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Showing posts from February, 2012

Cheese Poem Winners

On January 12, 2012, I put out a challenge to respond to this quote: "Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." --G.K. Chesterson.


The winners are Ed Pacht, Hope Rapson and Jordan Romain (Grade 10).

Ed Pacht sent his submission with this note, "Chesterton may or may not have realized the effect his words would have, but they have often been taken as a challenge, and I have seen a number of poems about cheese from a variety of poets, all responding to him. This is my second such piece."


Spoiled Milk

Spoiled milk is what it is,
emulsion broken, gone to pot,
curdled in an ugly mess,
ready, one would think to be disposed,
garbage, maybe fit for pigs,
but not for drink,
not for stirring in a drink,
or pouring on a bowl of grains,
or making smooth white sauce.
Spoiled, wasted, gone, or is it?
Like so many lives that seem destroyed,
that seem beyond all hope,
beyond redemption or reclaim,
wasted, to be forgot,
the future of spoiled milk still remain…

"Build your verse a ladder"

Poetry for Supper



'Listen, now, verse should be as natural
As the small tuber that feeds on muck
And grows slowly from obtuse soil
To the white flower of immortal beauty.'


'Natural, hell! What was it Chaucer
Said once about the long toil
That goes like blood to the poem's making?
Leave it to nature and the verse sprawls,
Limp as bindweed, if it break at all
Life's iron crust. Man, you must sweat
And rhyme your guts taut, if you'd build
Your verse a ladder.'


'You speak as though
No sunlight ever surprised the mind
Groping on its cloudy path.'


'Sunlight's a thing that needs a window
Before it enters a dark room.
Windows don't happen.'


So two old poets,
Hunched at their beer in the low haze
Of an inn parlour, while the talk ran
Noisily by them, glib with prose.


-- R. S. Thomas

Happy Valentine Day!

Behold how the Father loves the Son!




I am persuaded that nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love that God has revealed to us in Jesus Christ.

E.A. Robinson's Poem Miniver Cheevy

Miniver Cheevy



Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.


Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would send him dancing.


Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam's neighbors.


Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.


Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.


Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing:
He missed the medieval grace
Of iron clothing.


Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.


Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called …

Commissioned Work Can be Rejected

Alice C. Linsley



Recently a former writing student of mine was asked to submit poems for a project at his university.  There was to be a small sum paid for the work, which he undertook with great enthusiasm.  His poems are edgy and enjoyed by the students, but the administration had concerns.  The work was not published in the end. However, he was allowed to keep the advance payment.

Appearances are so important for private institutions!  Keep this in mind when writing.  It is very difficult to find that balance which preserves the integrity of your poem and honors the concerns of those commissioning your work.  Even finding the balance doesn't guarantee that your poems will be used.  If you are lucky, your work will be published, and if you are not published, don't accept money to NOT publish. If they are willing to pay you to hide your work, you have written something that needs to come to light.

Poets become discouraged when our work is rejected.  It happens even to commiss…

Suburban Play

Cheerful children prance on plush green grass,
Frolic in the afternoon brightness.

Two engrave their initials on a gnarly trunk,
Savor young love and the moment.

Parents gaze contentedly at their spouses.
Excited children squeal in the culdesac.

A kickball soars over the roof,
Luminous in the late day sun.

The little ones hide in obvious places,
Impatient to be found.

The light fades into lavendar hues
And the street begins to empty.


--Jordan Romain (Grade 10)


Keats: On the Grasshopper and the Cricket

On the Grasshopper and the Cricket



The poetry of earth is never dead:

When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,

And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run

From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;

That is the Grasshopper's -- he takes the lead

In summer luxury -- he has never done

With his delights; for when tired out with fun

He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.

The poetry of earth is ceasing never:

On a lone winter evening, when the frost

Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills

The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,

And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,

The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.

-- John Keats