Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fussy eaters

A horseman, and his hungry son
Were both quite fond of venison,
But counted horses in the stable,
Before they sat down at the table,
To make sure they were eating deer,
And not a horse, if one was near.


I plead a certain fixity,
about undue prolixity.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The rhinoceros

The rhino's very small at birth,
But he attains a mighty girth.
While fierce of face, he's very calm;
He learned his manners from his mom,
Though when his temper's getting short,
His foes can land on life support.
His brain's quite dull; its synapses
Slow down when he gets in flapses.
But left alone, like you and me,
He's just as nice, as nice can be.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On self-importance

The more I know men, the better I like dogs
                                   - Charles de Gaulle

Man makes a lot of noise, his ego's big,
His movements frantic, like a whirligig;
He shakes his fist, defiant, at the sky,
And claims his kind alone should never die.

The strangest animal of all is man,
Who's sure he's part of some eternal plan.

A carping guest whose tenancy is short,
He whines and leaves behind a curt report
To tell us that the hotel was no good,
And that he doesn't like the neighborhood.

The strangest animal of all is man,
Who's sure he's part of some eternal plan.

An unwelcome boor, uncaring at best,
He thoughtlessly befouls every nest,
Ignoring others' needs without disguise,
One fact is sure; he really is no prize.

The strangest animal of all is man,
Who's sure he's part of some eternal plan.

The infinite expanse of time and space
Pays scant atttention to the human race;
The universe is large, and won't reshape
Reality to suit a  hairless ape.

The strangest animal of all is man,
Who's sure he's part of some eternal plan.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The monkeys are running the zoo

A zoo's a place where we can see
Animals in captivity,
Where we can gawk, and others gape,
And see gymnastics by an ape.

Some like all creatures serpentine,
As they uncoil and recline,
But as for me, I tend to shake,
When I'm confronted by a snake.

A lion growls in his sleep;
Is this the life he'd really keep?
His diligent and patient mate
lies near, but won't elaborate.

Caged birds squawk and swoop and scatter;
What's behind their chitter-chatter?
Perhaps if they had any say,
They'd pack their bags, and fly away.

The monkeys look a lot like us;
Are we a subject they discuss?
Do they presume we're out on bail,
Relaxed, while they remain in jail?

The languid bears bask in the sun,
But are they having any fun?
Would they bet that we're fit to eat,
And classify us as a treat?

Who's in the zoo, and by what rules?
Are we, too, animals, or ghouls?
Have we an answer, something pat,
And worthy of a diplomat?

This spinning globe on which we live,
Is filled with creatures we can give
The same rights that we hold as true,
Or simply place them in a zoo.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

On genealogy

What fun, I thought, that it would be,
To trace my genealogy,
To know the names, the times, and how
My family grew, from then to now.

My chart looked like a pyramid;
I wrote my name on top, I did.
Below, I wrote in Mom and Dad,
The closest relatives I  had.

Next, grandparents, four in all,
My parents' parents, I recall.
And then the "greats," eight in number;
No time then, to think of slumber.

The second "greats" made up sixteen,
More relatives than I'd foreseen,
Until I got to "great, great, greats,"
All thirty-two, both men and mates.

I had to slow my search a while;
I wrote down more names in the file,
Left room for cousins, uncles, aunts,
Part of the crowd by birth enhanced.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

On getting the most out of every day

I try to value every day,
A part for work, a part for play.
I always think there'll be more time,
A wish that surely, is no crime.
But time flies fast, and there's no doubt;
Its passing's something we can't flout.
I left my bed before sunrise.
The morning fled before my eyes,
Until I had a sudden hunch
That it was almost time for lunch.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The body electronic

Praise the body electronic
And the Web, it's vital tonic,
Providing a new synergy
To help us see what we can be

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On running fast

The Ostrich is an awkward bird,
With long legs verging on absurd;
The silly bird's not fit to fly,
Not one is ever in the sky.
But run she can, a thing of wonder,
When she sprints, it sounds like thunder.
She pecks and pokes for worms and slugs,
Grub that at her heartstrings tugs,
But she's still a tasty dinner,
If Lioness wants fowl in her.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Next time, I'll be an actor

When I come back, I want to be
An actor, rich, and fancy-free.
Successful actors, with great skills
Make millions, and can pay their bills.

I'll be among the "One Percent";
I'll buy my home, I'll never rent,
And when I get a fancy car,
I'll pay cash, when I'm a star.

An actor's good at "make-believe,"
He gets big bucks, just to deceive;
Each part he plays, however plain,
Had best seem real, and entertain.

Unlike the common "CEO,"
An actor works hard for his dough;
Next time, that's what I'll choose to be;
It sounds like lots of fun to me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On how you speak

No other person talks like you
In Washington, or Timbuktu.
That's because your idiolect,
The words and accent you select,
Provide a very special tweak
Every single time you speak.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I often drove by gypsy caravans in France,
Encamped at the forest's edge outside a city,
Saw tethered horses, heads held low in grazing stance,
Small children's laughing eyes, mothers, dark and pretty.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

On the sonnet

I'll sing in praise of sonnets, and the way
They pay allegiance to a set of rules,
Old rules free-versing poets won't obey,
As if poetic standards were for fools.
Rules scarcely matter; with a dearth of form,
Nothing gets in the way of their designs,
No well-known frame dare represent a norm,
To give a pleasant rhythm to their lines.
Adherence to a tried poetic style,
Is dull for poets lost in the embrace
Of novelty, and strict rules' denial;
To me, their best endeavors just lack grace.
If free verse slakes your thirst, please, don't refuse it;
The sonnet works for me, that's why I choose it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

White-gloved words

The professor smiles, greets the class;
He checks his watch, then sips a glass
Of water, and begins to speak,
His diction silvery, and sleek.

"Aristotle, in Poetics,
His great treatise on aesthetics,
Claims vanity will always cause
The doom of men with tragic flaws."

He pauses, then outlines the hell
Due men whose fortunes soared, then fell,
Poor dupes of pride's effrontery,
Who meet their ends in tragedy.

He glances round the silent room,
And tells of unforgiving doom;
His white-gloved words ring on, to scan
How time, and fate, make sport of man.

Intent, we drink in every word,
To understand the truths we've heard.
He stops, and leaves the lecture hall,
So long ago, as I recall.

Mementoque temporis memoriam

Sunday, July 6, 2014


We, all of us, return, and dress another way,
A different simulacrum of reality;
The energy we call the soul assumes new form
Within a multi-verse of change and random choice.
Next time, you might come back a brilliant butterfly,
Bright wings a-flutter, flying off to find a mate,
Still missing, caterpillar-like, your warm cocoon;
A young amoeba, almost ready to divide,
Multiplying in a single drop of water,
And unimpressed by nearby parameciums;
A single sunbeam, shining on a chilly day,
Homesick for the fiery star that cast you off;
Or, a forlorn grain of sand, on a wintry beach,
Wistfully recalling you used to be a rock.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ain't misbehavin'

Some people think that words like "ain't"
Are tantamount to moral taint.
I use my "ain't's" to stress a point,
When something may be out of joint,
Then code-shift back to I "am not,"
If I don't need my "ain't's" a lot.