once was a lonely dragon:
Ethelbrute was his name.
His third hump was dearly sagin'
And his hind leg felt slightly lame.
lived in a time so old
No dragon was ever feared;
It was then, in fact, we've been told
That dragons were often cheered.
Ethelbrute changed the dragon's lot
Is not because he's mean:
He fell, as it were, when just a tot,
When his mother dropped his jelly bean.
who know dragon things will know this fact:
A dragon's egg is like a jelly bean; (1)
Tenderly trussed in a funny patch sack,
Hidden in her belly from the Jelly Bean Fiends.
who love to munch these beans today
Are the President's men and kings as such;
But the portly queens of Ethelbrute's day
Had appetites for beans our king's can't touch.
it was on a full moon's eve
A dragon would cross a hallowed moon;
And Queenie's guards would quickly leave
To chase jelly beans in Jelly Bean Balloons.
tale is told to dragons and us
Ethelbrute's mother was shot one night,
Flying around like Pegasus,
Dodging big balloons in the bright moon light.
balloonist's dart hit her funny patch latch,
Precisely where her jelly bean lay;
From the opened latch fell the Queenie's catch
Towards the balloonists jelly bean tray.
As trays were held in hands held high,
A gusty norther saved the bean;
It came to rest in the dart-filled sky
Midst a sparrow's home: a nest I mean.
dragon jelly bean egg fit well
Beside the sparrow's speckled eggs;
Though a little larger, you couldn't tell
It from the others 'neath the mother's leg's.
cuddled and loved he hatched one day
And grew among the sparrow flock;
His appetite grew too, to their dismay,
As he ate and ate around the clock.
day his tail fell from the nest
And frightened his brothers, now blown astray;
The home soon smashed beneath his breast
While the laden limb next gave away!
he was by the sparrow's chief,
He plied the forests all alone;
Sleeping in trees to everyone's grief,
And crashing to earth with a daily groan.
came to pass a hunt was called,
Ethelbrute was forced to flee afar;
Wherever he slept was a tree fallen, and appalled,
Angered townsmen awoke in the earth shaker's jar.
and lonely he sat one eve
Munching raw garlic upon a limb; (2)
Playing children below had to leave:
His garlic breath was too much for them.
one morn a woodsman's axe
Rose the dragon from his woody sleep;
Poor Ethelbrute could never ever relax
Nor a place from hunters could he keep.
dragon roared (a timid roar),
"The noise, the noise, quiet please, sir!"
The woodsman swayed away from his chore,
Wondering who talked, that's for sure.
crossed a leg over another
And asked the woodsman why he gawked.
The woodsman said, "A dragon, oh brother!
They'll not believe he really talked!"
then the two spoke for hours
And left no topic from their chat;
Ethelbrute confessed he needed strong towers
That wouldn't break like the forest now flat.
woodsman beamed, "You're not so bad!
You only need a safe nesting place; (3)
I'll build your tower, my serpentine lad,
From iron I'll work just in case!"
This lasting tower is Ethelbrute's fame
For the skyscraper was invented in his name.
(1) Just as we are sensitive on our funny bones, dragons are also most sensitive on their funny patch latch.
(2) Ethelbrute was not a fire breathing dragon. But because he loved garlic he did have a hot, discomforting breath and was, therefore, confused with the fire breathing type.
(3) Had Ethelbrute been raised in a cave like other dragons, the problem would never have occurred.
saw a blue jay on a mount
Crowding out its friends.
Fine, fluffy feathers this day did taunt;
He thought of them as fins.
saw the blue jay take a limb
Where a bug is sure to pass;
He spoke of things obscure and dim
To crawling creatures in the grass.
fly with me," he begged the worm;
Such sights you've never seen,"
But the wizened word didn't squirm,
For he knew the Jay was hungry.
hop with me?" he queried the lady bug,
Who hopped from leaf to leaf
And gave the Jay a cautious shrug
As she hid in utter disbelief!
wise old Jay then saw a gnat;
Such tiny things we tend to slap,
But to a Jay no gnat is a sprat
And well the worth the time to trap.
can fly above the clouds up high
And even hop across the sea;
Oh gentle gnat I fear to pry,
But can you rise above the tree?"
gentle gnat looked at the Jay
And fluttered by his bill,
"Of clouds and seas I cannot say,
Through such heights and haunts I would not mill."
wise old Jay then stretched his wing
And drummed the air with all his might;
He asked the gnat to do this thing,
To match his drumming late that night.
clouds and seas I cannot match,"
The gnat implored the dauntless Jay;
"But you'll see tonight in the pumpkin patch
This paltry gnat outmatch your play!"
wizened bird had won the ploy
And took the offer of the gnat;
His nervous claws gnawed the oak with joy
Until the roundish limb rubbed flat.
Pumpkin moon, a pumpkin patch,
Haunting creatures controlled the air;
A nervous Jay awaited his catch
Midst screeches and howling everywhere.
boasts and taunts I'll do no more!"
Cried the Jay to his burly tree,
"I'll take no more in this pumpkin tour,
Those haunting creatures are after me!"
twitching Jay hid beneath a leaf
And hoped the gnat would find him not;
But then to add to his fear, good grief,
Weird lights flashed over the entire lot.
screech owl screamed, an old mule brayed,
And then a light flashed in his eye;
The frightened Jay launched, while the tiny gnat bade,
"Don't fear me; It is only I, a firefly!"
About the downy duckling
Floating in the bay,
The Poet's meter may near rhyme,
For that word, that "duckling" is in the way
And makes this poem hard to rhyme.
Now it's worse the lot for a duck
Who came a plunging to the bay;
The poet's meter cannot rhyme;
For that word, that "duck" is hard to say,
Tying my tongue every time.
So poets sing not of these things
Though many are in want for ducks to write.
But I must yet sing of Fred, the mallard's pride,
For no bird could soar on mighty wings
Above this duck in feathered flight.
He flew his weary airy way
Searching for a ducky pleasant place,
Soaring the clouds in heavy heart;
His burdened heart no doubt that day
Plunged him into the veiny water ways.
One day he saw a lovely lass,
Her browny down and crimsonless bands
Beautifully plain were her feathered pleats;
Caused Fred's heart to leap from his fluttered past
And ballooned him towards her ways and strands.
Fred of heavy feathered heart
Then felt that cloud that weighed him downward bound;
His throbbing heart grew heavier
Then that leaded feeling of doubt would start
And dropped him seat first down to the ground.
The lass who minded her paddled waves,
Whistling midst the singing reeds,
Was never startled the more by any means,
Than to look upon Fred's leaded rocklike gaze
Suddenly bob midst her demesnes.
She tried to flee his tiding fall
But never got away.
It's hard to say what would have come
When love is want to call
Had Fred come another way.
The water thrown all over the lass
Is not a fine entry, one might agree;
We end this poem about the strangest luck
How two hearts of lead, yet like glass,
Ducked into our hearts so easily.
Over cliffs of jade, jeweled coves
Our hands coddled the waxy gems.
Your wind blown hair framed aglow
A settling sun glossed by flax-like hems.
That moment midst the verdant shores,
Touching hands quelled the pounding surf;
Our surging current and tingling pours
Drummed rhythms of lovers over the tender turf.
A waning moon framed anew
By fiery bombs trailing icy blue;
Sparklers, gazelles, to name a few
Jumped through my breast in desire of you.
In the autumn changing ever
All that ends must start anew;
And crinkled leaves in the heather
Rustle in gusting beds of dew;
There you find Nature's pillows to
entice and tether;
They make fiery nests where lovers coo.
The deep unknown in your eyes
Beacons my soul to find its depths;
The dewy glaze from passion's rise
Leads my soul yet higher upon those jaded steps.
I reach and search, higher and higher;
Wandering through your open gates;
My heart is fanned by the fire
Lit by Pan and the Lover's Fates.
Through the windows of your soul
I chased my heart as a weaning foal.
you were a wooly wig wirt
Who played upon the road,
Could you hop above the dirt
Or ride upon a toad?
wooly wig wirts came your way,
Could you see their hose?
Or would you think they could not play
Because they showed no toes?
and twenty wooly wig wirts plus a tad more
Nestled beneath my tree;
I wondered how many wooly wig wirts you might store
Within your memory.
have no toes, no hoes, no hair
And hardly can they hop,
But they are for sure around me everywhere,
In truth they are wherever I stop.
you see a wooly wig wirt suddenly come,
Ignore the shock you may feel or see,
For wooly wig wirts are to some
What you, dear reader, are here to me.
Tommy Tattle took a terrible trip
While with his neighbor at play;
He tried to make his good friend slip
But himself fell into the bay!
Tiny Tod trod up the road
To fetch himself some trouble;
He flexed his arms in a frightening mode
To strike a mirror pond's double.
Needles falling from the trees,
Autumn's cushions on the ground,
A piny scent within the breeze,
No sweeter falling found around.
A Flighty Fawn crossed a field
Against his mother's wishes.
The hunter's wounds have just now healed;
Now he's stealing bait from the fishes!
Sandy Snail traced a trail
Climbing through the vines,
The farmer's wife began to wail
And chased him with her tines.
Willard walked upon a railroad track
In hope to find a porter.
A horn soon shrieked behind his back
"This ain't the way that's shorter".
A precocious partridge talked to a sage
Rolling through a meadow;
This rolling bush he tried to page
Since a sage is a wiser fellow.
Lazy Sue wouldn't get up
As she rode to work in the morning.
She slept through the day, way past "sup,"
And missed her stop at Corning.
There is no way to Pokahay,
Because it does not exist.
There is no one that's gone that way,
Otherwise he'd have been missed!
A Paltry Privet plied past a nest
But turned again to spy the egg;
He fluttered his feathers upon his breast
And raised to his beak the egg with his leg.
Were it not for a meal the egg would
But to the waiting fox a privet is a far better catch!
A Frightened Farthing flew the foaming
And why he flew there and not the mountain Vale
Is terribly troubling to my toddler and me.
Was he blown off course by a sudden gale?
Paunchy pink fingers pointed past yon
My little girl spied a sadly swimming deer;
A fleeing fawn had too frightened besides;
And being curious my toddler and me for more did peer.
A nervous nightingale nonetheless flew,
Followed by molting cows and a nearly Knighted horse;
Then a multitude of animals bade adieu
And plunged to the surf in a matter of course.
I gripped her hand as she to mine
And held her trembling form aloft;
On my hip she clung and spoke this line:
"I'm sorry for the animals," and in the blast we too offed.
Two Silly Birds sat sneering on a rock
"How odd the toad," they snickered and cooed;
"How odd the lizard that knows not it's gray,
And how odd the cow who only mooed."
They chided the horse, the pig, the
Even they gossiped on the Wooly Wig Wirt.
Nothing escaped this perceptive press of the pen,
As they, alas, scorned the very rocks and even the tussled dirt.
Then the very Silly Birds eyed a
And senselessly stayed upon their perch;
Two Talons snatched up the sneering flock
And that's why they were Silly Birds.
A cautious cat crossed a creek
To catch a bird in the bushes.
The bird it seems didn't think
To hide in the waterborne rushes.
Tiny Tina took some tea
And put it in her pot.
She poured a cup for her and me
And said, "Oh, my gosh, that's hot!"
Silly Vicki went down the hill
To catch her bo a wandering.
Upon the search she had her fill:
Since the poison oak she is now a pondering.
A portly pig pawed the pen one day
To preen himself in the slop.
So disgusting he was so much at play,
The animals all begged him to stop.
He splashed in the mud and rolled in
And squealed with such delight,
A butcher found him far too mussed
And took the ox, a much tidier sight.
There once was a downy duckling,
Who tired of being the last,
He jumped in front of a suckling
And was first for the farmer's repast.
(Refused by the Atlantic Monthly in July, 1971)
poems I read
To chickens said
Without much meter
Made the poem's reader
Feel he read
poems are hard put to please
Those who edit and see
Fit to publish for the reader
Though it is dense,
And speaks of dangling creatures
Hanging from a line and dead
With a revolting scent.
the publisher likes chickens,
Though to read his delights, me it sickens,
I know I must write
To compete with this sight
Where chickens scratch
Or dangle or hatch
So that the reader I will elate
And bring forth poetry and abate
A class who thinks that the most in life
Is chickens throats cut with a knife
Hanging from a clothes line
Spitting blood so we may dine.
sorry to say
For those chicken poems I pay
And now I feel guilt even this day
Whenever I eat the eggs chickens lay.
eggs don't scratch
Or could the colonel cook a batch,
For their feathers he'd delight to pluck;
Someone ought to write on eggs,
Because the chicken
Won't scratch with her legs,
Or would we be finger lickin',
Nor could we hang them slashed in the neck
With blood dripping onto the hollowed ground,
Or see them on the ground peck
If eggs weren't around.
here's a toast to eggs
Which give us things to talk about.
Though they don't have legs,
They're important to us, there's no doubt.
I'm just sorry we can't find
More important things come to mind
Updated 5.31.99; 5.27.2000; 3.17.05; 5.29.14
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