Introducing Couplinks

BULLETIN: A reminder that today IRA released online the 4th edition of CHILDRENS LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM. I wrote the first chapter: “Poetry, the Write Thing to Do,” which was greatly enriched with poems by Jane Yolen, Kenn Nesbitt, and April Halprin Wayland, plus an embedded video of 5th grade boys reading poetry to kindergarten students, provided by Patricia Cooley, and a delightful quote by Joyce Sidman. Here’s the link.

Hi everyone,
David publicity photo

One of my favorite games involving poetry is when a group of people (poets are people too) face an audience, each armed with one or more books of poems in front of them. Someone starts by reading a poem. All others scramble for a poem that connects in some way to the first, no matter how tenuous or downright preposterous that connection might be. Which leaves the group flipping pages in search of the next connection to offer. The game continues until time is up. Sometimes sheets are passed out to audience members so they can choose poems and participate in the blast too. This is a good exercise to play in classrooms too. When we release the ham in students, they can be surprisingly witty and spontaneous.

So here’s an idea that springs from the poetry blast game. I’m posting a couplet and you, if you wish to accept, are challenged to write your own couplet that is linked in some way — according to you — to mine. If we have more than one couplet posted, participating poets may select their choice of couplets to link to. Thus the term COUPLINK. Here’s your prompt.

Too slow the fly, too late to scram,
Too quick the hand, too soon the wham.

From that I deduce that this fly is in trouble. It’s in a fix, in a jam, in a pickle. Pickle! Did someone say pickle? Aha! There’s more than one kind of pickle. So here’s my couplink.

Call me picky, call me fickle,
I won’t eat no chocolate pickle.

Or maybe I think the fly got the worst end of the bargain in the original poem so I decide to couplink by giving the story a happier ending, fly-wise.

Too quick the fly, too soon the scram,
Too slow the hand, too late the wham.

In which case I might focus on the noun, fly, which can also be a verb, and decide to couplink with your couplink thusly:

Gone are the days when I loved to go flying,
Replaced by discomfort, frustration, and sighing.

Your turn. Start with the fly poem and find your own couplink.

34 comments on “Introducing Couplinks

  1. The moral here is clear as water
    Stay away from a fly swatter.


    The moral is not clear at all.
    If you fly, one day you fall.


    The moral: stay away from ham
    If you don’t want to end up WHAM!

  2. The Lizard gives great tongue, I hear.
    It’s what keeps lady barflies near.

    (Now that I have offended everyone, I think I will retire from the couplets. And what for the triplets challenge.)

  3. My thanks to all for today’s couplink merriment. I trust that someone will take us in new direction from the sad and often violent saga of the fly, the ham, the swatter, and the dastardly lounge lizard. I’ll leave this going tomorrow too.

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