April 29

Will this month never end? Here's another from the archives, my post-college trip to Europe.
Having to speak French gave me great pain
Thank goodness tomorrow
We'll all be in Spain.

A favorite, from one of my favorite people to get e-mail from!
Thesis, Antithesis, and Nostalgia
by Alan dugan

Not even dried-up leaves,
skidding like iceboats on
their points down winter streets,
can scratch the surface of
a child's summer and its wealth:
a stagnant calm that seemed
as if it must go on and on
outside of cyclical variety
the way, at child-height on a wall,
a brick named "Ann"
by someone's piece of chalk
still loves the one named "Al"
although the street is vacant and
the writer and the named are gone.


April 28

Three Twos Again
Too cold
To play

My Shadow
Robert Louis Stevenson

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow--
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.


April 27

three twos
Too tired
To Write

by Jim Daniels


April 26

if it's not sand it's leaves
a haiku
I rake last fall's leaves
from the corners of my yard
where they were hiding

Here's one from the Lizard King though I can't quite picture Jim Morrison out raking leaves in his snake skin pants.

A man rakes leaves into
a heap in his yard, a pile,
and leans on his rake and
burns them utterly.
The fragrance fills the forest
children pause and heed the
smell, which will become
nostalgia in several years.


April 25

arbor day (a couplet)
Who celerates Arbor Day
Any way?

The Internet can be such a source of disappointment. All these years I thought Joyce Kilmer was a woman - then I google the poem and it's Alfred Joyce Kilmer.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

-- Joyce Kilmer


April 24

if Robert Frost Lived on Cape Cod
Whose beach this is I think I know
Their year-round house is in the city though
They will not see me walking here
Or else they'd tell me where to go
The neighbors, they might see me here
But in spring, they too are not near
None have time to bother being here
On the Cape this time of year
So year rounders have a chance
Upon private beaches to advance
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy drake
The ocean's lovely, dark and deep
But I have no beach rights so off I creep
And travel miles to the public beach
And travel miles to the public beach

This one is for the twin's first trip to Old Silver Beach, though they weren't the ones who came home sandy.

Season at the Shore
by Phyllis McGinley
On, not by sun and not by cloud
And not by whippoorwill, crying loud,
And not by the pricking of my thumbs,
Do I know the way that the summer comes.
Yet here on this seagull-haunted strand,
Hers is an omen I understand -
Sand on the beaches,
Sand at the door,
Sand that screeches
On the new-swept floor;
In the shower, sand for the foot to crunch on;
Sand in the sandwiches spread for luncheon;
Sand adhesive to son and sibling,
From wallet sifting, from pockets dribbling;
Sand by the beaker
Nightly shed
From odious sneaker;
Sand in bed;
Sahara always in my seaside shanty
Like the sand in the voice
of J. Durante.

Winter is mittens, winter is gaiters
Steaming on various radiators.
Autumn is leaves that bog the broom.
Spring is mud in the living room
Or skates in places one scarcely planned.
But what is summer, her seal in hand?
Sand in closets,
Sand on the stair,
Desert deposits
In the parlor chair;
Sand n the halls like the halls of the ocean;
Sand in he soap and the sun-tan lotion;
Stirred in the porridge, tossed on the greens,
Poured from the bottoms of rolled-up jeans;
In the elmy street
On the lawny acre;
Glued to the seat
Of the Studebaker.


April 23

Animal themes tonight. I just love picturing that roach shaking a shimmy on the butter.

indoor cat (a quatrain)
She sits looking out in disbelief
At the little birds singing cheep cheep cheep
With no means to reach the doorknob she has a hunch
That today, again, she'll miss the free lunch

by Christopher Morley
 SCUTTLE, scuttle, little roach— 
How you run when I approach. 
Up above the pantry shelf, 
Hastening to secrete yourself.

Most adventurous of vermin, 
How I wish I could determine 
How you spend your hours of ease, 
Perhaps reclining on the cheese.

Cook has gone, and all is dark— 
Then the kitchen is your park: 
In the garbage heap that she leaves 
Do you browse among the tea leaves?

How delightful to suspect 
All the places you have trekked: 
Does your long antenna whisk its 
Gentle tip across the biscuits?

Do you linger, little soul, 
Drowsing in our sugar bowl? 
Or, abandonment most utter, 
Shake a shimmy on the butter?

Do you chant your simple tunes 
Swimming in the baby's prunes? 
Then, when dawn comes, do you slink 
Homeward to the kitchen sink?

Timid roach, why be so shy? 
We are brothers, thou and I. 
In the midnight, like yourself, 
I explore the pantry shelf!


April 22

Here's another old poem. This one is real, real bad. It's from my environmental righteous indignation period.

I was walking through Boston one day with a friend
When a great line of people walked by end to end
They were carrying signs with intent to rebel
With t-shirts to match, and on one my eye fell
And now with conviction I'll repeat if I may
That "laboratory animals never have a nice day"
My friend and I laughed and said it was true
Some people, it seems, have nothing better to do
But as they marched on, with direction and cause
I had a strange thought and here's what it was
Perhaps millions of creatures die season after season
And who's telling them that it's for a good reason
The answer it came, and was obvious to see
If a laboratory animal I was born to be
I sure would want someone marching for me

from Esquire magazine, November 1992
I like the notion of oil on the ocean,
'cause it lubricates all of the waves.
When the water is slicker,
the tankers are quicker.
And look at the fuel that it saves.
I like burgers in styrofoam dishes,
Not fishes,
they take up good space in the sea.
Pollution is the solution,
Nature's annoying to me.

It's funny, I think, when things go extinct,
and they become yesterday's news.
When a species ceases, there's no more feces
for me to scrape off my shoes.
Well, some trees stay - I guess they're okay.
(The Prez says they're more toxic than cars.)
Pollution is the the only solution.
(Well, the easiest solution by far.)

I could spend hours in acid-rain showers,
and nuclear power is fun.
Hooray for pullutants !
'ecause they make us mutants,
and two heads are better than one !
Oh, I feel so attractive when I'm radioactive,
and I get my haircuts for free.
Pollution is the solution,
'cause if it's not, what else could be ?

When a strip mine stops, a town's livehood drops,
so the ax that I wield just cuts trees.
What's the answer, my friend ?
It blows in the wind,
which is thickening with CFCs.
We've always had trouble, since the first
critter's bubble popped the primordial slime.
Pollution, my son, is the solution,
and I know that you'll thank me in time.


April 21

a haiku from 2006 and one from japanese haiku master Uejima Onitsura
Summer brings fruit flies.
They drown in my glass of wine.
Someone bring a spoon.

It is nice to read
news that our spring rain also
visited your town


April 20

Making up a poem every day is harder than I thought. I'll have to call in some reinforcement. Here's one from college.

There was a toilet in Arnold Hall
It flushed and flushed for no reason at all
Our R.A. Jeannie called the plumber
I'd have done it myself if I'd known the number

This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


April 19

backyard daffodils
little patches of sunshine
amidst a bare ground

In Flanders Fields
by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD
the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


April 18

today in history (a couplet)
for most of us, history.
is little more than mystery.

Since this poem is rather long (A long poem by Longfellow? Coincidence or not?), only its beginning follows. Here is a link to the rest of the poem.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.


April 17


nothing beats a good night's sleep (a quatrain)
At day's end a poem is quite grand
it soothes the soul like nothing can.
But listening to your children, fast sleep
is the thing to best help one's sanity keep.

This one's for Wendy. I didn't know I had received any comments on this site but lo and behold there are some. Thanks for your kind words Wendy. The poem you sent reminds me of the the Walrus and the Carpenter another classic by Lewis Carroll.

There Once Was a Puffin
by Florence Page Jaques
Oh, there once was a Puffin
Just the shape of a muffin,
And he lived on an island
In the bright blue sea!

He ate little fishes,
That were most delicious,
And he had them for supper
And he had them for tea.

But this poor little Puffin,
He couldn't play nothin',
For he hadn't anybody
To play with at all.

So he sat on his island,
And he cried for awhile, and
He felt very lonely,
And he felt very small.

Then along came the fishes,
And they said, "If you wishes,
You can have us for playmates,
Instead of for tea!"

So they now play together,
In all sorts of weather,
And the Puffin eats pancakes,
Like you and like me.


April 16

Johnny Cash had them for breakfast (a riddle poem)
Children might prefer them baked.
What parents choose to percolate.
Little brothers often spill.
Little problems don't amount to a hill.

I quoted this poem (along with the movie Back to the Future) in my high school year book.
I'm thinking that Robert Frost would say the road less travelled doesn't include four kids and a mini van.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn 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 sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


April 15

April 15 quatrain
Taxes in the mail
today without fail.
To the government
is where the money's sent.

The Dangerous Book for Boys, a book Ken and I found rather random given its many weeks as a bestseller, lists the poem Invictus as one every boy should be familiar with.
I recall it as being one of the poems that was xeroxed and taped to the bathroom stalls in our dorm at Simmons. I guess someone thought girls ought to be familiar with it as well. More recently the poem gained notoriety as Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeighs final statement prior to his execution.
I read one website that described Invictus as being poet William Ernest Henley's "one hit." It's funny to think of poets as one hit wonders, but I guess for every Emily Dickinson there's the poetical equivalent of Alan O'Day.
"I said, what?"

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


April 14

little black dress (a persona poem)
In the dark I wait in vain
Wondering when
she'll take me out
of the closet again.

How could someone like Emily Dickinson, with seemingly so little life experience, find so much to write about?

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.


April 13

garden couplet
april showers get me down
hope my lettuce seeds don't drown

This one's a bit of a cheat but song lyrics are poetry too.

Garden Song
by Dave Mallet
Inch by inch, row by row,
Gonna make this garden grow,
All it takes is a rake and a hoe,
And a piece of fertile ground.

Inch by inch, row by row,
Someone bless these seeds I sow,
Someone warm them from below,
'Till the rain comes tumblin' down.

Pullin' weeds and pickin' stones,
Man is made of dreams and bones,
Feel the need to grow my own,
'Cause the time is close at hand.

Grain for grain, sun and rain,
Find my way in Nature's chain,
Tune my body and my brain
To the music from the land.

Plant your rows straight and long,
Temper them with prayer and song,
Mother Earth will make you strong
If you give her loving care.

An old crow watching hungrily
From his perch in yonder tree,
In my garden I'm as free
As that feathered thief up there.


April 12

now i know how the old woman in the shoe felt (a quatrain)
There was a middle-aged woman
who was always at home.
She had so many children
she was never alone.

I always thought this was Ogden Nash, turns out it (and its sequel) was written by Gelett Burgess.

I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow"
I'm sorry, now, I wrote it!
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'll kill you if you quote it.


April 11

spring couplet
peepers sing
to welcome spring

I told C that it was national poetry month and were there any poems he knew. He thought for a while and then said that this was the only poem he could think of.

The Night Before Christmas

by Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung
by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas
soon would be there;

The children were nestled
all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums
danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief,
and I in my cap,

Had just settled down
for a long winter's nap.

When out on the lawn
there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed
to see what was the matter.

Away to the window
I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters
and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast
of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day
to objects below,

When, what to my wondering
eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh,
and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver,
so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment
it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles
his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted,
and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer!
now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid!
on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch!
to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away!
dash away all!"

As dry leaves that
before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle,
mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top
the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys,
and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling,
I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing
of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head,
and was turning around,

Down the chimney
St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur,
from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished
with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys
he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler
just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled!
his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses,
his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth
was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin
was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe
he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled
his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face
and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed
like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump,
a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him,
in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye
and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know
I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word,
but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings;
then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger
aside of his nose,

And giving a nod,
up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh,
to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew
like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim,
ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all,
and to all a good-night."


April 10

Two poems for unappreciated mothers everywhere:

everything happens in threes (a list poem)




start over

The Lanyard
by Billy Collins
The other day I was ricocheting slowly

off the blue walls of this room,

moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,

from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,

when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary

where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist

could send one into the past more suddenly—

a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp

by a deep Adirondack lake

learning how to braid long thin plastic strips

into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard

or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,

but that did not keep me from crossing

strand over strand again and again

until I had made a boxy

red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,

and I gave her a lanyard.

She nursed me in many a sick room,

lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,

laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,

and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,

and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.

Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.

And here is your lanyard, I replied,

which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,

strong legs, bones and teeth,

and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,

and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.

And here, I wish to say to her now,

is a smaller gift—not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,

but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.


April 9

senryu for pompeii
Volcanos erupt
Five year olds will discover
Much to their delight

One from Edgar Allan Poe, the king of unrequited and doomed love:

A Dream Within A Dream
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


April 8

opening day (a concrete poem inspired by H)

something a few innings longer:

Casey at the Bat
By Ernest Lawrence Thayer

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, "If only Casey could but get a whack at that —
We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat."

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat;
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped —
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted some one on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said "Strike two!"

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer has fled from Casey's lip, the teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.


April 7

I know what you're thinking. Can't she write anything longer than two lines? Well, yes, actually, but the longer the poem gets, the worse it tends to be. I find that if you can't be good - be brief.

clerihew for a tenor
Luciano Pavoritti
made opera less haughty
Rendered Rigaletto
stooped but unforgettable

Something even more theatrical:

If you're anxious for to shine
-W.S. Gilbert
If you're anxious for to shine in the high aesthetic line

as a man of culture rare,

You must get up all the germs of the transcendental terms,

and plant them ev'rywhere.

You must lie upon the daisies and discourse in novel phrases

of your complicated state of mind,

The meaning doesn't matter if it's only idle chatter
of a transcendental kind.
And ev'ry one will say,

As you walk your mystic way,

"If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for me,

Why, what a very singularly deep young man

this deep young man must be!"
Be eloquent in praise of the very dull old days

which have long since passed away,

And convince 'em, if you can, that the reign of good Queen Anne

was Culture's palmiest day.

Of course you will pooh-pooh whatever's fresh and new,

and declare it's crude and mean,

For Art stopped short in the cultivated court of the Empress Josephine.
And ev'ryone will say,

As you walk your mystic way,

"If that's not good enough for him which is good enough for me,

Why, what a very cultivated kind of youth this kind of youth must be!"
Then a sentimental passion of a vegetable fashion

must excite your languid spleen,

An attachment a la Plato for a bashful young potato,

or a not- too-French French bean!

Though the Philistines may jostle, you will rank as an apostle

in the high aesthetic band,

If you walk down Piccadilly with a poppy or a lily

in your medieval hand.
And ev'ryone will say,

As you walk your flow'ry way,

"If he's content with a vegetable love which would certainly not suit me,

Why, what a most particularly pure young man

this pure young man must be!"


April 6

everyone talks about the weather (a couplet)
though April be gray
it still begets May

Even great poets (like Robert Browning) wrote about the weather:

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows
Hark! where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower, -
Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!


April 5

one from Caleb (a couplet)
Not me, I didn't go into your home
and steal the telephone

The National Poetry month website suggested that everyone commit a new poem to memory. They are assuming you have lots and lots of poetry already committed to memory. I for one am always confusing those last verses of "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening," but ask me to recite "Eldorado" sometime.
For this assignment I chose the shortest poem I could find.

First Fig
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night
But ah my friends and oh my foes
It gives a lovely light!


April 4

another limerick for christine
For her birthday a woman I know
out to dinner decided to go
She was stylish and witty
so friends joined in a jiffy
And no one mentioned the big four-0

Or, if I thought you might be getting the Enterprise today I'd have run this:

to some czech students learning english (a couplet)
Lordy, Lordy
Your teacher's 40

Maya Angelou is also celebrating a birthday today

Phenomenal Woman
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


April 3

in the morning (a couplet)
Little babies make big stretches
and even bigger diaper messes

This is dedicated to my two year old.
Like Lewis Carroll, sometimes he doesn't make any sense.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe

All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


April 2

Day Two (a tercet)
When rhyming three
again I see
Little difficulty

Ogden Nash however, saw things differently:

A Brief Guide to Rhyming,

How Be the Little Busy Doth?

English is a language than which none is sublimer,
But it presents certain difficulties for the rhymer.
There are no rhymes for orange or silver

Unless liberties you pilfer.

I was once slapped by a young lady named Miss Goringe,

And the only reason I was looking at her that way, she represented a rhyme for orange.

I suggest that some painter do a tormented mural

On the perversity of the English plural,

Because perhaps the rhymer's greatest distress

Is caused by the letter s.

Oh, what a tangled web the early grammarians spun!

The singular verb has an s and the singular noun has none.

The rhymer notes this fact and ponders without success on it,

And moves on to find that his plural verb has dropped the s and his plural noun has grown an s on it.

Many a budding poet has abandoned his career

Unable to overcome this problem: that while the ear hears, the ears hear.

Yet he might have had the most splendiferous of careers

If only the s's came out even and he could tell us what his ears hears.

However, I am happy to say that out from the bottom of this
Pandora's box there
flew a butterfly, not a moth,

The darling, four-letter word d-o-t-h, which is pronounced duth,
although here 
we pronounce it doth.

Pronounce? Let jubilant rhymers pronounce it loud and clear,
Because when they can't sing that their ear hear they can legitimately sing that their ear doth hear.


April 1

Ode to National Poetry Month (a couplet)
to rhyme one line
takes little time

One Perfect Rose
by Dorothy Parker
A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet -
One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;
'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.