagine yours. Excellent.

  14. Just a trip back to a childhood day
    Find the lost pieces life’s torn away
    Loved your poem, Maurice Sendak certainly made an impression in so many of our lives!!

  15. I was never one for the knight in shining armor on a white horse either. I preferred to get down and get dirty playing in the mud… LOL
    Lovely read 🙂

  16. I love you more and more with every poem! This speaks to my juvenile soul…the one who refuses to let go of all the true beauty to be found, and the wild beasts to be discovered…all the scoldings I used to get (and, quite honestly, still do) A fantastic share!

  17. Maurice Sendak stories give children the hopeful message that there is a way back to safe-an- loved from all the scary places. I wish it were true.

  18. This poem captures beautifully the reasons I like Alice In Wonderland and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe so much.

    The idea that we can escape into our imaginations and have a ball in fanciful places.

    So sad to hear that new technologies may be harming kids imaginations!

  19. Oh I was never one for the sweet and nice as a child…I loved my monsters…and still do… I remember my dad taking me to see the opening of the Deadly Ernest laundromat…me sitting on his shoulders…it was a cool show on telly when I was very young where Ernest would emerge from a coffin to introduce the horror flick…don’t know what my parents must have thought…don’t know why but your poem reminded me of that moment…thankyou! 🙂

  20. That was certainly a sojourn into a secret world of those things that are supposed to be deadly or dangerous to us , yet in their own way they are part of the natural world we live in, fear alone sometimes stops us from looking at the beauty around us
    Beautifully written
    Aussie Ian aka Emu

  21. I so love the image of you in the trees with them! Your ending is so very revealing.

    “of these secret places, see– they’re
    clothed in mystery just like
    a childhood if you strip
    the poor, the boring
    and the painful things–
    away”

    Such a beautiful job with this poem, Claudia!

  22. “and claw-spiked paws in
    constant battle with the things that break”
    Fun! I like how a lot of the entries are so ugly/playful, fitting obviously.

  23. oh, and BTW, i can’t believe you didn’t say something about:

    patented monsters
    who march to their
    distinctive leitmotifs;

    (from my poem)

    I guess you’re not into Wagner??

    I mean, you get it? the music from the nutcracker, the monsters? the dance being a march, which of course, there are marches…and i’m mixing the french terms, with the German leitmotifs and the Russian ballet and the American Sendak!!! soooo you’re kind of thing…

  24. Beasts

    without a burden,
    we would rest
    behind the moon

    Strong stuff and beautiful as fantasy should be – in my opinion! – if we’re going to smear reality with it.

  25. You go to the heart of the fuzzy line that demarcates so much about reality and imagination. I think you have put a lot of your experiences in here, real experiences, as well as the creative that turns so much experience into survivable reality. There’s a moral here, which tells us that being afraid of the monsters and not realizing how much they are us will often have dire consequences and issue in ourselves becoming more terrible monsters. Courage is knowing what to fear and what not to fear. Taking on the monsters in our lives requires that we understand that some things be feared but only the real monsters, not the make-believe ones.

  26. “rather go
    with crazy monster-shout battalions
    on a scary trip into the heart of blue
    illuminated traffic signs”

    Yes, Claudia, how true! No more Prince Charming on horses to rescue the damsel You’ve brought reality back to our senses. The scary monster thing is the vogue with kids and their touchscreen games

    Hank

  27. Very nice…and G.K. Chesterton said it about dragons, and I think it holds for all monsters, children need to know not just that they exist (they already do) they need to know they can be defeated or tamed!

  28. Ha this is great – like your own poetic version of Where the Wild Things Are. Really like these lines:

    “never had much use for phantasies
    of princes on white stallions, rather go
    with crazy monster-shout battalions”

  29. this is just brilliant claudia. captures the wonder of sendak’s wild things, and the title… i couldn’t agree more. we all need to find the wild thing inside of us.

  30. What a wonderful picture you have created. Spending time with the wild things helps shape us and make us who we are. Lovely Tribute!

  31. At the point we give up imagination for technology, or a living wage, for lent, we are lost children. Thanks for the invitation to return to NeverNever Land.

  32. Extremely worthy poem in honour of Mr.Sendak, Claudia. He would be so proud. And yes, I KNOW I need the wild things, for they truly understand me!

  33. As a child I was always fascinated by the creepy crawly things but as I grew that faded away so I can relate to this poem very well.