Monday, January 5, 2009

Flimmering Floom

Every year on Christmas eve my kids open up one gift. Every year that gift is a book. Some people do pj's ... cute, but expensive and I had a feeling that by age 10 my boys would be resistant to matching night clothes. Others do ornaments for the tree. Another cute idea, but I have too many ornaments to hang them all up as it is! So instead, I choose to give books.

This Christmas eve, Nate received a book of poetry. So every night since, we've been reading a poem or two (or eight) from his book. It's a fun way to snuggle up together before bed.

Tonight one of our selections was a poem by Carl Sandburg: On A Flimmering Floom You Shall Ride. It reads like this:

Nobody noogers the shaff of a sloo.
Nobody slimbers a wench with a winch
No higgers armed each with a niggle
and each with the flimdrat of a smee,
each the inbiddy hum of a smoo.

Then slong me dorst with the flagdarsh.
Then creep me deep with the crawbright.
Let idle winds ploodaddle the dorshes.
And you in the gold of the gloaming
You shall be sloam with the hoolriffs.

On a flimmering floom you shall ride.
They shall tell you bedish and desist.
On a flimmering floom you shall ride.

I read those words and at the end I sort of let out a low "Mmmmmmm." Honestly, it read like gibberish to me and I had no idea what I had just read. But as I started to turn the page, Nathan says, "Momma, read that one again. It really speaks to me."

So, we read it again. It made no more sense to me the second time through, though my seven year old son tells me it is a poem about not messing with pirates. I guess I'll just have to trust him on this one!


  1. Paige:
    Just thought you'd like to know: Carl Sandburg wrote this poem because his friend and colleague, the poet Archibald MacLeish, had been nominated for the position af Assistant Secretary of State and consequently had to appear before a Senate committee in order to get clearance. During his testimony, he was asked to explaining the "meaning" of his poems. This question seemed so ridiculous to Sandburg that he wrote "Flimmering Floom" to express his contempt for the government mentality.

  2. How interesting! Thanks for sharing this story behind the poem with me ... I'm going to pass this along to Nathan, who still loves poetry and particularly finds great enjoyment from this nonsensical poem.

    Be blessed!