Pat’s back

Hi everyone,

True to his word, J. Patrick Lewis is back with his latest poetry challenge. According to Pat, this is not a new form but it’s an unusual one. Here’s what our U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate has to say:J. Patrick Lewis

A “tailgater” is a couplet, a verse form (not original with me) that begins with the first line of a well-known poem, and follows with the poet’s own nonsensical second line in the same meter. Think of shutting the back gate of a pickup truck. Tailgaters have also been called “deflated couplets.”]

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Came the screaming of Santa Claus—“Eek, there’s a mouse!”
James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree
Was stopped by TSA at LAX for false ID.
They went to sea in a sieve, they did
(Also known as a colander, kid.)
Poor old lady, she swallowed a fly,
Breaststroking in her shoo fly pie.
Tell me, O Octopus, I begs,
Is those things arms, or octopegs?
O my aged Uncle Arly
Twiced removed was Jacob Marley.
I never saw a Purple Cow
but grape milk is delicious. Wow!
One if by land, and two if by sea,
Three if by air, and four? Beats me.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
Horrors!—it’s Edgar Allan Poe.
To see the world in a grain of sand
Means you’re in never-never land.
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky.
If the tide’s gone out there may be a few dead mackerel to fry.
“You are old, Father William,” the young man cried.
“He’s only a pup!” Grandpa William replied.

[Note: The first line above is from Robert Southey’s “The Old Man’s Comforts and How He Gained Them.”
The poem is commonly attributed to Lewis Carroll, but Carroll’s poem is a parody of Southey’s poem, which
is now long forgotten. Carroll’s parody begins: “You are old, Father William, the young man said.”]

From adult poems:

When I have fears that I may cease to be,
Whatever made me think sobriety?
Jenny kissed me when we met
Drooling like a bachelorette.
Yes, I remember Adlestrop—
Pop. 13 4. (A cattle stop.)
If we must die—let it not be like hogs
Listening to right-wing mano-monologues.
A sweet disorder in the dress
Is evidence that she said yes.
I saw Eternity the other night.
Took Exit 49—Detroit. Turned right.
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold—
That animal! Soon apprehended, I’m told.
The woods decay, the woods decay and fall.
Repeat myself? Re-up my Seconal.
It’s no go the merrygoround, it’s no go the rickshaw,
All I want is a pit bull and suspension of the leash law.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Turn on the gas, I’m out of methadone.
Do you remember an inn, Miranda?
Your iPhone app? Try MEMORANDA.

Thanks, Pat. I’m afraid you’re doing it to us again. I’ll leave this up for a couple of days or so to make sure we give everyone a chance to join the fun.

For more about Pat, here’s a place to start:

64 comments on “Pat’s back

  1. Okay, I’ll go first.

    I think that I shall never see
    A dog without a single flea.
    Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle
    Got married and now she is thick in the middle.
    Hickory dickory dock,
    Hums but will not tock.
    “I must go down to the sea again,”
    The salmon said to the hatchery men.
    Once upon a midnight dreary —
    But once is quite enough, my dearie!

  2. I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    To swivel head and fantasize of bikinis twitching by.

  3. One upon a midnight dreary
    I slept next to my old dearie.

    You are old Father William the young man said.
    There are coals in your belly and snow on your head.

    Trot trot to Boston, trot trot to Lee,
    Off to dump me some Patriot tea.

    Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
    Your snoring is driving me out of my tree.

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
    Scrambled eggsactly in his awful fall.

    There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
    She’d so many corns, only sandals would do.

    Am stopping now.


  4. Twinkle, twinkle, little star
    I won’t leave ’til I’ve made par.

    The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
    The tide returned them immediately.

    The gingham dog and the calico cat
    Would have been friends, except for their spat.

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
    I couldn’t decide, so there I stood.

  5. I will arise and go now and go to Innisfree
    Where the shopping costs no money for I’ve won a “Designer Spree!”

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
    So I mowed the grass right where I stood

    Nature’s first green is gold
    Screeched the parrot in the hold

    Scared to enter your league but giving it the old elementary try. Hi David from Janet at Tim Rasinski’s poetry pre-conf in Orlando. Hi Pat and Renee.

  6. Greetings, Janet! I’m so glad that you decided to take the plunge. These poetry challenges are always meant to be fun so there is no need to worry about a thing. I hope you’ll come back soon and often.


  7. Had we but world enough, and time,
    Maybe—just maybe—I’d learn how to rhyme.

    Drink to me only with thine eyes—
    ’cause I’ll throw up if you bare those thighs.

    She walks in beauty, like the night—
    Methinks her undies are too tight.

  8. Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
    Shake your booty on a pogo stick.

    Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did rock their nimbles at the rave.

    Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie,
    Couldn’t get a date in junior high.

    What are little girls made of?
    Sugar and spice and no birth control device.

    Little Boy Blue, stop blowing your horn,
    The traffic’s atrocious, our nerves are all worn.

    Five little monkeys jumping on the bed;
    Turned on their ipads, watched cats instead.

  9. Grow old along with me!
    More lovely we’ll both be.

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary
    Cure what ails thee, have some sherry!

    ’tis better to have loved and lost.
    Art thou prepared —- to bear the cost?

    Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall –
    Oblivious to his impending downfall.

  10. These are such fun, David! A field day for the sillies …

    The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell,
    Once fell in his well, but never did tell.

    Twinkle, twinkle, little star
    I wish upon thee for a brand new car.

    Oh, where have you been, Lord Randal, my son?
    Your supper’s gone cold and your bed’s not undone?

    Once upon a midnight dreary-
    Spinning dreams so light and cheery.

      • I wonder what Poe would make of this, David … there’s no taming the no-sense-sillies! Keep smiling!

        Once upon a midnight dreary-
        Spinning dreams so light and cheery
        Lullabyed by Scott McCreery …

  11. Okay, these are such fun. Here’s one I finally ‘found’ in my head! Thanks both of you for doing!

    Blessings on thee little man
    Barefoot boy with cheeks of tan
    To the Payless you must go
    Covering your little toes.

  12. Hickety pickety, my black hen
    Pecks at legs of gentlemen.

    Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle.
    He would have played longer, but he had to piddle.

    There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
    A boot would have been better when her children grew.

    Such fun! Thanks David and Pat!

  13. Sighed Mayzie, a lazy bird hatching an egg,
    “Please bring me some breakfast, I hate to beg.”

    The whiskey on your breath
    caused Mom to have a tizzy
    she poured one for herself
    their drinking was too easy. (Yes, I know this is a quatrain, but you know my theory about quatrains being broken couplets.)

    I’m no body! Who are you?
    Do we belong in the zoo?

    David, these are delightful fun. Thank you.

    Whose woods these are? I think I know,
    No I don’t it’s time to go.

    Hey Little Diddle Diddle
    Please take a piddle!

    Between what I see and what say
    No one pays attention anyway.

    Once upon a midnight dreary
    I saw my wife looking cheery.

  15. Pingback: Tailgaters | Elizabeth Steinglass

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