Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category
(Reposting this old piece so I can more easily find it. One line tweaked to make it generic.)
I found a fragrant pebble;
When I smelt it, out he came.
He turns quite green with envy
If left out in the rain.
I could trade him in for silver
Or beat him 'til he's thin;
Reduce him to a third
if I boiled him in a tin;
But cruelty's corrosive
So I treat him as a friend,
In hopes that I'll be hearing
A purr there at the end.
The prize for the answer is braggin' rights. Nowt else.
My mistress bids me wait in durance stern.
With ignorance she blocks my path to joy;
Unjust delays are wrought at every turn,
My every plea set back by falsehoods coy;
Or else she seems to wilt, or then relent,
Yet in the granting, buck my earnest wish
With pale commital, watered-down assent –
A day-old tin of bleak and joyless fish.
Such cheapest chicken wafted at my face
That any cat would balk to call a meal!
There's gravy when I wanted jellied plaice
Or tuna when I becked for curried veal!
That witch! that crone! a wight with no remorse!
I shan't be coming back for second course!
What colour is the cat who writes this complaint, AND WHY? No marks will be given for an incorrect reason. (Hint: You don't need any foreknowledge of my household to work this out.)
Comments will be screened for a couple of days to let everyone guess.
THE REVEREND TOM BUTLER:
"Jesus said1 be subtler
Than the snakes to whom Saint Pat gave the shove.
Unfortunately everyone in Northern Ireland seems to have forgotten the second part about the doves."
You can therefore blame Dinah for the tombs of the Suitov lords' "friends and family" mausoleum being furnished with a clerihew apiece.
edit: Oddly, come to think of it, if you wanted something that defines Englishness and the English sense of humour, I reckon the whole clerihew thing would have to be an excellent example. Dry, irreverent, quirky and wordy. Mine's not a great example, but look at the ones on Wikipedia to see what I mean.
The work email poet-pirate strikes again…
Context needed. Someone in Religion sent around a blank-verse invitation to come pub crawling for his leaving do, mentioning bars called Odder and Long Legs. (Jabez Clegg is another bar along Oxford Road.) I'm still on holiday leave on the date in question, so:
Pub Crawl RSVP
With deep regrets, etcetera,
To turn down such a lyric lure
I find myself away that day
Upon a quest obscure;
For secretary's siren song
Informs me I have leave to burn
And must essay some holiday
Or lose it, in my turn.
So raise a glass for absent Herms
And happy quaffing, one and all:
Be odd, be clegg, be long of leg -
The better pubs to crawl.
(Oh, and I'm well aware the last line can be interpreted in more than one way. "To crawl the better [of the] pubs" or "The better to crawl pubs".)
That takes me to 26 poems, half my target for this year (52). I'm quite happy with that, especially because I've also started digi-painting again in the meantime, which I hadn't expected to do.
I may even bubble up with some more poetry before the year's out, if all my creative juice isn't spent on paintings and writing the Twine Wars opening.
edit: A few people have emailed me back with things like "Brilliant!", "You really are very good at writing poetry. Have you written a lot? Have you published anything? I'm properly impressed…", "I loved your poem back to [colleague] – good work!" and "Bravo!" Fun to get compliments and hopefully give other people a chuckle out of their afternoons. *danceydancey*
edit2: reply from sender:
"Its bad form to send a reply so witty
It make the author of the invite feel rather shitty"
Awwwwww… haha. (Don't worry – he didn't mind really.)
I like riddles. The final one written for that roleplay thread.
My first begins a Song,
my next's the end of time;
my third's in neck and scratch,
my fourth in sword and prime:
a comb upon its side;
a headless scarecrow-frame;
now put my parts together
and you shall learn my name.
(Be wary of the comments in case the answer's given there, of course.)
'Tivo may appreciate this…
This makes no sense out of context, but hey, puns. Again, a rhyming 'clue' written for a roleplay board: this one refers to some things that have been lurking in the background all the while.
Riddle 2008:3, 9 Nov
The beast is dead; long live the beast!
Your quest moves on a-canter
But hark, what things are stalling here
Attending to your banter?
We blow no horn; we sound no bell;
We're neatly groomed and stable,
All creme except one à Palouse -
Now find him, if you're able.
The servants in this scene are all wearing horse masks. One of them, as one of the characters noticed much earlier, has a black spot painted on him.
Hmmm. If I make it to half my 52-poem target for the year I'll be quite satisfied.
Up at 06:30 for Neopets giveaway, lulz. I got the spooky site theme for me and the brother-creatures. Seem to have got in before the massive site-laggage, too. *dances* Now I can go back to bed.
I think Piper has an injury to his white eye. There's lots of gunk underneath, which I keep cleaning away, even though there's no cut visible. There's also a little dirty patch on the edge of his white ear (same side), which I suspect is a small injury too. Piper is clearly a menace to society with his hard-drinking, roustabouting, bar-brawling ways.
Since I'm awake anyway, a poem. Amphibrachic tetrameter because I can.
Country Road Meeting
An Anglian roadway in whistling November.
No sign of the taxi; no signal, no money,
A cardie from Primark 'tween her and the weather,
Suspecting she'll come to regret the stilettos.
Some headlights: the taxi? She moves to the hedgerow
And hopes she'll be visible. Funny, no engine.
It comes round the corner; she shivers. What is it?
It looks like a calf but it's burly and shaggy
And looking at her with those luminous eyeballs!
Its claws make no clicking, no noise on the roadway;
No steam from its muzzle. It's not even breathing.
"If this is a pisstake," she mumbles, "it's working."
It passes her swiftly, the muscular creature,
So close she could touch it. You're kidding. She doesn't.
Intent on its business, it wholly ignores her.
A roar from behind makes her jump. A Fiesta
With spoiler and skirts and a strip light beneath it.
A hundred and fifty or more, never slowing,
It bombs down the roadway, so close it could touch her.
The dog—was it hit? Where's it gone? Shit, she's blinded.
She rubs at the afterglow, loses a contact.
The car's disappeared and, it seems, so's the creature.
No body. No impact. No blood. Must have dodged it.
Her sobs become mist as she turns and examines
The tracks of the tyres in the place she was walking.
A few minutes later, the cab driver finds her.
A-standing on my tippy-toes,
As sentry I am thorough:
And if a whiff should meet my nose
My pointy face will furrow,
I'll bark to rouse you out your doze
And scamper for my burrow.
I know, I know, requires American pronunciation. (For English, spell it furro' and burro'.) And a bit of "bad English for the sake of meter" that needs fixing. No prizes for answering this correctly, but don't look in the comments until you've worked it out if you don't want spoilers.
Written this morning for a mate's birthday.
Riddle 2008:1, 25 Oct 2008
Shiny and brown in the face,
Headstrong and tough in our cups,
Heavily falling from grace—
Found among apples and cats,
Fattening piglings and bears,
Squirreled away 'til we hatch.
I know, I know, imperfect rhyme. No prizes for answering this correctly, but don't look in the comments until you've worked it out if you don't want spoilers.
Written last week for a roleplay board.
I Want a Dog
There's a hole
in my soul
in the shape of a Schnauz
er and thus
I will fuss
and perform lots of pouts.
There's a gap
in my lap
that would fit a retriev
er; my knees
this perpetual peeve.
Written for "Vinzin" on the Jack art exchange board, about his character.
You wonder why I think before I speak,
and spend my moments staring at the sky
across the park or hanging by the creek;
I'm really not an extroverted guy…
My foxy eyes are seeking out a ledge,
a rail, a handhold, routes from there to here.
You wonder why I walk so near the edge?
I ever tell you how I lost this ear?
I'm plotting out the most efficient ways—
a forward flip, a roll to break my fall—
you wonder what I'm thinking while I gaze.
You cannot see the way. You see the wall.
I cannot stand restraint. I need to be:
I'm only Vinzin when I'm running free.
(Spot the evil parkour pun.)
(Written for work's newsletter.)
Frequently Barked Questions
18 July 2008
Thus far I've no sightings of hounds to report,
nor ominous howls in the night.
No shoes have gone missing, no threatening notes,
no relatives perished from fright.
I'll not move to Dartmoor; I'm not keen on bogs.
A city pooch still, after all—
and I keep my address, for my housemates have baulked
at restyling it "Baskerville Hall".
White expanse of fur
Summer moult sprawls open-legged
Licking its fat self
This is not a proper haiku with serious haiku-ingredients, although it does happen to contain a season.
10 June 2008
An asphalt rambler, thumbnail-scale
with tentacles a-waggle:
this is, I have to tell you, snail,
a silly place to straggle.
I stoop and, plucked, you soar and land.
I fondly beg your pardon;
you'd thank me, could you understand.
Enjoy your nice new garden.
Draft #1 written for Erin for no apparent reason. It was edited with help from the WritingFeedback bods (because, aptly, it needed a lot of rescuing itself).
My package arrived so I can post this up here too:
12 May 2008
for Erin, who is sick
In the end, what most surprised me
was that anything could graze
on the morning-jewelled blueness,
on that field of summer baize.
But I saw them shake their fleeces
and I think I heard them bleat,
so there must be something up there
for those airborne sheep to eat.
A fence, my sweet!—why, what's a fence?—
a mere eight feet of paling wood.
It's nothing but—you smell so good—
a minor inconvenience—
I've bested worse. The other day
I beat a pit bull and his four,
no, seven cronies, left 'em sore
and yelping. Honest. Look this way—
just sniff me! Don't I drive you wild?
Come on! Ignore these other guys!
I'm strongest. Best. I love your eyes;
they're brown like liver. Bear my child!
We're spar-crossed lovers, you and I.
I wish this fence weren't quite so high.
Catching up with my backlog on the poem-a-week project, here first of all is Zenbunny's 'prize' poem, which I offered a while back to the first person to spot the hidden secret in Tactical Cat-Tricks.
Zen correctly spotted that every line contains the syllable "pi" or "per" alternating—and the poem is about a cat named Piper. (Read Zen's comment carefully.) I hope the following is prizelike enough for that startling bit of detectivework.
written 18 Mar 2008
Eyesight be damned: it's your spine that you'll miss.
Worst of infirmities coming with age.
(Cliché; one never believes them, and now…)
Joinings that stiffen and crackle on flexing
An effortful venture, the turn of a page.
My offspring—I've many, by numerous authors;
A marriage of minds, evolution of memes
(Barring the reprints, the spit of their dad)—
Slight disappointments, the lot of them. Written
In language so modern it dates within minutes.
A paperback culture. Disposable reams.
I unashamedly stole the structure from one of my old, old poems. This reads as awfully brief, but I can't make myself go back and pad it. Someone tell me if it sucks, please; I'm at the "can't look at it" stage.
I had a few thoughts about the other theme Zen suggested, so we may see a pumpkin poem showing up; no promises…
And the next one is for Cerhn.
completed 24 March 2008
From the wonderful wavering glass-bottled range
Of Montgomery P. Concolore,
Can discerning enquirers discreetly exchange
For their myriad ailments, a cure.
He has patented nostrums for fever and gout,
For neuralgia and asthma and mumps,
He's electrical girdles in case you are stout
And an ointment to spread on your lumps.
Just confide in this cat the amount of your ill
And elixirs he'll grant without fail—
And present you a neat little itemised bill
Which he'll sign with the tip of his tail.
Monty's fishberry tonic refreshes the brain
Though with adverse effects on the breath,
While his ligament liniment soothes every sprain—
And he claims he can cure even death.
Gingivitis and ulcers Montgomery treats
With a poultice of olives and tar;
Disquisitions he'll give upon sugary sweets—
They have called him the feline Fauchard.
In a drab-coloured coat stands this pantherine sage;
He is white round the muzzle and ears.
But his youthful performance belies his great age
For he boasts over two hundred years.
He has troches for tetanus, bitters for boils
And some gauze for your knee, should you skin it.
Monty makes this great claim of his copious toils:
That a succour is born every minute.
How This One Came About:
Mutt mugged the lovely Cerhn and asked him to gissa theme.
"Mountain lion mountebanks?" suggested Cerhn.
"Catamount quackery! I'll give it a shot," said Mutt.
And there was much disbelief.
Writing this one was like pulling teeth, but I think it turned out ok in the end. I HAD to force "cat amount" in there somewhere, which was a nigh-impossible job given my structure. (Anapestic tetra/trimeter. I deliberately went for You are Old, Father William, only more strict with the line beginnings.)