sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

Posts tagged ‘poems’

A couple of poems about jokes, plus the jokes

Here are  poem, but before you read it, here are the three jokes I mention:

Mathematician, Physicist, and Engineer:

In the high school gym, all the girls in the class were lined up against one wall, and all the boys against the opposite wall. Then, every ten seconds, they walked toward each other until they were half the previous distance apart.

A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer were asked, “When will the girls and boys meet?”

The mathematician said: “Never.”

The physicist said: “In an infinite amount of time.”

The engineer said: “Well…in about two minutes, they’ll be close enough for all practical purposes.”

Violinist at the pearly gates:

A violin player dies and goes to heaven.  At the pearly gates he is
handed a beautiful new violin and invited to play in the Orchestra of
Heaven, a rehearsal of which is about to begin.  He sits down and
begins warming up.  After a while, a little old man with an unruly
mane of white hair steps up on the podium and begins waving his arms
wildly.  "Who's that?" the new violinist asks his stand partner.  "Oh,"
replies his partner, "that's just God.  He likes to think he's von
Karajan."  

And here is the golf joke:

Jesus and Moses are playing golf in Heaven when they come to the par-three 17th hole, a long carry over water to an island green. Moses tees off with a 3-wood and hits the green. Jesus takes out his 5-iron and says, "I'm going to hit a 5-iron because Arnold Palmer would hit a 5-iron from here." 

 Jesus tees it up and hits a lofted iron shot that finishes 25 yards short of the green and in the water. 



 Jesus shrugs and starts walking on the water to where his ball went in. Just then, a foursome approaching the tee box sees Jesus walking on the water. 

 One of them asks Moses, "Who does that guy think he is, Jesmus Christ?" 

 Moses turns and says, "No, he thinks he's Arnold Palmer!" 

and finally, the poem:

 

Silly Season

 

“Do you remember

any jokes, Mom?”

My six-year-old

stares at me.

 

Violinist at the Pearly Gates?

Jesus golfing?

Mathematician,  physicist,

and  engineer? Nah.

 

Anything we told each other

as kids is politically incorrect.

“Besides lightbulb jokes.”

He’s heard those.

 

“No,”  I say.

“I don’t.”

An explanation, and another poem:

Many years ago, I heard a joke told by a friend (he was German) about a Frenchman, an Englishman, and a German. All three are supposed to be executed by being guillotined. The guillotine malfunctions, and the Frenchman and the Englishman are spared.

The punchline is something like:

 

So the executioner raised his axe, but before he could cut the rope, the German yelled out:

“WAIT! I see what the problem is!”

sandcartoon

Thus the following poem of mine:

 

 

Fixing the Guillotine

Remember the joke

about three men

about to be executed?

 

The Frenchman and Englishman

are spared, but alas,

the German is an engineer.

I actually submitted some poems for publication and they were accepted

.. a couple of them, anyway.

Lvegetation   Like many writers, I’d rather be writing, so I’m often lazy about submitting. Recently, however, I had two poems published. One I submitted and had accepted last fall, and another I submitted recently.

“When I kick the Bucket,” was written several years ago. The title comes from a phrase my father used frequently growing up. In it, I imagine my own funeral. The name of the funeral home is one that was close to where I grew up in Manhattan, and the people mentioned in the poem are real members of my family.It appears in Lighten Up Online, an online humor zine. Here is the link: http://www.lightenup-online.co.uk/index.php/issue-34-june-2016/1008-margaret-fieland-when-i-kick-the-bucket

The next one, “Faded Glory,” appears in the spring issue of a new online journal, Eclipse180. I submitted a set of four poems that spoke to the theme of war, and the editor liked all of them. Her favorite, “Faded Glory,” appears in the spring issue. I’m hopeful that the other three will appear in the summer issue, which is not yet out.

My middle son served in the army and did two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He signed up for the Army Reserve during his junior year in high school. He went through basic training during the summer between his junior and senior years in high school, and served in the reserve during his senior year. He received a ROTC scholarship and entered the army as an officer — a very junior lieutenant — after graduation. All four poems I submitted were written when he was serving overseas.

Here is the link to the site. You can click on the link for the spring issue. My poem is the last one in that issue. http://eclipse180.wix.com/spring2016

 

 

"UFOs"

UFOswrite-pic

They call them UFOs,
unfinished objects.

Is there anything sadder
than projects left half-done?

Maybe its projects planned, not started?
The kits still enclosed in plastic,
paints unopened, canvas untouched.

Even sadder, projects brought this close
to completion, but never quite finished.

With a bottom drawer of neglected manuscripts,
fishing tackle box containing pastels barely used,
containers of unopened Mod Podge,
the aforementioned Christmas cross-stitch kits,
never to be stitched, at least by me.

Who am I to talk?
Who am I to talk?

 

 

~~~

 

Using stanzas to enhance your poetry

A few months back, I took an online songwriting course  with Pat Pattison. The course was given  by http://www.coursera.org an organization that allows anyone to enroll in free, online, university-level courses given through a number of institutions of higher learning.

One of the most interesting things I took away from the course was the notion of stable versus unstable. He argues that the number of lines, the line length contribute to the verse feeling either resolved (stable) or not (unstable). Even numbers of lines feel stable, uneven lines unstable.

So here is an experiment with a poem of mine.  Here is the original:

Traveling Man’s Blues

blueroad

It used to be that all you’d need to travel round the states
was a couple hundred bucks and nerve to tempt the fates
by sticking out your thumb. Then you could cruise to anyplace.
I was bitten by the traveling man’s blues.

I hitchhiked up to ski country and there I learned to ski.
I found a real nice place to stay, at least it seemed to be,
but after just a month or three they all got tired of me.
Now I’m caroling the traveling man’s blues.

I moved on to Connecticut to swim in Candlewood Lake.
I camped out in the summer. In the fall I tried to break
into a cozy cabin. Boy, was that a big mistake!
Now I’m studying the traveling man’s blues.

They threw me in the slammer for a year or two or three.
That was the end of traveling for quite some time for me,
but I’ll be out of here real soon. And then, to where? We’ll see.
I’m stilling mastering the traveling man’s blues.
and here is a version with three line stanzas

Traveling Man’s Blues

It used to be that all you’d need to travel round the states
was a couple hundred bucks and nerve to tempt the fates
by sticking out your thumb. Then you could cruise to anyplace.

I hitchhiked up to ski country and there I learned to ski.
I found a real nice place to stay, at least it seemed to be,
but after just a month or three they all got tired of me.
I moved on to Connecticut to swim in Candlewood Lake.
I camped out in the summer. In the fall I tried to break
into a cozy cabin. Boy, was that a big mistake!
They threw me in the slammer for a year or two or three.
That was the end of traveling for quite some time for me,
but I’ll be out of here real soon. And then, to where? We’ll see.
I’m stilling mastering the traveling man’s blues.

 

 

Looking back on November: Poem a day

Again this year I participated in Robert Lee Brewer’s November Poem A Day challenge. The poems are supposed to form a chapbook, but I wasn’t aiming for that. I simply wanted to write poetry.

My muse has been in an un-serious mood most of the month. I’ve done a lot of rhyming and a lot of, well …

Here are a couple of poems:

Poetic Formless

Dust like stars. Any storm in a port. The eye of my apple. Dust the bite.  Blind a turned eye. Fuse a blow. Worm an open can. A death worse than fate. Ice the break. Knot the tie. A society of pillars.

Moons with rock piles made of diamonds, worlds of water where huge ships sail, never reaching shore, jungles full of purple cows, green tigers, and yellow elephants, dragons, fairies two feet tall, ten-foot-tall giants, magic wands, movies that turn themselves on with a blink of an eye.

My car sprouts helicopter wings. I look down on the cars lined up on route 95 as it winds through downtown Providence, and I open my mouth and sing, loudly, beautifully on pitch, remembering all the words.

The Truth about Truth

I desire a Truth
in my Christmas stocking.
Instead, in my head,
I hear a voice mocking.

“Truth’s much too fat
to be hung from a ledge
above a hot fire.”
Alas, though I pledge

she’ll never get burned,
she just shakes her large head.
Perhaps I will dream her
tonight in my bed.

She’ll plop on my blanket,
speak low in my ear.
I hope I’ll be able
to shut up and hear.

When He’s Gone

Alas, my laptop, Joe, is dead.
He tripped and fell right on his head.
The light went off. I almost cried,
the night my laptop, Joseph, died.

I had another laptop, Lou.
Unfortunately, he’s finished, too.
I spilled some coffee on his head,
and now my laptop, Lou, is dead.

Alas, I fear I’ll be offline
until November 12 at nine
AM when I return to work,
and leap onto my desktop, Kirk.

So for a time, I bid adieu
while I consider what to do:
to buy another or repair
or find someone who has a spare.

 

 

Persona Poems

English: Gwendolyn Brooks, Miami Book Fair Int...

Gwendolyn Brooks

Persona Poems

Persona poems are poems that are written in a voice other than that of the author, where the author pretends to be someone else. The first one I wrote was in response to a poetry writing exercise. The next one that I recall writing ended up in “Lifelines.” Since then, I’ve created two imaginary poets as part of the science fiction novels I’m writing, and written at least 30 poems by each of them.

Writing a persona poems involves getting inside the head of the narrator (or in my case, the supposed author of the poems). It’s kind of like acting a part in a play, except that the writer is creating their own dialogue.

One thing that surprised me in creating the two poets and writing in their voices was the ease with which I slipped inside their heads. The first poet I created, Raketh Namar, namesake of the main character in my novel Relocated, which will be available from MuseItUp publishing this coming July, was supposed to live and write 5,000 years before the action in the novel, and was the author of one of the most sacred texts of my aliens, the Aleynis. I don’t usually write prayers or write about spiritual subjects, yet I found myself writing them without difficulty.  This past November I created another poet, Constance Trusdatter, a very political poet who lives and writes about 100 years before the action of my current work in progress, another science fiction novel with some of the same characters as the first. I don’t usually write much about politics, yet a good number of Constance’s poems are strongly worded poems about this very subject.

Here is a persona poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, one of my favorite poets.The young girl’s voice, her longing, and her desire to be  bad come through so clearly.

Notice the pattern of two unrhymed lines followed by two lines with end rhymes, and how in the final stanza both pairs of lines rhyme.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172082

a song in the front yard

By Gwendolyn Brooks
I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.

I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play.
I want a good time today.

They do some wonderful things.
They have some wonderful fun.
My mother sneers, but I say it’s fine
How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine.
My mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae
Will grow up to be a bad woman.
That George’ll be taken to Jail soon or late
(On account of last winter he sold our back gate).

But I say it’s fine. Honest, I do.
And I’d like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace
And strut down the streets with paint on my face.

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Poetic Inspiration: Other People’s Poems

75px-Dragon_(PSF)

I love reading poetry. Not only does reading poetry expands my poetic horizons, butI constantly find inspiration in other’s work. Sometimes the subject touches a chord, sometimes I want to try out a particular poetic device, and sometimes — well — it awakens my playful side.

A couple of weeks ago, Robert Lee Brewer posted a “magic” prompt on his blog,
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides
and Mark Windham wrote a rip-roaring yarn involving a dragon and a brave hero.

I read Mark’s poem. After bopping myself over the head for having overlooked such a delightful subject, I wrote a poem of my own.

Here they are: first Mark’s poem and then my own.

Mark’s Poem

 (so far untitled)

Damn, but dragon hide is sturdy stuff,
My lance broken, horse dead or run off.
My shield was busted by a swipe of tail,
Helmet went flying and left arm broken.
Our foolishly brave troop is down to me plus three.
All hiding and rethinking our chivalrous vows.
Two have died from swipes of massive claws,
Three roasted in fiery breath, one ingested I fear.
Sitting here with my back against this boulder,
Wondering how in the hell to get out of this mess,
Pledging that the monastery will be my destination;
Damsels can stay in distress, the dragon keep his gold.
What’s this? A newcomer to our futility. Oh Joy!
Much help, I am sure, this old man trudging up the hill;
Stooped against the slope, leaning mightily on his staff,
Clothed in oversized robes and wide brimmed hat.
Halfway up the hill, just below my hiding place,
He is greeted by the dragon’s challenging roar.
Stopping, as if mildly distracted by a butterfly,
He looks from under his hat and strokes his beard.
I hear the now familiar mighty beating of dragon wings,
The old man seems unperturbed, as if studying the event.
Another roar accompanies feeling the heat of belched fire;
Much like seeing the executioners axe, I cannot look away.
Suddenly straightening with unexpected speed and strength,
He thrust his staff forward as the fire engulfs him….
What?! I saw it but do not believe! The dragon’s fire parted,
Passed him by on sides and above; not a singed hair in his beard.
There is a new tone now to the dragon’s cry; rage maybe? Fear?
The sorcerer takes a step forward, staff held high in right hand,
Steely eyed he begins raising the left as he starts chanting,
A white, glowing globe begins to form in his upheld hand.
Continuing his mumbling as he slowly takes two more steps,
Coming even with my spot as the globe grows and swirls.
Beating wings are deafening now as he thrust left hand forward,
Launching his magic at his monstrous, unsuspecting foe.
A brilliant, blinding explosion of light and a piecing scream….
I awake to his gentle hand on my arm; ‘Is it over? Is it dead?’
He smiles and shakes his head. ‘No, one does not kill a dragon.
You just have to convince it that it is time for it to move on.’
He stands and takes up his staff, a helpless old man once more,
And makes his way down the hill, carefully avoiding the rocks.
My remaining companions gather round and watch him go,
All somewhat surprised that he left us the damsel and the gold.

 

And here’s my response. I decided to make it as unlike Mark’s poem as I could manage.

 

A Tale of a Poor Knight and an Old Horse

by Margaret Fieland

A man rode out one two-moon night
to win a magic sword.
He rode a horse consumed by blight.
Twas all he could afford.

His clothing, all was soiled and worn
and filled with many holes.
The folks he passed heaped him with scorn
and pelted him with rolls.

His horse was soon quite out of breath
It stopped beneath a tree.
It said, “I feel quite near to death.
Please, master, set me free.”

The man then heaved humongous sighs
and shook a shaggy head.
He felt a measure of surprise
to see his horse had fled.

“Alas,” he said, “it’s much too late
for me to set you free.
I’m much too tired, at any rate,
to dig beneath this tree.”

And so our knight meandered home,
and still without a sword
“because”, he said, “it’s hard to roam
with what I can afford.”

Oh, yes, and a note on the importance of feedback. The initial version of this poem, the one on Robert Brewer’s blog, had the horse “fall dead” at the end of stanza three, but my fellow muselings felt sorry for the horse, and I agreed. Hence now we can all picture him enjoying the grass in some sunny pasture far from poverty stricken knights.

Do check out Mark’s blog:
Mark Windham
http://awakenedwords.wordpress.com/

and let us know what you think of the poems, and if you’re inspired to write one of your own.

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