Happy April, pard’ners! It’s about time for another session of Anyone Can Poem.
Thank you to everyone who stepped up to last month‘s challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your poetic thoughts! Anyone and everyone is welcome to re-visit that post and fulfill the challenge; it’s an excellent first exercise for poets of all levels.
Now, before you panic and pretend you’re only here for the free peanuts, I’ll let you in on a few secrets:
- Parody is not difficult. Haven’t you heard the variants on “The Twelve Days of Christmas?”
- You can do this. How do I know? Elementary students run around the playground singing, “Jingle Bells! Batman smells! Robin laid an egg!”
Maybe I should’ve used more seasonally-appropriate examples.
The important point is that parodying poems is simple. Don’t get offended if that’s your go-to, because ‘simple’ does not mean parody can’t be difficult. Simple, in this case, means it’s an easy place to start. Plus, like in an aerobics video, I’m going to have three levels of difficulty depending on your comfort level.
STAGE ONE: Parody a nursery rhyme. I recommend “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Little Jack Horner.”
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go….
© Sarah Josepha Hale
Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”
© Mother Goose
STAGE TWO: “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” or “This is Just to Say”
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter….
© Clement C. Moore
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
© William Carlos Williams
STAGE THREE: William Shakespeare, Emma Lazarus, or William Wordsworth
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
“Sonnet 18,” © William Shakespeare
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
“The New Colossus,” © Emma Lazarus
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze….
“Daffodils,” © William Wordsworth
The ‘rules’ are also simple: pick a stage (one, two, or three) and write a parody or pastiche. You can include it in the comments, or fill out the form and share it with only me.
Not sure where to start? Read over one of the included poems a few times. Think about how it could apply to another subject -perhaps to something humorous or to a topic that deeply resonates with you.
Change the original poem enough to fit your new subject, but retain some vestiges so that people know to what it refers. This can be done by keeping some of the words, especially those that rhyme; by rhyming with the words in the original; or by writing of similar happenings but with a different animal.
Harry had a giant ham,
Its skin was black as sloe;
Everyone who smelled its scent
Said, “Hey! That ham must go!”
Yeah… it’s a work in progress. You can do better. I know it. In fact, get on that ‘doing better’ right now! You’ve got a month; I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
©2021 Chel Owens
Happy March! Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at Carrot Ranch with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have a month to write your poem.
Check out the poems from last month HERE.
The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!
The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Why write poetry?
When a writer embraces the ability to convey complex images and emotions in just a few lines, they have learned to strengthen their writing. In the same way, flash fiction helps us hone in on the words to tell our story, syllabic poetry does much the same by forcing us to find the best word and meaning. This brevity of words leads to more concise writing.
Syllabic verse is any kind of poetry defined by the number of syllables in each line. In English, syllables must have a vowel sound. For example, the word “apple” has two vowel sounds, which divide it into the syllables “ap” and “ple.” Depending on our accent, we pronounce some words with different accents on the syllables. For example, the word “fire” and “poem” can be read with either one or two vowel sounds.
Always check your syllables with a syllable counter when composing and writing syllabic poetry. The pronunciation of words is very important to conveying a meaning in your poems. You can use sodacoffee.com as a syllable counter. There is also howmanysyllables.com, which is another favorite because you get access to synonyms as you’re composing.
Our Inspiration: “SPRING”
This month, let’s work with the theme of spring. Write your poetry inspired by an image, a photograph, the view outside your window, another piece of poetry like found poetry, or even a song. It’s up to you! Share whatever inspired you to write your poem.
For example, here is my inspiration piece below:
Corinne Bailey Rae – “Put Your Records On”
Three little birds sat on my window And they told me I don't need to worry Summer came like cinnamon So sweet Little girls double-dutch on the concrete Maybe sometimes we've got it wrong, but it's alright The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same Oh, don't you hesitate Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song You go ahead, let your hair down Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams Just go ahead, let your hair down You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow Blue as the sky, sunburnt and lonely Sipping tea in a bar by the roadside (Just relax, just relax) Don't you let those other boys fool you Got to love that afro hair do Maybe sometimes we feel afraid, but it's alright The more you stay the same, the more they seem to change Don't you think it's strange? Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song You go ahead, let your hair down Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams Just go ahead, let your hair down You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow 'Twas more than I could take, pity for pity's sake Some nights kept me awake, I thought that I was stronger When you gonna realise, that you don't even have to try any longer? Do what you want to Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song You go ahead, let your hair down Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams Just go ahead, let your hair down Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song You go ahead, let your hair down Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams Just go ahead, let your hair down Oh, you're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow AZLyrics.com
a trio of sparrows flit from branch to branch my window, an open stage to their slow dance chasing the winter blues waiting for the thaw life's cruel winds dictate situations change— maybe I've got it all wrong, but it's alright it's time to chase my dreams nothing stays the same azure skies and sunshine are coming my way It's time to find myself, to fly free on wings, filled with inspiration and new beginnings ©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro
Poetry is based on your perceptions. This song makes me want to dance under a starry spring night! I used the song as a metaphor for “spring” and new beginnings. Follow your inner voice for inspiration.
- Write a double ennead poem based on the theme of spring. Your inspiration can come from whatever source inspires you.
- Post it on your blog.
- Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
- Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
- Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
- I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media! I’ll share a roundup of all of your poetry on colleenchesebro.com the Saturday before the next Double Ennead challenge.
Now have fun and write some double ennead poetry inspired by spring!
Well, howdy! My name’s Chel Owens and I’ve a small confession to make: I’m not much of a rancher. The closest I’ve gotten to a rodeo is watching “McLintock!” The closest I’ve gotten to a saloon is to use the bathroom at a bar during a road trip.
What do I know? Poetry. And -believe me- poetry is amazing. It’s clever, awful, silly, serious, snarky, sincere, and beautiful.
Take Ogden Nash:
Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good!
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.
Or, William Shakespeare, the master prose-smith:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Poems are the beat of life; the catchy jingle we hum whilst eating French fries (chips); the wandering phrase we think as our heart flutters in love.
Poems also terrify a large number of writers.
That’s why I’m here. Or Pal and Kid said I could use the bathroom. Either way, I’m up on this stage and I’m going to get you to write poetry. Everyone can write poetry, just like everyone can write. We each have a voice that needs expression and is beautiful when it finds itself.
So, for this introductory post, I’m not going to ask much. All I want is for you to take yourself on a date.
You heard me.
Get yourself alone, somewhere safe. If you can, go somewhere beautiful and inspirational. The catch is that I want you to bring along a notebook and writing utensil. Yes, I want paper and a pen. No, I don’t want those new-fangled electronic devices.
Step two is to get comfortable.
Third, soak in your surroundings. Meditate. Find your happy thoughts.
After all of that, I want you to word dump prosaically. Write words, phrases, observations, descriptions, and even the odd knock-knock joke –all in the form of a freelance poem.
Once you’re ‘finished,’ you’re allowed to look it over and lightly edit. Maybe you misspelled epiphany and it’s bothering you; you are allowed to fix that word. Perhaps you really hate how you compared a winter’s day to your ex-husband’s drinking habit; you may compare the snowscape to something more appropriate. The only thing you are not allowed to do is crumple up what you wrote and throw it into the saloon’s toilet.
If you’re comfortable, return to your computer thingy and share your masterpiece with me using the submission form. If not, I’ll settle on an “I did it, Chel” in the comments or through the form.
You can do it. Believe me. I can safely say that I have seen the worst poetry ever, and yours is not it.
Lather, rinse, repeat. We’ll have you poem-ing in no time.
©2021 Chel Owens