Thursday, December 17, 2009


Senator Al Franken

Thank goodness for Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect, who gets us all writing at the beginning of the week with her Monday Poetry Stretches. This week, she brought the clerihew back for an encore. In the comments field there, you can see the doozie written by Elaine Magliaro about Senator Max Baucus, (you can also read it at her terrific blog, Political Verses.) Elaine understands the off-kilter rhythm of the clerihew, one of the important elements that makes the form funny.

Last year at just about this time I posted my thinking about what a clerihew needs to do. I'm going to follow Elaine's lead and go political. If you haven't see Al Franken confront Senator Thune, I'm sure it will be all over YouTube by the time you read this. Here are my Poetry Stretch clerihews for 2009:

Fightin' Al Franken
gave some Senators a spankin' -
Tonight watchin' the T and V:


Senator Joe Lieberman
is a true believer when
he says, "Well, if you're not wealthy,
just try harder to stay healthy."

The Poetry Friday round-up this week is being hosted by Susan over at Susan Writes. Check it out!

Friday, December 11, 2009


In response to this new article , this poem:


The earth revolves around the sun.
Here's proof:
a telescope,
two Galilean fingers in a cup,
one tooth
(and don't forget that vertebra
in Padua.)

Diane Mayr is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up today
on her lovely blog, RANDOM NOODLING.
Check out what other people have posted.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009



Only two more days to bid on items in Vermont College of Fine Arts' Hunger Mountain Holiday Fundraising Auction. And by items, I mean manuscript critiques with authors, agents and editors, as well as signed letterpress broadsides. It's only a click away, so click now. Bidding ends Saturday morning, PST. Included in the list are full-novel (250 pages) critiques with former Front Street editor and publisher and namelos founder Stephen Roxburgh, YA author and Printz medalist An Na (currently going for $149 - gad!!!!), YA & Middle Grade Author Carrie Jones, and the sweet guy pictured above, Tim Wynne-Jones, winner of the Governor General's Award of Canada, the Edgar for Best YA Mystery and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award  - who wouldn't want to get manuscript advice from Tim Wynne-Jones???  Apparently quite a few people feel the same way - his critique is a hot item, and it's going to raise some nice money for Hunger Mountain! You can figure out why if you look carefully at his photo. See the sparkle in those eyes? That's Tim - sparkle, wit, writing acumen, good soul, much-loved Advisor in the Writing for Children MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.   Be brave - bid for Tim! And if you haven't checked Hunger Mountain out yet, definitely go over to their website - the editors are doing wonderful things with it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Poetry Friday: Heartache and Poppies

Scottish Soldier in the Trenches WWI

Battle of the Somme, WWI

Soviet Soldier, Afghanistan

American Soldier, Afghanistan

I'm more than a little depressed about Obama's speech on Tuesday. I just wish we could get our troops out of Afghanistan - there's a reason it's called "The Graveyard of Empires." I keep reading what the Soviet Union said at comparable stages of its long, demoralizing conflict in Afghanistan, and it sounds almost word for word like what we're hearing from our generals now, and from the White House. So for Poetry Friday I'm going to link to three videos over at YouTube that I hope people will watch. All are songs, the lyrics of which are poems, so I'm not too far off track, right?  Listen to and watch the Sarah Brightman first. It breaks your heart.

American Soldiers, Afghanistan

Here is Sarah Brightman (singing Pie Jesu from Requiem)
Bruce Springsteen (singing Pete Seeger's Bring 'Em Home)
John McDermott (singing The Green Fields of France)

Here are lyrics to The Green Fields of France

Well how do you do, young Willie McBride,
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside,
And rest for a while 'neath the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done.

I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen,
When you joined the great fallen in 1916.
I hope you died well, and I hope you died clean.
Or young Willie McBride, was it slow and unseen?

Did they beat the drums slowly,
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound a death march, as they lowered you down?
Did the band play the last post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest?

Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart, is your memory enshrined?
And though you died back in 1916,
In that faithful heart, are you forever nineteen?

Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Enclosed now forever behind the glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and battered and stained,
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame?


The sun how it shines on the green fields of France.
There's a warm summer breeze makes the red poppies dance.
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds.
There's no gas, no barbed wire, there're no guns firing now.

But here in this graveyard, it's still No Man's Land,
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
To a whole generation that were butchered and damned.


Aye, Willie McBride, I can't help wondering why
Did those who lie here know why did they die?
Did they really believe when they answered the cause,
Did they really believe that this war would end wars?

The sorrow, the sufferin', the glory, the pain
The killing and dying were all done in vain.
For young Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Did they beat the drums slowly,
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound a death march, as they lowered you down?
Did the band play the last post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest?

Did they beat the drums slowly,
Did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound a death march, as they lowered you down?
Did the band play the last post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the flowers of the forest?

Siegfried Sassoon's Gravestone

American Soldier Speaking to Civilians in Afghanistan


Elaine Magliaro hosts the Poetry Friday round-up today. 
Thanks, Elaine!