Well

Mark Twain, Hart Crane,
and Ursula K. LeGuin”
We've mastered their books with a difficult trick:
We've read them outside in.

Percy B. Shelley and Machiavelli
and Norman Vincent Peale”
We've never tried opening one of their books.
We know them by their feel.

Does reading seem boring? Does reading seem hard?
Does reading seem too ferocious?

Then pick up a book and just give it a twirl.
You'll learn it by osmosis.

Because

Osmosis is the mostest.
Osmosis is the best.
Osmosis is the closest thing to reading without rest.

Osmosis means absorbing.
Osmosis means so much.
Osmosis means we're soaking up the books we barely touch.

Harriet Beecher Stowe,
and Henry David Thoreau,
and Daniel Defoe,
and Jacques Rousseau,
and, oh,
hundreds of others we know”

We bobble, bounce, and throw them.
We never even look.
Osmosis means we know them without opening a book.
You know

My sister osmoted The Mill on the Floss ,
a wonderful book, and gave us a gloss:
concerning a man named John Stuart Mill
with terrible teeth that made him quite ill.
Why”oh, why”wouldn't he floss?

My brother osmoted The Lord of the Rings ,
a story of insects with thousands of wings”
or was that a book called Lord of the Flies ?
Oh well, we're getting wise
by learning the things that osmosis now brings.

We'll juggle the books Little Women and Men
(they're all about dwarves in a mountainy den)
and throw in a copy of Watership Down
(concerning a boat and some sailors who drown),
and then”we'll run to the bookstore again.
But first

Let's have a lesson from Doktor Derzenna,
who comes here today all the way from Vienna
to teach us the meaning of difficult things:

“Ach, vell, now ve begin”

Osmooosis , zis ist meaning
zat vhen two zings are leaning,
ze one into ze other tries to sneak.

Ze liquid on ze right,
zrough membranes overnight,
vill to ze left most definitely leak.

While coming here I sat
on dictionaries fat
und learned all zis by riding on ze book!
But if you have neurosis,
mine genius ist hypnosis.
You vill mine eyes most deeply into look.”
Ummmm

Neurosis, hypnosis, psychosis, meiosis :
lovely words, in their way.
Cirrhosis, necrosis , and also thrombosis :
pleasing, but harder to say.

And atrocious prognosis of misdiagnosis
for aches of precocious sclerosis
but words will find their apotheosis
remains the great osmosis .

We boast! We boast!
Osmosis is the most
phenomenal way
to read today
while eating jam and toast!

We shout! We plead!
Osmosis we will need
for playing jacks
and munching snacks
and dancing while we read!
So

Rebecca West and Edgar Guest:
We'll never be certain which one is the best.
Christopher Smart and Jean-Paul Sartre:
Just think of the wonders they have to impart.
Poets of genius like Julia Moore
and William McGonagall call for a roar.
William Shakespeare”Edward de Vere:
The difference isn't entirely clear.
John Donne and Thom Gunn:
Osmoting them both is a gallon of fun.

Somerset Maugham and L. Frank Baum,
Josiah Royce and James Joyce,
John Bunyan and Damon Runyon,
Graham Greene and Molly Keane,
Tom Paine and Ed McBain,
Ring Lardner and John Gardner,
Alice Munro and Arthur Rimbaud,
and, oh, hundreds of others we know.
Because

Osmosis is the mostest.
Osmosis is the best.
Osmosis is the closest thing to reading without rest.

Osmosis means absorbing.
Osmosis means so much.
Osmosis means we're soaking up the books we barely touch.

We hold them to our noses.
We brush them with our clothes.
We're learning by osmosis when we tap them with our toes.

We pile them on the table.
We slide them on the floor.
We stack them into stairways and we climb up for some more.

We bobble, bounce, and throw them.
We never even look.
Osmosis means we know them without opening a book.