Tag Archives: rhymed poetry

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.

Multiplication Fable

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Multiplication Fable

We were to memorize if able
the whole multiplication table.
I learned the ones to sixes fine,
yet still have trouble with seven through nine.
So when the cents approach a dime,
I always have an awful time.

It was during chicken pox
(when I, attired in gloves and sox
was simply trying to score an itch)
that my math skills developed a hitch.
As others mastered seven through nine,
I was there at home, supine.

Six times seven’s forty-two.
that’s the last sum I easily do.
Six times eight is forty eight–
determined after some debate.
But six times nine or nine times six
always leaves me in a fix.

Sixty-three, perhaps, or more.
Could it instead be sixty-four?
At nine times eight I’m surely lost.
Those sums I should have had embossed
upon my wrist in a tattoo.
These long delays just will not do.

I breathe a sigh when once again
the multiplier ends up as ten.
Ten is easy, so I strut
as I just add a zero, but
as I stumble through its next-of-kin,
I approximate, then write it in.

 

The prompt today was memorize.

Rhyming Violation

The prompt word today is rhyme.

 

Rhyming Violation

There is a reason and a rhyme
to the word they chose this time.
For though I am not in my prime
and don’t play tennis, do not climb
or stoop too low to conquer grime,
In any terrain, any clime,
my mind spins like a twirling dime.
If over-rhyming were a crime,
I’d probably be doing time.

 

(If you are a glutton for punishment, yes, you can click on these to enlarge them.)

 

Kukla’s Story

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I, Kukla, testify that the tale you are about to hear, narrated by me and transcribed by my mom, is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, tuna.

(But first, a few words from Judy.) After reading an account of Murdo Girl’s trip to my old stomping grounds in South Dakota narrated by one of her dogs, I harangued her to let her cat narrate a tale as well. Voicing some objections to this, being that her cat can be a contrary soul, she finally assented and her cat told an interesting story showing none of that contrary nature suggested by her mom, who is prone to exaggeration, I must say. Since then, she has been similarly haranguing me to allow one of my kittens to tell a tale. So, fresh from a nap, I went in and grabbed Kukla from the pile and let her narrate to me this true story of what happened the night of my film night. I will stay out of it except to warn you against inviting even writing friends over to see the film about Emily Dickinson entitled “A Quiet Passion.”  Much as I like her poetry, this film was a depressing YAWN!!! Kukla’s tale, I hope, has more energy. Okay, here it is, straight from the cat’s maw:

Kukla’s Story

As I was wrestling with another,
our two-footed human mother
came to take my brother outside
to the sala where her friends reside
to sit there, bored and subtly snoring
as they watched a film as boring
to humans as it was to cats.
Edgy and restless, I guess that’s
why he jumped down from her chair
and scooted himself out of there.

The next act of the status quo
occurred as they prepared to go.
She thought she’d put him back inside
the guest bedroom where we reside
and certainly this may be so.
We were all sleeping, so didn’t know.
But shortly after their departing
(with much stopping and restarting)
after she had shut the gate
and come inside to cogitate
on the film “A Quiet Passion,”
regretting it, as was her fashion,
there came a huge great caterwauling––
yowling, quieting, rising, falling––
in the front yard. Some creature bitten?
Could it be an escaped kitten?

We heard her open wide the door
and give a certain panicked roar
as was her wont—a silly ditty
comprised of “Kitty, kitty, kitty?”
And what she later then related,
as soon as her query abated,
a cat like us, but bigger, tore
out from the shadows and past the door.

It must have been our feline mother
for why would it have been another?
Who abandoned us here months ago
and went where errant mom cats go
once that they have vamanoosed
from the kittens they’ve produced.
She streaked across to disappear
into the shadows that were near,
two-legged mother most surprised
for she had always just surmised
our mother was the big white cat
who had appeared months before that
fine day when we climbed up her wall––
so small to climb a vine that tall.

But this cat I have heard her say––
the one that came just yesterday––
Looked exactly like we four
as she streaked quickly by the door.
And when two-legged mother started
to close the door, one more full-hearted
yowling pealed out from the left.
It was Ollie, lost and bereft.
Somehow he’d made his way outside
and chosen just to cower and hide
until four-footed mother appeared
to warn that other mother who’s reared
us all from little lumps of fur––
who nourishes and makes us purr.

Could it be that that first mother of all––
who nursed us all when we were small––
has been watching as we grew?
Watching all we say and do?
Being sure the one she chose
deals with all our needs and woes?

Two-footed mother will never know
that it is true that it is so.
We have two mothers watching us––
enjoying all our leaps and fuss.
And in the absence of a padre,
they have conspired to co-madre.

IMG_0387I, Ollie, testify as to the veracity of Kukla’s relation of this tale. It was a harrowing night out there in the wilds. I was too agitated to tell the tale myself.

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Writing is exhausting so I had a little nap as mom polished the tale, dotting all the i’s, closing all the parentheses, spellchecking the caterwauls.

Glaring Error (Peroxide Blues)

 

Glaring Error
(Peroxide Blues)

When she showed up in her new hair,
her friends could hardly stand the glare.
For though she hoped to gain some highlights,
when she stood under the skylights
and shook her head, each brilliant tress
seen without shades could cause duress.
The head she’d chosen to imbue
had turned out such a vivid hue
that every time the power failed,
she was the first one people hailed,
for when the current ceased to flow
her locks still gave off such a glow
that dinner parties could feed by it
and book clubs chose to read by it.
So ladies, heed my warning well.
When dying, please be sure to tell
your hairdresser to watch her throttle
and resist using the whole bottle.

 

The prompt today was glaring.

Shimmering Locks

I found this poem written a year and a half ago that perfectly reflects today’s prompt word  shimmer. Since I had totally forgotten it, you probably have, too, so please read below:

lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

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Locks

Locked up in my bedchamber. More than I can bear.
The beauty of my countenance, the shimmer of my hair
do me no good for no prince charming comes to find me here.
I will go unmarried––for my whole life, I fear.

My father thinks he honors me. I am his special treasure.
He worries not about my fate.  He thinks not of my pleasure.
I am but one more lovely thing he keeps for his collection––
admired for my golden locks, my flawless pale complexion.

I care not for beauty.  I care not for my tresses.
I do not treasure jewels or slippers or my ornate dresses.
A husband and a family are all that I desire.
A simple life’s the sort of life that I most admire.

From my window I look out upon the broad King’s Highway.
All roads must converge here––every path and byway.
And so I see…

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Dental Retaliation

 

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Dental Retaliation

Do you remember toothbrushes lined up on a rack
in the medicine cabinet, at the mirror’s back?
Your father’s brush was ocean blue, your mother’s brush was green,
your sister’s brush the reddest red that you had ever seen,
whereas your brush’s handle had no color at all—
as though it was the ugliest sister at the ball.

How you yearned for color, reaching for your brush
as the first summer’s meadowlark called to break the hush
of the early morning while you were sneaking out
to be the first one out-of-doors to see what was about.
Making that fast decision, your hand fell on the red,
thinking your sister wouldn’t know, for she was still abed.

You put toothpaste upon it, wet it at the tap
and ran the brush over each tooth as well as every gap.
Each toothbrush flavor was different, your older sis had said,
so you thought it would be different brushing your teeth with red.

Your father’s brush was blueberry, your mother’s brush was mint.
Your sister’s luscious cherry—its flavor heaven-sent.

“But because you are adopted,” your sister had the gall
to tell you, “they gave you the brush with no flavor at all.”
You waited to taste cherries, but that taste never came.
That red brush tasted like toothpaste. It tasted just the same
as every other morning when you brushed with yours.
You heard your sister stir upstairs, the squeaking of the floors.

You toweled off her toothbrush and hung it in the rack
and started to run out the door. Then something brought you back.
You opened up the mirror and grabbed her brush again.
A big smile spread across your face—a retaliatory grin.
The dread cod liver oil stood on the tallest shelf.
You were barely big enough to reach it for yourself.

You dipped her toothbrush in it, then quickly blew it dry.
Replaced it, shut the cabinet, and when you chanced to spy
your own reflection in the glass, each of you winked an eye.
Then you ran out to cherry trees to catch the first sunbeam
and brush your teeth with cherries while you listened for her scream.

Yes, we really did have a cherry orchard behind our house. You can see the trees peeking up behind the wild rose bushes directly behind the trellis in the picture above. This is my older sister Patti and I.  Yes, she really did tell me I was adopted. (I wasn’t.) No, I never did smear her toothbrush with cod liver oil. The retaliation part is just a mental one, sixty-some years too late, I’m afraid. She has since redeemed herself.

The prompt today is toothbrush.