Friday, October 31, 2014

On lunching with a cow

I think I know what I would say
While lunching with a cow one day;
Small talk would probably be fine,
Especially of things bovine,
Of current costs of cheese and milk,
And other matters of that ilk.

If my palaver proved a dud,
I'd quit, and let her chew her cud,
And I'd be careful not to make
A social gaffe by ordering steak.
I'd stick to corn, and when all through,
I'd join her for a gentle moo.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Strong" verbs

If we can say, "drink, drank, I've drunk,"
Why can't we say, "think, thank, I've thunk?"
Instead, we say, "think, thought, I've thought."
I"ve brung" this up (all right, I've "brought"),
Because it flouts the grammar "rules,"
The stuff that we learned in our schools.
This class of verbs that we call "strong,"
Is puzzling; could the rules be wrong?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


This night the ghosts and goblins go
To greet the dead, both friend and foe;
Beneath the moon the witches fly
On broomsticks, streaking through the sky.
Fat jack o' lanterns spread soft light
To guide lost spirits through the night,
And costumed children at each door
Cry out with "trick, or treat!" once more.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The first marathon

See him running down the streeting,
Hear the beating of his feeting,
Beating, beating, beating, beating;

He runs slower down the streeting,
Hear the thudding of his feeting,
Thudding hard, miles defeating;

See him stumbling down the streeting,
Hear no more his feet beat, beating,
Breathing hard, his strength is fleeting;

Slowing, gasping, feet repeating,
Finish near, his run completing,
Carrying the victors' greeting.

In 490 b.c.e, an army from Athens and Sparta defeated the Persian invaders at the Battle of Marathon. Legend has it, that a soldier named Pheidippides, brought news of the victory, running from Marathon to Athens. When the modern Olympics were re-introduced in 1896, the great-grandfather of today's race was named Marathon, in honor of that victory. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The snail

Consider how the lowly snail
Each night will always make a trail,
A shiny one, so he can mark,
The path he slithers in the dark.

The tiny mollusk has to put
Soft, slimy stuff beneath his foot
For traction, as he glides about,
A habit he can't do without.

He dresses in a sturdy shell,
That doubles as his home as well;
It shields him from the wind and rain,
An evolutionary gain.

He wishes he had less appeal,
Some keenly eat him at a meal.
For them, he's prized as gourmet food,
A way of thinking he finds crude.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pilgrimage long over

Sixty-one decades now have passed,
Since Geoffrey Chaucer breathed his last.

Monday, October 13, 2014

On courting love

I courted Love, urged her to stay,
She laughed, and quickly slipped away,
And vanished like a morning's dew,
A springtime bloom, when love was new.

At the convenience store

When I stop in to spend my dough,
Don't greet me with, "Hey, Dude!," or "Bro'."
It's quite enough to say, "Hello,"
Or, "Hello, sir," to show respect,
That greeting's also quite correct;
It was, the last time that I checked.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The hyphen

The hyphen is a simple dash;
The eye flicks by it in a flash.
When should I use it, and if not,
What choice have I? It's all I've got.

Unlike full stops, or the comma,
Hyphens provide little drama,
And seeing one, once I edit,
It may look wrong, when I've read it.

Sometimes its use relies on choice,
Dependent on the writer's voice;
Or poorly-placed, may obfuscate
A meaning that I want to state.

An editor, with fixations
Over proper punctuations,
May make decisions arbitrary,
In hyphening vocabulary.

Take the arcane dieresis;
Its ubiquity decreases,
Yet The New Yorker's iron style
Demands it from its rank and file.

With care, the hyphen has been used
To clarify, when not abused.
Consistency will shape the work;
That principle one mustn't shirk.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Shopping at the mall

Wife loves to shop; that's just her way,
An urge that husband must obey.
He groans a bit, and rolls his eyes,
But keeps his mouth shut - if he's wise.

He knows he'll miss the football game,
But he's missed more than he could name.
"Let's go," he says, "I'll drive the car,"
(The nearest mall's not very far).

When they arrive, he has no role;
The weekend sales are in control.
"I'll wait for you, I'll take a seat,
I'll read my book, I'll rest my feet."

His wife, in search of something new,
Runs off to shop, as if on cue.
No use to grumble at his fate,
Resigned, he now prepares to wait.

He finds a bench, amidst the throng:
Young parents dragging kids along,
Old people, teens, both short and tall,
Just Saturday, inside the mall.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

On the rat race

Hurry up, you're too damned slow,
Move your butt, come on , let's go,

Skip the breakfast, can't be late,
Quick now, don't procrastinate,

Time for work, no time to fuss,
Grab your coat, go catch the bus;

Rats run hard to win the race;
Lucky, if we even place.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


An orange harvest moon
Fills up the sky;
Ghosts and hobgoblins haunt
Apple cider season