Poetry Friday: “A Sliver of Liver”


This afternoon, while her mother was having her conference with her teacher, a first grade student came into my room to say hello. We chatted for a few minutes, then she looked around and said, “It’s kind of messy in here.” Out of the mouths of babes, right? I told her I agreed, it was kind of messy. But the mess is really organized chaos on top of shelves and shelves of books. I have a terrible time getting rid of books. And even though I did manage to shed a few when I moved into a smaller space over the summer, I still have a lot of books. Is that really such a bad thing?


I don’t think so. Because so many of those books are treasures that are now out of print. Including Poem Stew, “a feast of hilarious poems about food” selected by Kenneth Cole and published by HarperCollins in 1981. This book was a favorite of my third graders, but I don’t use it too much anymore as I work mostly with first graders. This year, I see a group of fourth grade students and needed a poem for them with -er endings. And I found just what I was looking for in my well-worn copy of Cole’s rib-tickling collection.

“A Sliver of Liver”
by Myra Cohn Livingston

O sliver of liver,
Get lost! Go away!
You tremble and quiver
O sliver of liver–
You set me a-shiver
And spoil my day–
O sliver of liver,
Get lost! Go away!

Of course the kids loved this. When one girl said she wouldn’t eat liver if her mother served it for dinner, another student immediately noticed that “dinner” had an -er ending. Then they were off, thinking of other words and coming up with ideas with their own foods they wish would “Get lost!” They’ll be writing poems about these foods next week. Stay tuned for the results!

Please be sure to visit Brenda Davis Harsham at Friendly Fairy Tales for the Poetry Friday Roundup.


9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “A Sliver of Liver”

  1. My guiding principle is that books, in stacks or otherwise, aren’t messy. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I love that you can find just the poem you need in your oop books 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with Tabatha’s stance! Also, Livingston’s poem is definitely the perfect -er mentor poem–full of examples and fun! I always loved when I could find a poem to complement or enhance our word work activities! Looking forward to reading your students’ poems. Perhaps you’ll find another mentor poem among them. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t know how I missed your post, but love hearing about your ‘messy’ office. My stacks are everywhere at home, too. I try to think about organization but now that I do “know” where most are, it would completely mix me up. I have Poem Stew and a few other foodie poetry books, have used them in the past for writing inspiration. Thanks, Catherine!

    Liked by 1 person

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