How to Write a Talent Show Poem
by Bruce Lansky

When I perform Robert Pottle’s hilarious poem, “The Kindergarten Concert,” (which is about the juvenile behavior of kindergarten kids which wrecked a concert they put on for their parents) I play guitar and sing the poem to the same tune as this jump-rope song:

    Miss Lucy had a baby. (A-3)
    She called him Tiny Tim. (B-3)
    She put him in the bathtub, (C-3)
    To see if he could swim. (D-3)

So when I wrote a new poem about the funny performances of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at a talent show, I used the same rhythm and rhyme pattern that Robert used in his poem about kindergarten kids and I hummed the same silly tune to help me hear the rhythm:

    -three da DUMs with an extra da at the end in the 1st and 3rd lines—
    (da DUM da DUM da DUM da)
    -three da DUMs without an extra da at the end in the 2nd and 4th lines
    (da Dum da Dum Da DUM)

The ABCB rhyme pattern tells you that the last word in the 2nd line (Tim) and the last word in the 4th line (swim) needs to rhyme.

Now that you have the rhythm and rhyme pattern and can hum the “Miss Lucy” tune, let’s get to work describing your talented classmates. Go ahead and list some of the kids in your class who can do some weird stuff:

    -Is there someone who sings much too loud?
    (Let’s call her Mimi or any name with two syllables.)
    -Is there someone who can wiggle his ears?
    (Let’s call him Will or any name with one syllable.)
    -Is there someone who can vibrate her eyes?
    (Let’s call her Jill or any name with one syllable.)

What other talents do your friends have? Is anyone double-jointed or flexible? Can someone burp the ABCs? Does someone’s violin give you headaches because it’s so squeaky? Can someone’s dog or cat do some funny tricks—like catching a Frisbee or hiding dead mice around in your living room?

Add them to the list and try to write some funny new verses (with four lines). The test of each new 4-line verse is:

    1) Can you sing them to the same tune?
    2) Do they have just enough syllables to fit the song?
    3) Do they have 3 da DUMs in each line?
    4) Does each 4-line verse have an ABCB rhyme pattern?

Here’s a Talent Show poem I just wrote to give you an example of what yours might be like. As you can see, it helps to have surprise ending.

    My Classmates Are So Talented

    Our class put on a talent show.
    I was the talent scout.
    Our talents were so awful that
    our parents all walked out.

    Will was wiggling both his ears
    He flapped them all around.
    He hoped to fly to Paris
    but, could not get off the ground.

    Mimi sang so loudly that
    we had to plug our ears.
    Even so, her shrieking left
    the audience in tears.

    Jill, vibrated both her eyes.
    But it was hard to see.
    When I got up close to watch,
    she gave a kiss to me.

    I’m planning the next talent show,
    while riding on the bus.
    We’ll ask our teachers to perform.
    They might be worse than us.

© 2015 by Bruce Lansky