A new poetry challenge from J. Patrick Lewis


I’d like to see this go on even though I’m going to switch to something else tomorrow. The nice thing about a blog post is that it never goes away. If you want to keep adding comments and careerhymes, I hope you will.

BUT tomorrow will be another of your favorite treats. The wonderful artist, Rob Shepperson, will be back with another humorous drawing so we can play a new round of CAPTION THAT CARTOON! You don’t want to miss it.

Hi everyone,

As promised, here’s the latest from our U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis. This time he challenges us to write Careerhymes, an original light verse form in which the name of an occupation appears somewhere in the first line. As always, Pat models examples of the form. Also as always, I give in to the temptation to try my hand. First, of course, is Pat.

J. Patrick Lewis
J. Patrick Lewis

Psychiatrist: A member of
A race obsessed with mother love,
Another name for father hate
For which we overcompensate.
In short, he makes each one of us
Feel Oedipusillanimous.

Proctologist: A human being
Preoccupied with human peeing—
Oh, no, I am mistaken, sir,
That’s not a Proct-, it must be Ur-.

Computer Geek: A square; a nerd;
A rather antisocial bird,
Who keeps a mouse; a devotee
Of virtual reality.

[The three above appeared in Light Quarterly, Summer 1999.]
Undertaker: Working stiff,
Who’s ready with a handkerchief,
But for a casketful of cash
Gladly reduces you to ash.

Philosopher: A mind at ease
With drear eventualities
Like Existential Angst and Dread
And, “Is that stoplight really red?”

Cartographer: A person who,
Though he prefers an ocean view,
When stress becomes a leitmotif,
Draws rocky mountains in relief.

Psychic: One who always sees
Financial opportunities.
ESP—whatever you call it—
She knows just what’s inside your wallet.

Telemarketer: A chap
Who interrupts your daily nap
To say, “If you’re deceased or moved,
We’ve got you down as pre-approved.”
[The five above appeared in Light Quarterly, Summer 2000.]

Accountant: Is a he or she
Devoid of personality.
Economist: Is one who knows
That glasses are one color—rose.
Together this two-person band
Is like the bland leading the bland.

* * * * *

And now for a few of mine.
David publicity photo
A barber is a fellow who
Makes his living trimming you.
Though he may be a nosy quizzer,
Don’t forget who holds the scissor.

A plumber is a modern hero
Who, when toilet flush hits zero,
Plunges in to joust the foe,
With wise crack, returns the flow.

An orthodontist uses braces
To help him create happy faces.
True, his methods take a while,
But thousands later he’ll make you smile.

No one’s met an entomologist.
I suspect a mad mythologist,
High on anti-mosquito drugs,
Made up a guy who worships bugs.

Okay, let’s hear from you, careerhyme-wise!