by Bruce Lansky
My mom brought home a violin
so I could learn to play.
She told me if I practiced hard
I’d play it well someday.
Without a single lesson,
I tried to play a song.
My fiddle squeaked, my fiddle squawked.
The notes came out all wrong.
My little brother fled the room.
Mom covered up her ears.
My puppy dog began to howl.
My sister was in tears.
My dad pulled out his wallet.
He handed me a ten.
He made me swear I’d never play
that violin again.
Copyright © 1996 Bruce Lansky. From the book My Dog Ate My Homework. Meadowbrook Press. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Although I took clarinet and cello lessons for years and taught myself how to play the guitar in college, the violin is one instrument I never tried. My brother, Teddy, played the violin. He was undefeated in four years of high school wrestling and he was All-American in college too. He almost represented the U.S. in the Olympics, but he was defeated by the American who won Gold. So imagine this wrestler playing a violin. He had no interest, whatsoever, in music and when he played “Lightly Row,” he was so squeaky and off-key, me and my siblings prayed for a “miracle” to end our suffering. In my violin I imagine the day that a “miracle” occurred and brought his siblings’ suffering to an end. I love this poem and perform it in most of the schools I visit. I invite the audience to make sound effects (when the violin squeaks, when the brother runs away, when the dog howls, when the sister sobs, and when Dad pulls his wallet out of his pocket. Have fun!
Bruce Lansky was first called “the King of Giggle Poetry” by the students of a school in North Miami Beach, Florida whose teacher “kidnapped” Lansky and forced him to perform at her school at needle point. The title refers to Lansky’s popular website: Giggle Poetry and also refers to the third poetry book Lansky ever published: A Bad Case of the Giggles. Altogether he has written or edited 20 humorous poetry and song books which have sold about 4 million copies. He visits schools, because he loves hanging out with kids (unfortunately, his grandchildren live in Sweden, so he only sees them once a year).