Puzzling Poems

I’m trying to keep up with my RhyPiBoMo pledge to write a poem a day for April.  I’ve got a poetry project that I’m hoping to finish this month, but those are poems that I’m not always able to draft in a day.  So I’ve also been finding inspiration in some online challenges.

Last week’s challenge at The Miss Rumphius Effect was to write a homophoem.  That’s a form invented by J. Patrick Lewis, and is “a two- to ten-line poem that contains at least one homophone, preferably as the surprise end-word.”   I discovered the challenge by following a link that Kate Coombs posted on facebook.  When I read Kate’s amazing homophoem I was daunted.  But then I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a try.  I found a terrific list of homonyms, and started jotting down likely candidates.  After a couple of false starts I found that I needed to plan the ending first.  Here’s the second poem that I wrote–with a bit of a groaner for an ending:

The Tragedy of Sunny Placed

Photo from BackyardChickens.com
Photo from BackyardChickens.com

Jack’s hen was a gem that he called Sunny Placed.
He took her on rides at the track where he raced.
The hen was content to attend Jack’s event,
believing that Jack was a singular gent.
He fed her fine seeds and he bathed her in dust—
She never suspected he’d serve Miss Placed, trussed.
     –Buffy Silverman, 2014

My original homophoem took quite a bit of revision–it’s not a poem that I would normally write. AND IT IS NOT AUTO-BIOGRAPHICAL!  Okay, I’ll admit it–I did have cold feet thirty years ago, on the day of my wedding.  Mostly it was because I’d gotten a baby-breath tiara, and I wasn’t sure I could wear it.  And I didn’t know why we hadn’t just gone off by ourselves to get married, as I’m not a center-of-attention type of gal. And why were we bothering to get married when we were perfectly happy living-in-sin, as we called it back in the dark ages?  But I didn’t regret my choice of spouse, as in the poem below. There was a string quartet playing, but no Wagner. Both my parents walked with me down the aisle–and Jeff’s parents walked with him.  Too much explanation before the poem?

Photo from sheldonbrown.com (we rode a tandem on our honeymoon, but not at the wedding!)
Photo from sheldonbrown.com (These folks rode a tandem to their wedding–we rode one on our honeymoon, but not to the wedding!)

Wedding Interrupted

The string quartet plays Wagner.
She heeds her father’s smile.
He holds her trembling hand
and leads her down the aisle

past closest friends and cousins.
They’re dressed in splendid style.
All watch her slow procession,
each step that’s like a mile.

She stops. She backs away.
They’ll judge, but that’s her trial.
She’d rather live alone
than on this desert aisle.
     –Buffy Silverman, 2014

David Harrison has a fun challenge on his blog this week, also from J. Patrick Lewis, to write “mini-mini-book reviews.”  There are some very clever examples on the blog post.  Here’s my attempt:

Bargain after Bargain

A foolish miller’s claim:
His daughter’s skill–a wonder to behold!
A greedy king’s demand:
Spin the straw, convert it into gold.
A bargain for her life:
A chain. A ring. Her future child sold.
A deal to save the child:
Find the name that no one’s ever told.
Rumplestiltskin’s fate:
Torn asunder, raging uncontrolled.
     –Buffy Silverman, 2014

Head over to The Deckle Edge where Robyn has all this week’s Poetry Friday goodness.  And 18923_originalplease come back on Sunday when the Progressive Poem visits my blog.

22 thoughts on “Puzzling Poems

  1. Have to share the chicken poem with my dad, Buffy! *groan* 🙂 I’m impressed by your experiments (and it wouldn’t have occurred to me that the wedding poem was autobiographical — I assume otherwise!).

  2. I am in awe of these homophoems! When I’m not trying to write a poem a day on top of everything else the day brings, I’ll go back and try again. Your pun in the first one is supremely groan-worthy!! Well played!

  3. Hi Buffy,
    These are wonderful! I like the chicken poem very much until the ending! I didn’t like seeing their friendship end that way. I can definitely understand why you went to such lengths to tell us the wedding poem wasn’t autobiographical. Readers do seem to assume that especially with poetry. I also really like your book review. They used to publish compressed fairy tales in Babybug. I wonder if they still do.
    Good luck with all your challenges!

    1. Thanks, Liz. I’m afraid I set up poor Sunny Placed for a tabletop ending. (I thought about looking for a photo of a roast chicken, but fell in love with that chicken in the red wagon.)

  4. Hi, Buffy! Thanks for sharing your challenge responses with us. I didn’t know about J. Patrick Lewis’s “homophoem” either – need to get back over to Tricia’s on Mondays!

    (And not sure which I enjoyed more – the wedding poem, or the disclaimers/descriptions preceding it.) ;0)

  5. I have seen the first, but not about the wedding, Buffy, so clever, and love seeing your photo, too. I did both of these too, and have passed the homophoem idea onto colleagues for their students. They are fun to try.

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