Tag Archives: poetry

A Strange(r) Haiku

Back in the day this blog had poetry.
Poetry that we wrote ourselves.
Poetry that was inspired by the classic works we read: cinquain, acrostic, haiku, limerick, and even sonnets.

Why did we stop?
I suspect novel content.  Not novel as in new, but novel as in book.  The content of our books took a turn to the dark side, and it has felt wrong to craft poetic works about murder, greed, and infidelity.

Bleak subject matter or not, I am taking back poetry.


Mersault’s Haiku

Shooting on the beach
Why? The sun was in my eyes.
Guillotine for me.


Posted by on October 18, 2013 in The Stranger


Tags: , ,

Thar She Blows!

All hands on deck!  I spy more whales!
It’s time to share another used book sale find!

The book is called Tenggren’s Pirates, Ships, and Sailors.  Written by Kathryn and Byron Jackson, it’s ”A Golden Book” that was originally published in 1950.  Gustaf Tenggren is the illustrator.

The copy I found is from 1971 and with a cover like this… well, the book had to come home with me.

Pirates, Ships, and Sailors is heavy on the pirates, ships, and sailors, but I did find the following whaling poem with this fantastic illustration.

The Whale, the Whale
by Kathryn and Byron Jackson

 “Leave the salt sea to me!”
Says the whale.
Chase him–he’ll break up your boats                                Blowing his spout,
With his tail.                                                                       Rolling and tolling, big as a ship,
Seek him–he’ll hide                                                           With a whale of a smile
In the depths of the sea,                                                   On his whale of a lip!
Deep in the shadowy, fathomless sea,                             Sing out, “She blows!”
Down with the trembling anemone,                                  And then look out–
Down with the wrecks of ships                                         He’ll disappear with a flip of his tail,
He’ll hide.                                                                          “My terrible tail,”
Under the waves,                                                              Says the terrible whale.
Under the tide,                                                                  And he may come up twenty miles away,
“Deep in the dark salt sea!”                                              Or half a world,
Says the whale.                                                                Or a year and a day,
“Leave it to me, the dark salt sea;                                    Or never again in the bright salt sea.
Leave the salt sea to me!”                                                “It just might be,
Start for home, and he’ll rise again                                   You’ll never see me again in the sea!”
Up to the surface,                                                             Says the whale.

1 Comment

Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Moby-Dick


Tags: , ,

Topsy’s Cinquain

wicked, cunning
tumbling, whistling, pranking
never had a mother

Stowe ends chapter XX with this sentence about Topsy: “She is fairly introduced into our corps de ballet, and will figure, from time to time, in her turn, with other performers.”

Would you like to write your own cinquain about one of the “other performers” in
Uncle Tom’s Cabin?

 Here’s a simple version of the five-line poem.

one name
two adjectives
three -ing words
four word phrase or sentence
one word referring back to the title

Go ahead.  Write one.  You wouldn’t want Miss Ophelia to accuse you of being shiftless.


Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin


Tags: , , , ,

Close Your Eyes and Hear the Waves. And Ishmael.

According to people “in the know,”  Moby-Dick is even better if heard aloud.  Here’s Nathaniel Philbrick on the subject of Melville’s poetry,

Moby-Dick is a novel, but it is also a book of poetry.  The beauty of Melville’s sentences is such that it sometimes takes me five minutes or more to make my way through a single page as I reread words aloud, feeling the rhythms, the shrewdly hidden rhymes, and the miraculous way he manages consonants and vowels.

For more on Philbrick’s book Why Read Moby-Dick? check out this great post by our friend Adriana.  She helps buckle up your life jacket and preps you to jump into the whale-infested waters with us.

Then, pop over to LibriVox and you can listen to the entire novel read aloud for free.  It’s broken down by chapter chunks, so you can read a little, listen a little, reread what you’ve heard, or rehear what you’ve read.

I’m even thinking of pulling out one of the old baby swings to play some ambient ocean sounds and really set the mood.


Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Moby-Dick


Tags: , , , ,

Rhyme and Reason

sough –   n.  a soft, continuous, murmuring sound

Classical Usage:  Right before Jane meets Mr. Rochester for the first time as he takes a spill on the treacherous ice, she sits on the stile taking in peacefulness of the night.  “That evening calm betrayed alike the tinkle of the nearest streams, the sough of the most remote.”

Classically Mad Usage:  I’m going to have to work extra hard not to confuse this word with “slough” from Pilgrim’s Progress.  In order to keep them straight I’ve written a little poem.

Would you like to take a trip to the zoo?
It must be more fun than a dip in the slough;
For there may be cats, I’ve seen one or two
And you know what a cat is bound to do.

He emits a sound that warrants a “Wow!”
Not like a owl, or even a cow,
The soft hum I speak of, is not the cat’s meow,
It’s her purr, which is only a sough.


Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Jane Eyre


Tags: , , , , ,

Oliver’s Acrostic

Easy mark

Taken in


Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Oliver Twist


Tags: , ,

Lady C de B

Lady Catherine is condescending.
Her instructions are never-ending.
Questioning Lizzy,
gives her a tizzy.
For a son-in-law, she’s intending.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Pride and Prejudice


Tags: , , , ,