At Least to Me

Gertrude Stein
may have had a fine mind
but her poetry
is all “Jabberwocky,”
at least to me.
But wait a moment in time,
at least the “Jabberwocky”
had meter and rhyme.
Made up words
were words ingeniously combined
and written in iambic tetrameter,
with an “ABAB” rhyme scheme, quite fine.
So, Lewis Carroll’s poetry of nonsense
makes more sense
than the poetry of Gertrude Stein,
at least to me.

Are We Livers or Lovers?

My son-in-law sent me this really clever poem about plurals. Here is the link:

I sent the following back to him:

The poem was really clever
but not a cleaver,
or it would tear in two
and you might shed a tear
over what had torn, too.
It’s not a lever either
and the past of lever is not leaver
because you wouldn’t ever want to leave her.
And when a verb is singular
like none,
you shouldn’t say are
because that would be two
when there is none,
and the Nun would slap
your wrist with a ruler (but not a king), too.
Nun is single, never having married
and Nun singular;
that’s for sure
and her name before sister something
was Shirley and surely something, too.
And that’s all I could think to do
which is something I just did
and didn’t just dood, dude.
So here is my missal,
excuse me that’s for Nun.
but it should be for Catholic everyone.
I mean a missile;
oh, heaven forbid,
that’s explosive,
and would expel
and being expelled ain’t no fun for no one.
Well, it can’t be no fun for no one
because to be no fun it has to be no
fun for at least one someone or maybe everyone.
I think I mean missive,
so please don’t dis or alternate diss (which dis
is it — dis or dat? But it can’t be dis or dat;
is has to be this or that,
no I mean dis or this diss.)
my missive
and be dismissive
of my little ode to
the crazy language we all live with
and if I live with English
does that make me a liver of English?
I’d rather be thought of as a lover
of the crazy language which we all live with
but now I’m ending a sentence with
a preposition, and trying not to err,
my participle was left dangling
and I thought a gerund was a gerbil,
Oh, rats! Now I’m turning three shades of purple
and I’m about to explode or at least
split an infinitive, so it would behoove
me to really, surely get out of here
while I’m in the groove
before I hear the hooves of horses
running me down when someone
cries, “Giddy up,” which makes
me think the horses are getting happy
and now I’m just slap happy
even though my name is Bob
and I’m just bob, bob, bobbin’
along. So long.

Fruze and Gorse, Of Course*

It was gorse, of course
but was it furze first?
I’ll go with furze first
if only because “f” comes first
if only by one letter,
but doesn’t that make
the closeness all that much
By an inch, by a nano-second
furze is first and
gorse is second.
But then, they are so close
it is almost like seeing a yellow ghost
in the sand, they both do shine —
these flowers, the shrubs with the
prickly spines,
the ones I have in mind.
But be careful.
if the first one doesn’t prick you,
the second is just one letter behind.
So, if you are in a wasted place,
as we so often are,
watch your space
the pretty prickles can’t be far.
The flowers are lovely,
but it surely is a gamble,
to tussle with such a formidable bramble.

*I came across the word “furze”
in a poem, looked it up and
it is “any spiny shrub of the genus Ulex,
of the legume family, native to the Old World,
especially U. europaeus, having rudimentary
leaves and yellow flowers and growing in
waste places and sandy soil.”
Another word for the plant is gorse.

Our Backyard Birds Are Very Smart, a fun little ditty

Our beautiful, backyard birds are very smart.
How do I know this? Let’s start.
I put out the seed,
the birds to feed
and, because it is winter
they did not dither.
They devoured the feed
and looked for more seed.
Seeing the feeder empty
I decided to give them plenty.
As I was about to pour
seed through the open door,
I spied a “Keep It Fresh” packet,
where birds normally flitter and sit.
The seeds were all missing
but the untouched packet was there sitting.
Obviously, our birds have high IQs
having read the instructions through and through,
for upon the packet, once under birds’ feet
in three languages were the words, “Do Not Eat.”
Spanish, “No coma,” French, “No pas manger,”
so, the birds knew in eating there was danger.
I’m so proud of our birds;
I’ve almost run out of words,
so tomorrow with the next seeds
I’ll add a note in words known to Swedes
that says, “All seeds you may eat,”
and I’ll bet Swedish they read
because I won’t find any seed.
They may peck “Tack så mycket,” on the note
giving me an affirmative Swedish vote.

The Reverend’s Fall*

He knows that he is his worst enemy,
glad for one side of the fated coin,
the flip side glaring back at thee.
The mass of humans he’s refused to join.

He professes with one side of his mouth
how glad he is to embrace humanity,
but with the other side of the felled house,
he stares down with swollen vanity.

He says the devil made him do it all,
refraining from any ownership.
Adam, Eve and the snake caused the Fall,
but on his own ego does he trip.

Each Lord’s Day he ascends the pulpit high,
looking down upon the pathetic few.
He preaches the great love of Yahweh,
But the parishioners can see right through.

He quotes poets and prophets long dead.
He preens and basks in the stained-glass light.
The flock only see the vanity flowing instead.
Not much longer will his star be bright.

They know he seduced an elder’s wife;
from the pulpit his fortunes are receedin’,
The judgment will pierce him like a knife.
Now his fortune will be East of Eden.

*based loosely on a character in a book by
William H. Gass

Out of Print

As a campus minister at a state school
in the seventies, he and his colleagues
would hold retreats for students. One
retreat was on representative democracy
from a Christian perspective. There was
a fun reality game on the benefits and
necessity of compromise while main-
taining integrity. It gave the students
something to think about when it came
to representative governing. Looking
at the political scene in 2018, it
seems the game went out of print.