Dennis Lee was born on August 31, 1939, in Toronto, Ontario. His collection Civil Elegies and Other Poems was awarded the 1972 Governor General's Award, one of Canada's highest literary honors, but Lee continues to be best known for his collections of cleverly-rhymed children's verse. Wiggle to the Laundromat (1970) was written for his daughters, and like much of his writing, drew upon his experiences as a parent. His other books of poems for children include Alligator Pie (1974), one of the best-selling Canadian children's books of all time; Nicholas Knock and Other People (1974); Garbage Delight (1977); and Jelly Belly (1983). In much of his work, he uses Canadian place-names, local cultural idiosyncrasies, and environmental issues to try to communicate a sense of national identity, but his poems have proven popular among English-speaking audiences all over the world.
Thinking in Bed
I'm thinking in bed, Cause I can't get out Till I learn how to think What I'm thinking about; What I'm thinking about Is a person to be-- A sort of a person Who feels like me. I might still be Alice, Excepting I'm not. And Snoopy is super, But not when it's hot; I couldn't be Piglet, I don't think I'm Pooh, I know I'm not Daddy And I can't be you. My breakfast is waiting. My clothes are all out, But what was that thing I was thinking about? I'll never get up If I lie here all day; But I still haven't thought, So I'll just have to stay. If I was a Grinch I expect I would know. But I don't think so. There's so many people I don't seem to be-- I guess I'll just have to Get up and be me.
From Alligator Pie, published by Macmillan Canada, 1974. Used with permission.