ANNOUNCEMENT: Because this post has attracted so much interest, I’m leaving it up again today. If you would also like to contribute a couplet, scroll down to August 21 and post it there. DH
The challenge for quick couplets brought a ton of wonderful responses. Top prize goes to Jane Yolen who has sent out a plea for help with her “textually transmitted” malady. I posted a 12-step program to help her but she doesn’t much think it will work. Not that I want it to anyway. We need her!
Another stalwart contributer to the couplet fun was none other than our U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis. To take it a step further, yesterday Pat sent me an idea for the next challenge. It’s a little something he calls FIRST LINES, BOWDLERIZED. Here’s how it works. You begin with a famous line, one that is generally recognizable. For example, “Whose woods these are I think I know,” (Frost); “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan,” (Coleridge); or “The time you won your town the race,” (Housman).
Then, as Pat calls it, “It’s off to the races with nuttiness.” He supplied examples that were published in the journal, LIGHT QUARTERLY, Fall/Winter 2008. All rights belong to Pat so I’m posting these with his permission.
Whose words these are I think I know.
They’re owned by Edgar Allan Poe;
His shadow’s standing in the gloom
To watch his words fill up with woe.
Get the idea? Here are two more.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A second-mortgage duplex see
Through some bizarre installment plan
Devised by early sub-prime man,
Unearthed by AIG.
The time you won your town the race
We cheered…then slapped you in the face!
Because your speed, as never seen
Before, was methamphetamine.
So now you have the latest challenge. Write a FIRST LINES, BOWDLERIZED poem and share it with us. I won’t bother to say you have to do this quickly. I tried one to see how it works and it did take a while. But here it is, a takeoff on a famous poem by Omar Khayyam.
The Pickled Finger wrote; and, having writ,
Realized: Red Wine had dulled its Wit,
Nor new sobriety could change a Line,
Nor all its tears wash out a Word of it.
Ready? Set? Go!
Twas briling, and my slimy toes
Did in the little tide pond wade,
Whilst all about the crabs did go
And of my flesh a meal they made.
“Beware the crabs,” my mom had warned,
“The jaws that bite, the claws that pinch.
Beware the tide pools where they live
For they will eat you, inch by inch.”
And pinch by pinch and inch by inch.
And through and through that very day,
They tore me into little bits
Though I tried hard to get away.
They brought me to their mathom hall
And strung me up with chitinous chains.
Still bits of me did get away
And clogged up all the city’s drains.
And every time it rains, my bits
Rattle in the under-town
And revel in the fact that they
Were all of me that went to ground.
–Jane Yolen says that J. Patrick Lewis
is an evil man and forced me to write this,
which means Rev Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll
will never speak to me should we meet in Heaven
(if there is a Heaven and should we two actually
be lucky enough to get there.)
This is so clever. I love the part about ‘clogged up all the city’s drains’. Well done! 🙂
Jane, this is brilliant. It is questionable if the good Rev. Dodgson would talk to you anyway. I understand that the dear man, a mathematician, had a terrible problem stuttering and this poem was written as an oral exercise to help him over some of the difficult sounds he had trouble having his mouth make. It was also why he practiced telling oral stories to young children. Since he couldn’t be married and keep his job, he had no children and borrowed the children of the head master at Christ Church College.
Ah, Jane, if the good Rev passes you without speaking, cross it off to jealousy and go sit with Pat. Thanks for getting us off to a glorious start today!
This cannot hold a candle to Jane, but here goes. Apologies to THE RAVEN.
Once upon a midnight dreary
Old man pondered weak and teary
His mind, alive with youthful theory
With the Sunrise, left him cheery.
Hip hip hooray for Cory! Way to set the pace. Between you and Pat we’ve done old man Poe up right! Thanks for jumping in!
Who’ll be next?
And therein lies the rub…
Within the tub
Cause down the drain
Go joy and pain
The merry team descend.
I wonder where
Below the air
My skin cells flow
I cannot know
They flow and plant
The seeds to ants
‘Til seedlings grow again.
I think exists that which I see
when in fact invisibility
is real as me!
Thank you Shakespeare!
Jeanne, I’m sorry to be away for these past few days but this afternoon I’ve read and enjoyed all these delightful efforts. Thanks for being a part of it!
This is all I’ve got, in draft:
TO THE SAILORS, TO MAKE MUCH OF LIMES
GATHER ye mollusks while ye may,
Old Crust is off and sailing:
And this same sailor that sings today
Tomorrow will be paling.
The wondrous power of citrus, the lime—
The god of Vitamin C—
Stands ‘twixt him and his waning prime…
(Nearer my god to thee.)
‘Tis time to seize the plumpest fruit,
While youthful vigor reigns;
Before the fever, nasty brute,
Makes oatmeal out of brains.
So be not stupid, but slice those limes
Lest your health be topsy-turvy:
Eat key lime pie a hundred times
Or you may die of scurvy.
–by Renee, after Robert Herrick
Thank you, thank you very much. I’ll be here all night. 🙂
Renee, what a hoot! I should have asked you to write the introduction to my pirate book! If my key lime pie loving son reads your poem, I’ll be doomed to eat the them for the rest of my life.
Give Me Your Tired …
Give me your tired views,
Your unsubstantiated truths,
Your relative significance.
Give me your subjective sight
Your perspectives in the light
Your points have dominance!
I think……………. you see.
And we prevail: we’re worthy!
Together, brings us confidence!
Not proof or opinion or estimation
No prevailing evaluation;
But belief held in benevolence.
We two… we understand each other!
Sonnet 43 ½
How do I love me? Let me count the ways.
I love me from my head to toes, from ear to ear,
from rump to nose. I love me in the afternoon,
I love me in the evening gloom. I love me freely,
purely, surely—but most of all—oh, so demurely.
HA! Brava. 🙂
Julie, Ms. Browning would surely blush with pride. Well done!
Thanks, David–this was fun!
You people! I can’ even go trim shrubs and leave you alone for two hours. Bravo to this growing crop of wonders by all you word wizards out there. Keep them coming!
Off to another meeting. Sigh.
Blogger! Blogger! burning bright
In your basement up all night,
What intense sililoquy
Could claim thy fearful Mac, PC?
In what Cloud or internet
Will you eager readers get?
What choice views will you espouse?
What the hand, dare seize the mouse?
(Abundant apologies to Mr. Blake and his Tyger….)
Tee-hee! Guilty! At this very moment…though, at least, I’m not in the basement… really fun, Robyn!
Thanks, Renee – and in honor of your juicy contribution above, I’m gonna go eat an orange!
Wahoo, Robyn, brilliant–though even funnier if you say “in Ma’s basement. . .”!!!
Ha ha! Love that, Jane. And Renee recently got me all crazy for Jabberwocky again; thank you for starting today’s adventure with such a delicious, terrible feast of a poem.
Er–did I iss something? I thought I wrote the Jabberwocky poem! I know my brains are swiss cheese these days. (Would rather have a Swiss account, but. . .there’s no accounting for taste.)
Robyn, I read this when you posted it and ground my teeth in envy for the great fun you were having while I was packing boxes. You had me with the first two lines!
No, I was replying to your reply, Jane – just mentioning that I had recently rekindled my Jabberwocky love from Renee’s video not long ago. Your brains are quite intact!
Don’t worry, Jane, you DID write the Jabberwocky poem! A couple months ago I did a performance of it on video, and that’s what Robyn is referring to. Though I think your version would be a hoot to perform, too!
Here’s another before bed:
Parsley pains me;
tomato paste smears;
egg yolk stains me;
and onions cause tears.
Garlic is sticky;
beef, I can’t carve;
leeks are icky;
I might as well starve.
–by Renee, after my pal Dorothy Parker (“Resumé”)
Renee shoots again. She scores again! Wow, am I impressed.
Jane (and thanks all for the explanations about Jabberwocky)
Wow, Jane, thank you. High praise indeed. 🙂
Another delight, Renee. I love all those feminine rhymes. So much in keeping with Dorothy Parker.
For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
Sweetly beam as twin orbs of Gaia,
Will he find her in time or therein seduce with lies
Upon the trumpeters snare her call is dearer
‘Tis music clear and loud that holds his measure
Inclined a troubadour or knightly threat
She can hold his heart as eternal treasure
The harmony – the tones! Do not duet
Unless compelled aloft to boast melodic favor
For song is jubilant but love is fraught
Hymn and notes might undo without harsh labor
If only she could transcend his lines of thought
Transcribed upon the olive branch she’s now hearing
Ears dainty and eyes affixed to hear anew
A symbol and phrases oft spoken those endearing
Of composers eloquent waltz or lullaby subdue
In notes and lyrics naturally complying
Like Nina Simone’s In The Morning, Oo!
Still a valid form to entice — Lyrical Rhyming!
You will not hear the riddle, though you do the best you can do.
–Annalisa, after Edgar Allan Poe’s A Valentine
I am impressed by the quality of these responses to my invitation. Thank you for working on such a complicated poem and doing it justice. Poe can rest comfortably.
(with apologies to John Keats)
By Steven Withrow
Season of tests and yellow schoolbuses!
Facebook friend of the smartphoning sun;
Conspiring with him to download and text
Such fruitless lines that round the weblinks run;
To send joke e-mails to WiFi-ed PCs,
And fill all screens with blankness to the core;
To spell all words in caps and LOLs
On LiveJournal; to try blogging more,
And still more; later hours, worker-bees,
Their multiplayer games will never cease,
For Torpor has understim’d their neural cells.
–Original is here: http://www.potw.org/archive/potw279.html
Excellent, and all the more so if read side by side with the original. Cheers!
Steven, you never disappoint. No need to apologize to Mr. Keats. What a thoroughly modern take off. You give us the new student world. Thanks for sharing.
And one from me:
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening
(Bowlderized by Vikram Madan)
Whose woods these are I do not know
The bank foreclosed them long ago
My Ponzi scheme is in arrears
I’m out on bail and laying low
My little website had no peer
The suckers came from far and near
“Buy bits of woods and quickly make
The largest returns of the year!”
The more I paid the more I raked
But my success was my mistake
I couldn’t help but stop and weep
When Feds denounced me as a flake
My trial is lonely, dark and deep
But I have skeletons to keep
And files to shred before I sleep
And files to shred before I sleep
Robert Frost’s original can be found here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171621
What fun. And do you all know that the original (and this one too) can be sung to the tune of Hernando’s Hideway”?”
Thanks for the tip, Ms. Yolen. I did not know that – but now I do 🙂 . I’ll have to try it (in the shower, of course, when no one’s listening) 🙂
Jane – Oh dear, now you’ve awakened the musical theater beast that lives within me…
Vikram — Brava! Love the skeletons and the “files to shred before I sleep.” Well done!
Jane! Now everything I write is going to sound like Hernando’s Hideway. Ack!
I’m so glad you have been joining us lately. This special effort makes a great addition to the collection. I love that last stanza!
One more before I call it a night (over here on the West coast). I think I’m stuck on Mr. Frost today. This one, based on The Road Not Taken, was a fun poem to produce in that I made the most minimal number of changes to the original poem (the third stanza is entirely untouched).
(Note: The title is an important part of this poem)
The Ogre’s Meal
Parody by Vikram Madan
Two toads emerged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not gobble both
And be one gobbler, long I stood
And looked in one as far as I could
And smelled it’s scent in the undergrowth
Then took the other, as just as scowled
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was warty and smelled more foul
Though as for that the passing fowl
Had fouled them really about the same
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back
I shall be telling this with a cuss
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two toads emerged in a wood, and thus –
I took the one more odorous
And that has made all the flatulence.
The original poem is here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173536
I hear ya about the hiatus, Vikram. I’m just getting back to poetry after a couple of decades, myself, AND just discovered David’s blog, too. He’ll be making a guest video appearance on my blog on September 10, so don’t miss it. This guy is funny!
Vikram, I just visited your blog and delighted in your cartoon, which fits your poem so perfectly. Thanks for letting us know.
Vikram, I laughed aloud at this too. How I would love to hear you read this. You need to be recorded. The last line is priceless.
Hmm … Good idea – It’s a thought to ponder dreary, someday when not weak and weary, and not napping, mind a-lapping, all this quaint-begotten lore…
Oh, I should have mentioned – no video, but I did create a little illustration for the version of this poem that I replicated on my blog. Feel free to take a peek if you’d like to: http://www.1000poems.com/2012/08/993-toad-not-taken.html
Oh Vikram–I was eagerly reading along and marveling at your brilliance and found myself howling with laughter at the last line. (Does that make me a coarse and awful person?)
No more coarse and awful than I would be for the writing of it 🙂
HA! That last line is priceless, though I do also love your foul/fowl play. Bravo, Vikram! We haven’t met, but I just looked at your blog. What a noble task you’ve set for yourself with 1000 poems! Please add your links to Poetry Friday each week so we can all enjoy your work. 🙂
Thanks, Renee! I definitely plan to be adding my links to Poetry Friday. I started writing poetry again this summer (after a hiatus of many years doing ‘other things’)(like, cough, cough, making a living 🙂 ) and was excited to discover all the poetry-related activity happening online. I’m really glad I stumbled on David’s blog 2 weeks ago – this is quite the happening place 🙂 .
Oh my, this little imitation elicited an excellent response. Kudos to David for allowing me to purloin his blog momentarily and to everyone who joined the party. By the way, I’ve given a name to the form: PARROT-Y (or, PARROTY?) And I have a children’s book under contract of Parrot-ies, due out in 2014. The three of mine quoted above won’t be in it, of course. Too adult.
Well, gosh darn it, Pat, why didn’t you make it an anthology instead — especially considering the havoc you’ve wrought here. A book of adult parroties, perhaps? 🙂
Good morning, Pat,
Thanks for the kudos and for the challenge that has prompted so many delightful Parrot-ies. I wish I could add another one or two so I selfishly left this going today too. I need to be away nearly all day but hope to find a bit of time late in the afternoon. If not, I’ll just go on loving it all from the sidelines.
Alas, Renee, getting a book of light verse published in the U.S. is twice the Sisyphean task as getting a children’s book of poetry accepted. But please don’t let me discourage you!
Haha, yeah…somehow I already knew that! Perhaps it could be the ebook we spoke of… 🙂
Good morning everyone! Wow! Went to bed last night with 24 poems posted, got on line this morn to find 43! Your muses are BRILLIANT!
I incorporated the FOUND poem (using the abundant crop of couplets) with J.P. Lewis’ new form. Hoping you don’t mind, here goes- My SILLY Muse
“The time has come, David,” she said
“To couplet many ‘thinks’:
Of lines—and Brits—and love of queues –
Why pick up lines–hot- they are not-
And whether rhymes be silly-quicks.”
Oooops! For such a short poem, so many THANKS.
Lewis Carroll, David Harrison, Renee Latulippe, Jane Yolen, Don Barrett, and J.P. Lewis- I thank you.
Cory, reading all these treasures from top to bottom has kept me happily engaged for quite a while this afternoon. I’m sorry that I missed out most of Saturday and Sunday but I’m glad to see still more good work pouring in!
Well, Cory got to “The Raven” first, but here’s my opening verse:
Once upon a midnight dreary…
Sheesh, this poem makes me weary.
I prefer a subject cheery:
say, the plague or hara-kiri.
Ha! Ha! – there’s a touch of Dorothy Parker in this one!
Ooh, I love being in the same sentence with Dorothy Parker–and I love your parodies, Vikram!
Wow, you’re right about the Dottie likeness, Vikram! Now I can picture Marilyn muttering “What fresh hell is this…?” 🙂
So glad to see your deft hand and humor here! Thanks for joining in the fun.
What a fun feast! I see no one’s Muse slept last night, and more are waking up today. Hats off to all.
One more, and asking forgiveness in advance from dear EMILY (and readers):
I heard a Flea buzz – when I tried –
To nap in the Still Room
Snapped my tail at the Stillness in the Hair –
Between my Flank and Side –
My eyes around – my prey I spied –
And Growls were gathering firm
For that quick Onset – when my Kingly teeth
Be witnessed – CHOMP – in the Room –
I almost did that one, Robyn, but am glad I didn’t! Excellently well done. 🙂
Spell all the spells, but spell them slant—
That way true magic lies.
No wizard can ward off your spell
Or they’re in for a surprise.
No counter-spell will serve them well,
Not even in blood signed,
For Lightning will speed from the sky
And strike each wizard blind.
Based of course on my favorite Emily Dickinson poem
Ooh…spooky. I think this is “There’s a certain slant of light,” or is there another…?
Nope. . .
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant–
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.
Jane….channeling dear Emily. A note, y book The Emily Sonnets (Creative Editions) is just out.
Ah, yes, lovely – thanks for the clarification!
Well done, Robyn! We’re giving some of the old guard the royal treatment. Too bad they couldn’t have joined us. I wonder who they might have parroted?
I can’t help myself. These are like truffles. Here’s another, from one of my all-time favorites…
THE MIME OF THE ANXIOUS FOREIGNER
Spaniards, Spaniards, everywhere
And yo no hablo a word;
Signing, signing in the air–
theater of the absurd.
The very pangs began: ¡Jesús!
With hunger was I fraught.
Yea, did I cry and throw myself
upon the paella pot.
by Renee, after Coleridge
Renee, I agree with Robyn. You grabbed me with your title and then held me all the way through paella pot.
Renee – thanks, and may I say I was hooting simply at your TITLE here – and the poem is great.
Jane, I’m so glad you tackled that Emily poem. I tried that one first but stared at it blankly. Your version is wonderful. Re-ordering bookshelves last night, I came across TOUCH MAGIC (which you kindly signed for me in Atlanta two years ago).
I must go down to the fridge again, to the lonely apple pie,
And all I ask is a tall fork and a knife to cut her by,
And the apples thick, and the raisins stick, and the light crust flaking,
And a golden brown on the pie’s face, and the pale edge breaking.
I must go down to the fridge again, for the call of the pie I eyed
Is a hungry call and a rumbly call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a single scoop of vanilla soft ice cream,
On the rich pie with the flaky crust to melt in luscious stream.
I must go down to the fridge again, to the vagrant cholesterol life,
To the apple’s way and the pastry’s way all cut with a whetted knife.
And all I ask is a piece of pie for this nocturnal-rover
And a guilt-free sleep and a sweet dream when the midnight raid is over.
I’m getting a touch of pie fever just from reading this. Well done! 🙂
Truly marvelous specimen, Avis! Wow, THIS one feels like the original, haha. Love the mood.
Wow! Avis, i love it. I can so identify with, “And a guilt-free sleep and a sweet dream when the midnight raid is over.” I’m a married man so that is so rarely possible.
I’m Somebody! Who are you?
Are you – Somebody – too?
I didn’t think so, you little frog,
Your smell is putrid, a rotting bog.
How dreary – to be – Nobody!
How you wail – you loony tune —
They coo and call you pumpkin pie.
A better name is wrinkled prune.
Looks like Emily is the go-to gal for these Parrot-ies. Love how you used her elements and twisted them all up – well done!
Well hello there, Buffy. So good to see you here posting such a delicious little frog. Emily is a popular choice and yet everyone is having fun in different ways. Thanks!
David (Eugene Field) Harrison
Republicans and democrats
Across the aisle in the chamber sat:
T’was half past session, their faces were red,
Nor one nor t’other had done what they said.
Six-pack Joe snapped open a can
Wondering why any of these idiots ran;
I wasn’t there; I simply relate
What I read about this sorry state.
Republicans roared, “You’re destroying our nation!”
Democrats clambered their tintinnabulation,
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With pomposity and bits of Poe,
While the justices in their supreme places
Held up their hands before their faces,
And congress preened in self-admiration.
(Now mind: I’m only telling you
What Joe Six-pack declares is true!)
Citizens everywhere looked blue
And wailed, “Oh, dear! What shall we do?”
But our leaders fought like a dog and a cat,
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfulest way you ever saw –
And oh! How the hot air gassed and blew!
(Don’t fancy I exaggerate – I got my news from the state of State!)
Post election, where the leaders had swaggered
They found no trace of posturing braggart,
And some folks think unto this day
That citizens voted the scoundrels away!
But the truth is this – and I raise a cup,
The Do-Nothings ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(Joe Six-pack told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)
Wowza! That’s a good bit of fun. I really hope that I am someday presented with a reason to say “with pomposity and bits of Poe.” Fabulous. Brings to mind my favorite lyric in MY FAIR LADY: “Oozing charm from every pore, he oiled his way across the floor.”
Thanks, Renee. Hard to believe that Field’s dog and cat fight would make me think of congress. Such a mystery.
Speaking of election:
How doth the little congressman
Retain his tainted seat
When all the voters hope he can
Be forced into retreat?
How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How bloated his ego,
And welcomes little lobbyists in
Hauling their PACs of dough!
(After Lewis Carroll )
The line ‘Pomposity and bits of poe’ is my favorite too …
Thank you, Vikram. And thanks for the election take-off!
ode to truth! well done. i raise a cup to you sir.
Good morning, Annalisa,
I accept your raised cup. This morning I need coffee in it. Many thanks!
David that was off the chain! :Love, love, love it!
Hey Charles, how’s it going with you? I’m glad you liked the poem. All I need is a piano and then have you perform it!
These all are so wonderful. Against my better judgement, here goes . . .
(after Sea-Fever by John Masefield)
I must go down to the compost bin,
to the rotting peels and rind,
and all I ask is a full pail,
and a breeze to dump it by,
and the pail’s splat and the flies’ swirl
and the mulch smell a-drifting,
and the soft squirm of the snug worm
and my green heart a-lifting!
Hee….”and a breeze to dump it by” – love it, as well as the satisfied twist at the end. Masefield’s is such a great poem for this exercise. Now I want to do one…
Joyce, quite masterful. And such memories. I used to catch mourning cloaks and viceroys around my neighbors’ garbage dump. A good breeze was something to cherish.
I am on the pinnacle with the poets and their parrot’ys
Singing “Hernando’s Hideaway.”
Now I’m going to print out this whole gathering of the stars
for my Poetry Group’s laughter.
Thanks, Jeanne. I hope this collection inspires many more efforts. My thanks again to Pat for getting the whole thing started.
At last, I’m in the circle!!!!!
Thank you for the acknowledgment!
My print-out needed 32 pages. And now I’ll look up all the highlighted words.
Jeanne with my 2 brand new digital hearing aids.
The keyboard crackles!
*This is Taylor McGowan though it may call me smorelover*
I think I’ll stick with Robert Frost!
Here goes nothing:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
Though from what I’ve learned
From work past tense
The world ends not with desire
Or even love
Or even hate
Or even those gone unadmired,
But more so with the words
~~ that one’s not very good. I’ll try again later. Good night!
Way to go, Taylor! You picked right up on the game and have contributed cleverly. Thank you for reminding us that our young poets are with it!
Well done, Taylor!
Stopping by a Neighbor’s House at Midnight
Whose goods these are, I think I know,
But now they’re mine, I’ll safely stow
Them in my trunk, and never fear
The cops will find me with the dough.
My girlfriend doesn’t think it’s queer
To stop at midnight for a beer,
Or so I said, but for her sake
I added “Business, you wait here.”)
She gave her head a little shake,
And though she thought it a mistake
She’s good when secrets she must keep,
And neither goofy nor a flake.
Twas but a moment, for a sweep
Of wallet, watch—now mine to keep.
And just next door we go to sleep.
And just next door, we go to sleep.
And other stupid felon tricks–from Jane Yolen
not stupid! genius!!
Another winner, Jane! Thanks for adding so much pleasure to this challenge. Did you ever see Frost? I heard him give a reading at Agnes Scott College when he was probably in his 80s.
I went to Smith, he taught at Amherst. Never met him, but heard him read.
This is my brain on vacation:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
I see a desert forming.
There’ll soon be naught but cactus plants,
all thanks to global warming.
Lilies, lilacs, daffodils–
soon you will not see ’em.
Make a bouquet while you may.
Fair warning: carpe diem!
Pithy, moving, and funny all at once, in other words, another Singer zinger.
Thanks! I love you, Jane–you and your work!
Marilyn, your brain must be having a fine time on vacation. “see ’em/carpe diem?” I love it.
Ode to Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree-
They named a rest stop after me.
(there’s a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike named after Joyce Kilmer
Greetings, Douglas! I’m glad to welcome you to the party. I do hope the rest stop has at least one tree near it.
There was also a Vince Lombardi rest stop. I think the family asked the name be taken off.
I dedicate this to 14-year-old boys everywhere
and their nimble-footed dates who dodge them.
Wordsworth as a Boy
I floundered awkward as a clod
Stumbling on my partner’s feet
When all at once I saw her nod
Encouragement that from defeat
I might dance yet beneath the trees,
Twirling my partner in the breeze.
The waves beside us danced; but I,
Expertly guiding — one-two-three —
Heard my date’s contented sigh
And knew the night belonged to me:
I missed her toes, and smiling, thought
What wealth a little practice brought.
Now oft, when in my bed I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon my inward eye,
Reward me in my solitude:
Then my heart with pleasure fills:
My freshman dance, my boyhood thrills.
HA! Very sweet, very 14-year-old boy. And how much do I love that you mirrored “as a cloud” with “as a clod” – wonderful!
Thank you, Renee,
How well I remember those dance lessons with Mrs. Walker. She was heavy breasted and I could feel “them” against my chest. I prayed that my face wouldn’t betray my exquisite discomfort. I returned for more lessons.
Gosh, these are all great!
Once again, late to the party. My apologies to Christopher Marlowe
The Passionate Stallion to his Mare
By B.J. Lee
Come live with me and be my mare
And we will every pleasure share.
I’ll save my treats and give you all
The apples when they start to fall.
And we will graze in glorious grass
And I’ll not let a moment pass
When I am not as close to you
As I can be through chomp and chew.
We’ll share the stable past Duck’s pond
And there we’ll strengthen our deep bond.
I’ll give you first dibs on the hay
And I will never say thee neigh.
So if this life seems good to you,
Then bid your former life adieu.
And if you feel love in the air
Come live with me and be my mare.
“I will never say thee neigh”–brilliant! I actually think it works better than the original, and I studied 17th century poetry in college!
Thank you, Jane. High praise from one such as you! I’m honored.
B.J., this is great fun. I just reread the original and agree with Jane; I like your version better.
Thank you, David. To hear my poem called ‘better than the original’ blows my mind!
Awww!!! What a love poem! And I agree: “I will never say thee neigh” is a little piece of greatness. 🙂
Thank you Renee! I couldn’t resist the ‘say thee neigh’
I love it, B.J. Sheer genius!
thank you so much Cory! I remember when we were posting lots and lots of found poems.
YES, B.J.! Now, I remember.
That was the summer of my introduction to David’s blog and FOUND poems captured my muse. I had SO much fun. You had many entries too and wonderful haikus. I intend to go back in time and reread them all. Thanks for the reminder.
Like David and Jane, I too, prefer your version, partly because horses hold a special place in my heart and mainly because it is GREAT!
KEEPING THINGS HOLY
with apologies to Mark Strand
and his “Keeping Things Whole”
In a church
I am the absence
Wherever I am
what is missing.
When I walk
the sacred air
the blessed air
where my body’s been.
to keep things
Thank you, Charles! I’ve been hoping to see something come up from you and you, of course, didn’t disappoint. Many thanks for joining the fun.
Oh! I love this poem. And did Google Mark Strand.
This AM I was reading Pincola Estes and she reminds me of my soul’s omnipresence also.
Thank you, Charles, for this beautiful poem. And thanks for introducing me to a whole new world via Mark Strand.
very nice, Charles! There was a time when Mark Strand was my favorite poet and I nerely swooned to see him read at Harvard. I loved your version!
Robert E. Lee
(Original Annabel Lee By Edgar Allan Poe)
It was many and many a year ago,
In a fight with he and me,
That a general there fought whom you may know
By the name of Robert E. Lee.
And this general was taught to have no other thought
Than to conquer the Union Army.
I was a general. He was a general,
In this fight with he and me,
But we fought with a fight that was more than a fight—
I and my Robert E. Lee—
My name is Ulysses and they were such sissies–
We beat his pansy army!
Annabel Lee never had so much fun. Thanks for providing your own special brand of tongue-in-cheekness.
Oh, Ken! Brilliant. I especially like the last two lines.Well done!
Alas, I myself tried, It was many and many a night ago, but my muse took a holiday, along with Annabel Lee.
[Warning: some may find this a bit macabre! 🙂 ]
Charge of the Night Brigade
By Vikram Madan (with apologies to Lord Alfred Tennyson)
Half a leg, half a leg
Half a leg onward,
All in the alley of Death
Shuffled six hundred.
Zombies, the night pervade
“Brains!” were the words unsaid.
Into the alley of Death
Shuffled six hundred.
Zombies, the night pervade
Was there a man dismayed?
Wherefrom they came anew
No one had wondered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs just to eat an eye.
Into the alley of Death
Shuffled six hundred.
Human to right of them,
Human to left of them,
Human in front of them
Panicked and blundered;
Stormed at with shoe and shell,
Coldly they flowed and fell,
Carrying their jaws of Death,
Carrying their mouths of hell
Shuffled six hundred.
Flashed all their tibias bare,
Moaned as they clawed the air,
Chasing the humans there,
Mindlessly swarming, while
The whole world sundered.
Pounding on pine and oak
Right through the doors they broke;
Redneck and Yuppie
Reeled from each horrid-stroke
Splattered, fell under.
Then they flowed back, but not,
Not the six hundred.
Human to right of them,
Human to left of them,
Human behind them,
Infected and plundered;
Tainted with zombie spell,
Rose now, who once had fell,
They that had fed so well
Carried their jaws of Death
Carried infectious hell,
Now there were more of them,
More than six hundred.
When can their hunger fade?
When ends their dark parade?
None left to wonder.
Fear now the charge they made!
Fear that undead brigade,
Hundreds and hundreds
And hundreds and hundreds
And hundreds and hundreds
[The original poem can be found here]
Vikram, what a juicy contribution to the madness. Thanks for another stellar addition to the collection.
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That Kind of Year Thou Mayst In Me Behold
From William Shakespeare to his editor
Long I slaved oe’r words you now behold,
Where participles dangled, none doth hang,
Set upon each line with pen made bold
By promises I thought your letter sang;
In me thou see’st an earnest bard laid low
As I behold through grief-rimmed eyes your note
As from a deathbed room perfumed by woe,
Thou didn’st care for any word I wrote;
In me thou see’st the glowing of desire,
Though on the ashes of defeat I lie,
That on the morrow, purified by ire,
I’ll rise, consumed by that which makes me try
To pen what thou perceiv’st as sweet and strong
Which you’ll love well and beg from me ere long.
Oh, my…another winner, David. As an editor, I am particularly taken with “Where participles dangled, none doth hang,” but the whole thing is delicious. I’ll be back to read this a few more times – so many riches to mine! Bravo!
Tendril: A Comment
A loop de loop, A turntable thrill, The softest screw, A dentist drill, A twist of paper, Or ribbon or twill, A mess of tress, Worn as you will, Then 1, 2, 3. . .7-8-9 Tendrill.
©2012 Jane Yolen, all rights reserved
Thank you, Renee. “That Time of Year . . . ” has always been one of my favorite Shakespeare sonnets. For some reason, this time it made me worry about poor Will’s feelings if he were spurned by some heartless editor!
Would you like to see this posted on the word of the month site under tendril?
Yes I would, though the last word is spelled wrong and should be tendril, of course. David–can you move it?
I’m gobsmacked at the many and truly wonderful, brilliant responses to my bowdlerized form. A methuselah of a toast to one and all! But I’m feeling more than a little guilty about my part in having hijacked our generous host’s blog. I suspect David wants to move on to more of his own ingenious creations. And I thank him profoooosely for inviting us in.
Gobsmacked sums it up pretty well. You’ve let loose an abundance of enthusiastic and remarkable responses to your challenge. I’ve had a fine time and quite obviously many others have too.
The door is still open for those who have meant to contribute their own pearls but haven’t had time. I suspect that we’ll have numerous readers of this post for a long time to come.
All the best,
No problem, Jane. I’m on it.
It’s done. See if it looks okay.
I saw a note that you didn’t have time to post it. Am confused.
I just sent you an e-mail that should explain where to find its new home.
And by the way, I forgot to mention how entertaining this post has been – there have been some utterly incredible poems written because of it!
HAMLET AT 8 YEARS OLD
To be or not to be?
Doesn’t matter to me.
All I want is to never get hurt
and eat unlimited plates of dessert.
(c) Charles Waters
I’m smiling, Charles. Thanks for taking the idea a step further: Famous people at earlier times in their lives. Hmm?
Your trimetric poem inspired me yesterday and now this childlike wish! Great to meet you on David’s site.
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Thank you Jeanne and David thank you again for hosting such a fun exercise!
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