Ferdinand the Bull

The other day, I ran across this poem in the October 4th edition of The Writer’s AlmanacI didn’t know the book The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf when I was growing up. But when I watched the movie The Blind Side several years ago, a very touching scene built around the story kept it in my mind. For the family in the film, the book was a beloved childhood memory.

One day at the library, I decided to take a look. It’s very cute–about a bull who doesn’t want to fight. He likes to sit among the flowers.

Anyhow, I liked the following poem:


The Story of Ferdinand the Bull

by Matt Mason

Dad would come home after too long at work
and I’d sit on his lap to hear
the story of Ferdinand the Bull; every night,
me handing him the red book until I knew
every word, couldn’t read,
just recite along with drawings
of a gentle bull, frustrated matadors,
the all-important bee, and flowers—
flowers in meadows and flowers
thrown by the Spanish ladies.
Its lesson, really,
about not being what you’re born into
but what you’re born to be,
even if that means
not caring about the capes they wave in your face
or the spears they cut into your shoulders.
And Dad, wonderful Dad, came home
after too long at work
and read to me
the same story every night
until I knew every word, couldn’t read,
just recite.

“The Story of Ferdinand the Bull” by Matt Mason, from The Baby That Ate Cincinnati. © Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2013. Reprinted with permission.



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Filed under Animals, Children's Books, Classics, Poetry

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