Tag Archives: Puns

The Silence of the Iambs

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The Silence of the Iambs

Anapests sing lullabies while dactyls gallop on.
Trochees beat a drum beat that’s heard hither and yon,
but raindrops speak in iambs, dripping from the eaves
as the torrent lessens and cups itself in leaves.
All the small feet hushed now, we can fall asleep.
We can find our dreams inside a silence that’s so deep.

 

The title, by the way, is talking about iambs, not lambs.  Hard to tell when it is capitalized.

The loud rhythms of the unseasonal rain that awakened me so early this morning have ceased, leaving only the faint drip of water off the eaves. This poem may be one that only another poet could appreciate, but for those of you who aren’t poets and who didn’t pay attention in your lit class, it is about metrical feet—the syllable rhythms within a poem and even within our everyday speech and nature itself.  A trochee (the rhythm of a native American drumbeat replicated in the poem “Hiawatha”) is an accented or long syllable followed by a short one. An iamb is the rhythm in the English we speak every day––a short syllable followed by a long one. An anapest is the rhythm of a lullaby. (short short long) whereas a dactyl (the rhythm of a horse’s gallop) is its opposite (long short short).

 

The prompt today is silent.

Con-fusion

  • Marilyn Armstrong challenged me to write a poem based on this quotation:


    “We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

    –General Douglas MacArthur

    General Con-fusion

    If he advances while retreating,
    is throwing up just reverse eating?
    Can he freeze ice cubes by unheating?
    Is standing up simply unseating?
    I didn’t litter. I’m un-neating.
    When we press clothes, are we  de-pleating?
    He left , so are we now un-meeting?

Sticking to the Text

The Prompt: Bad Signal—Someone’s left you a voicemail message, but all you can make out are the last words: “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.” Who is it from, and what is this about?

“Corpus linguistics reflects the shift in academic focus from the brain
to the text as the appropriate source of information.”

Sticking to the Text

Mister tall, dark and handsome has left me in the lurch,
standing at the altar in my little hometown church.
My friends are all around me and my niece clutches her flowers.
The guests have entered all their pews ‘neath ribbon-bedecked bowers.
My bridesmaids stand around me in their pastel-colored gowns,
My father close beside me, all their faces swathed in frowns.

I have my cellphone with me in a special little pocket
sewn into my wedding dress beneath my granny’s locket.
It buzzes reassuringly. I know it is my love.
I fumble as I strip my hand of bracelet and of glove.
I reach into my bodice and switch my cellphone on.
I notice that my mother is looking sort of wan.

I ask at once if it’s my groom and if he will soon come.
“The guests are restless, dear, I say, and father’s looking glum.”
But it is not my true love talking. Rather, it’s his brother.
(The one I’ve always loved the most, though I would wed another.)
He voice-texts me he’s sorry, but I’m making a mistake.
His brother’s a philanderer, a scoundrel and a rake

who really loves another­—a lowlife moll named Ruth.
He says he’s tied him up for now ‘til I can hear the truth.
Their plans are just to bilk me, to steal my money and
make off with it together once he has claimed my hand.
He’s so sad he has to relate this, he tells me with a sigh.
“I should have told you months ago,” he adds, and then says, “Bye.”

The guests sit in stunned silence, for they’ve all overheard.
I hear a mourning dove call out—a most appropriate bird.
My father begins sputtering. My mom says not a word.
My bridesmaids begin fluttering. The day has turned absurd!
I hit “reply” upon my phone and hear it dial him.
It rings and rings and with each one, this day becomes more grim.

But finally he answers and I ask one question of him.
I ask him what his motives were and tell him that I love him!
He answers that he loves me, too, but never guessed the truth.
To take away his brother’s girl just seemed to him uncouth.
But now that he’d found out their plan, he couldn’t let me wed him.
He couldn’t stand to see me say my vows to him and bed him!

I asked him where he was just as he walked right up the aisle.
And love suffused my body to replace the shame and bile.
It mattered not a whit to me my groom had found another,
for I found a happier ending when I hitched up with his brother!
I’ll just let your imagination guess what happened next.
Just let me say I’ve always preferred sticking to the text!

 

Church Thrift Store

The Prompt: It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!

Church Thrift Store

Caught short by the rainy season, I should have known better.
Though I’d left home high and dry, I knew I’d soon be wetter.
Defenseless  in the downpour, I ducked into a store.
Just to get some shelter,  I rushed in through that door.

I felt that I was lucky as this store was full of stuff,
though finding what I needed might be sort of tough.
The store clerk shuffled up to me, though he could barely stand—
an umbrella just as old as him held up in his hand.

Lucky when I chanced upon this ancient wrinkled fella,
he happened to be carrying a really big umbrella!
I opened up my pocket book and located a fiver.
Now I wouldn’t spend this day wet as a scuba diver!

But when I left that thrift store with my practical new find,
I found that I was actually in the same old bind.
For opening up my parasol, I uttered “What the heck?”
As rivulets of water ran down my head and neck.

The purchase I’d just made, I found, would be no help at all.
I hadn’t noticed that the shop was St. Vincent de Paul.
The fault was no one else’s.  I know it was mine, solely.
I should have realized sooner that my purchase would be holy!

(Please note: St. Vincent de Paul is a secondhand store run by the Catholic Church.)