Pershing at the Front (by poet Arthur Guiterman) a student recitation favorite…

Back in the day students were required to memorize poems and recite them in class.  For most the process was torture—memorizing a poem from a list of “suggested” poems, working up the nerve to stand up in front of the class for the recitation, and enduring the embarrassment from  snickers of buddies in the audience.

Here’s one that was a favorite of the day, passed around on typewritten and mimeographed “ditto machine” purple-ink copies.     It is appropriate now, among all this false rhetoric about General Pershing, who was a World War I American general, with a long and distinguished reputation as a good, tough cookie among military Historians.

It’s a great poem…rhythm and meter perfect in my book, and well worth reading out loud and all the way through.     Thanks to the folks at holyjoe.org\guiter8.htm for posting it on their site.

Pershing at the Front

      by

Arthur Guiterman

    (1871-1943)

The General came in a new tin hat
To the shell-torn front where the war was at;
With a faithful Aide at his good right hand
He made his way toward No Man’s Land,
And a tough Top Sergeant there they found,
And a Captain, too, to show them round.

Threading the ditch, their heads bent low,
Toward the lines of the watchful foe
They came through the murk and the powder stench
Till the Sergeant whispered, “Third-line trench!”
And the Captain whispered, “Third-line trench!”
And the Aide repeated, “Third-line trench!”
And Pershing answered- not in French-
“Yes, I see it. Third-line trench.”

Again they marched with wary tread,
Following on where the Sergeant led
Through the wet and the muck as well,
Till they came to another parallel.
They halted there in the mud and drench,
And the Sergeant whispered, “Second-line trench!”
And the Captain whispered, “Second-line trench!”
And the Aide repeated, “Second-line trench!”
And Pershing nodded: “Second-line trench!”

Yet on they went through mire like pitch
Till they came to a fine and spacious ditch
Well camouflaged from planes and Zeps
Where soldiers stood on firing steps
And a Major sat on a wooden bench;
And the Sergeant whispered, “First-line trench!”
And the Captain whispered, “First-line trench!”
And the Aide repeated, “First-line trench!”
And Pershing whispered, “Yes, I see.
How far off is the enemy?”
And the faithful Aide he asked, asked he,
“How far off is the enemy?”
And the Captain breathed in a softer key,
“How far off is the enemy?”

The silence lay in heaps and piles
And the Sergeant whispered, “Just three miles.”
And the Captain whispered, “Just three miles.”
And the Aide repeated, “Just three miles.”
“Just three miles!” the General swore,
“What in the heck are we whispering for?”
And the faithful Aide the message bore,
“What in the heck are we whispering for?”
And the Captain said in a gentle roar,
“What in the heck are we whispering for?”
“Whispering for?” the echo rolled;
And the Sergeant whispered, “I have a cold.”

 


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Anne Finds Her Career (originally posted February 2016 )

— I first published this poem here on SOMETIMES in February of 2016.    The plan is to re-post some of my favorites among my 400+ posts since the blog began back in 2011.—

Anne finds her career …

When Anne was a girl, she always wanted to be
a dancer.  To wear flowing gowns and satiny slippers
and be guided as a sylph, lifting in twirls and leaping high,
up in the air with skirts twirling and shoes barely touching the floor,
and feeling the thrill of the collective sigh from the audience.
But as fate would have it, her two left feet, and her lack of graceful
moves — more like those of a duck than a lovely swan, or
even a goose–combined with her brother’s snickers
she stepped on her skirt instead of her shoes
and tripped over her partner’s feet.

So then, when she saw that a new goal was needed
Anne decided that she wanted to be, when she grew older,
a doctor.  To have a white coat, a stethoscope  and thermometer
and peer into ears and down throats of her patients…to quickly discover
what ailed them…and find a cure, and all of the people would just be
astounded when Little Anne became a Doctor!
A wonderful plan!
It would be  a good position, pay plenty of money, and mean
great prestige…and besides, the town needed a Doctor.
It might have been the perfect profession, except…
she fainted dead away at the first drop of blood.

Not to be derailed on her track to gainful employment
Anne thought long and hard to find just the right profession
that would serve both her ambitions and her need for recognition.
“One thing that I can do well,” said Anne, “without  tripping over any feet
while dancing…or to lose my wits and panic when anyone bleeds…

The perfect job for me (why didn’t I think of it sooner?) is to get
pen and paper, and a computer — and spend my life Writing!”
So she wrote and she wrote, books and poems, and tales
about dancers and doctors, and all kinds of things.

©Sometimes,2016

The leery lady from Lake Erie… a sort of limerick

There was a lady who lived near Lake Erie,
who was cheery and bright
most of the time…
but when she grew weary she soon became leery
of things that go bump in the night.

“You’re a coward,” said her hubby,
(whose name was Howard)
“afraid of a shadow
…or mouse…or a deer.
What would happen if I wasn’t here?”

“Why, I’d get a gun,” said the lady from Erie
“if a faerie or elf or goblin appeared…
I’d get all teary and shoot off its earring!”
“But that would be silly,” said Howard,
“…that only would make it more eerie.”

“I’d rather have it be eerie in Erie,
than down a couple of beers.”
“Well, Dearie, that doesn’t make sense!”
The lady replied with a gleam in her eye:
“I’d rather have Scotch when its eerie in Erie.”

© Sometimes, 2017

a bit of haiku…because I like you

Topsy Turvy
twists and turns happen
each day the world turns tighter,
like a spinning top

©Sometimes, 2017

 

Connections
What can be made of them…
the funny snaps and buttons
…old-fashion Velcro?

©Sometimes, 2017

 

   Join Me
Come and dance with me
across the hills and time streams
let’s echo always!

© Sometimes, 2017

 

light
a sliver of moonbeam
winks warmly in the night sky
…brightens dim places

© Sometimes, 2017

 

inheritance
hair of yellow sunshine
flowing gently in the breeze
reminds of Vikings

© Sometimes, 2017

 

Contemplating the Overhead

(Originally published in Sometimes, 2016)

Who has never stared at a ceiling,
stark and unobtrusive, high above.
Waiting on the examination table,
A pattern of plaster, geometric or concentric
or randomness in tile squares…
in the eye unique to the beholder:
Faces and road maps, decorative design..
Dozing off while waiting for
examination of unseen mysteries,
matters of distracted concern
existing anonymously within
a rounded belly, something enlarged,
a broken bone peeking shyly out
to see air and light… foreign and out-of-place.
To contemplate anomalies without purpose,
pictures not there—right before our eyes.
Improbable, impossible creatures,
staring down on the same…unknown,
unrecognized, without meaning…
open for inspection under the sheet
or the silly inadequate gown.
The very distraction of these glyphs
on the ceiling have reason after all—
to occupy and entertain
a mind with nothing else to do
but wait and wonder, as patterns emerge
a mundane excursion into the
feeling that this may be— The Truth After All…

© Sometimes, 2016

the dance of the miscreants, a fairy-tale?

… and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

Chicken Little handed out cups with holes in the bottoms…
and urged everyone to please help themselves.

Uncle Paul smirked and grinned, and dreamed
when he slept, of clever tricks and double crosses.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, sent out engraved linen notes
that read: “Be here or else—but mind what you say.”

The Ice Queen giggled and tried to look cool,
as she whispered to the boss “you’re starting to melt.”

The King beamed and preened to adoring crowds
who cheered as he told them: “You all are invisible to me!”

The Witch of the Beltway cackled with glee:
“Listen to me!   What do I say?  What do I mean?”

…and the Tall Man looked down on everyone
until he tripped and came crashing down…

Topsy Turvey turned and spun… telling tales and amazing everyone.
“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”

Mr. Dowdy Pudding frumped and preened,
beady eyes glistening with malice and mildew.

It’s all a cruel joke intended to wound—impossible tricks every day:
the Media chatters and makes up titillating tales.

The Wise Women lecture and try to make sense
while the Old White Men tell them “sit down and shut up.”

The Lawyers, in turn get their say…don’t let facts in the way!
Believe nothing you hear—nor even what you say!

…and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

©Sometimes, 2017

 

clouds and memories, a poem

jet trails2

Draw me gently to your chest
my heart will linger there;
across the ages, along time’s trails,
the memories ever return.

Wait for me!—oh, wait for me!
the plaintive echo pleads.
When least expected, awakening
to memories in words of a poem.

Oh tell me—where do they dwell?
Among the dreams and reveries
apart from the wrack of reality
forever a blend of torture and joy.

©Sometimes, 2017

to die in satin…reposted entry from 2016

This poem I wrote last year seems an appropriate companion with one I published this morning.  I love Wordles, and MLMM always is one of my favorite sites.   Thanks again MLMM!

This is a Wordle for Special Edition “Touch” MindLoveMisery’sMenagerie, August 29, 2016 Challenge.   https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/wordle-special-addition-touch-august-29th-2016/#respond
This is not my usual fare, but here is the short vignette that I wrote using many, if not all, of the Wordle words given for the challenge.

to die in Satin…

Feverish now, thrashing among sodden sheets
grown bristly and coarse, soaked with salty tears
in a tangible horror of torturous linen…
no smoothing touch of pumice could relieve,
to sharply barbed cloth…once satiny to the touch…
The dying man’s angular body wracked with agony,
viscous sweat turning waxy his once swarthy skin
as rigidity overcame and replaced malleability.
“Oh!  Let me die!” he entreated those who
could do nothing else.

©Sometimes, 2016

a penny’s worth of death, a poem MindLoveMisery’s Wordle # 166

 

Here is my Wordle, using the dozen words provided in the  MindLoveMisery’s  excerise published June 17, 2015.

 

a penny worth of death

A gun, dark and dreadful,
cold steel caressing the unwilling hand
seductive music of silence and pain…
among bloody ravages of the plague
as dancing creatures
defy the promise of the Tarot foretelling the kiss
that comes forth—
levitating, tentatively echoing
the sparking retort of the pistol’s release
of a penny’s worth of death.

©Sometimes, 2017

Alone…by poet Samartha Ingle, re-blogged from her site

Today’s re-blog is this charming and meaningful work by poet Samartha Ingle. Thanks, Samartha.

Samartha Ingle

In love, at peace. 
Is it wrong to want alone. 
To not miss and not be missed. 
To want nothing and no one more.

Liar people say, liar maybe.

Refusing to acknowledge
this internal commotion
leads to dry eyes,
as dry as the ocean.

Liar you say, liar maybe.

At times it gets lonely,
at times of peace.
My heart for this,
my soul for this.

Liar they say, liar maybe.

Childhood heart didn’t
crave it as much.
Pushed in it still, 
circumstances and such.

Liar again ? liar maybe.

In love with the word,
at peace with the world.
Alone, though never lonely.

Liar ! liar indeed.

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The Pen…by poet Charles Yonkings

The Pen

There is a bang
as the gavel
strikes the bench.
My mind unravels
from the sentence
that is imposed
Just another case closed
and life as I know it ends…
Ten years thrice to
serve in the pen.

But then
I pick up my pen
and start to live again.
With each stroke of  ink
I transcend
my transgressions,
release
my repressions.
And for the first time
I am truly free
because of the pen.

©Charles Yonkings,2016

A Parallax of Thoughts, re-blogged from poet Amit Rahman.

Amit Rahman has published this thoughtful and pensive poem. His excellent blog has a new header picture…and interesting theme.  I like it a lot. Thanks for the re-blog, Amit!

Poems

O Butterfly, flap not your wings in Africa!
Each time you do a violent storm rips me apart,
though my love is not like the madness of oil’s price,
moved up and down by the pride of Caligula
and nor am I the Emperor, O silent Sky!
    

I was not born a thousand years ago, neither
would I live to see a thousand Springs come and go.
I wonder, had Nero known he would soon be dead,
would he still be playing on! Perhaps now we shall know
from the man with a caterpillar on his head!
   

But the Sky remains mostly as silent as God
and everywhere the mob drowns all innocence.
Despite the loud thunders, raindrops fall on the sea.
I smell the desert wind then a storm rips through me!

.


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Extradition…by poet Charles Yonkings

Extradition

Click go the cuffs
clamped on wrists,
rubbed raw
from the irons’
cold embrace.
Legs shackled,
chained at the ankles,
Crammed
in a cargo van
Filled
with fellow fugitives
on a journey
across country
to fulfill fate’s wishes
and the desire of destiny.

©Charles Yonkings, 2016