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:
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—
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: http://www.jpatricklewis.com