Who Could Wish For More? (poem)

The furnace will consume us
So now towards our ends

Who could wish for more
Than to die beside their friends?

Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt was to take an emotional scene from a film and turn it into a poem. This scene makes me cry every time… Can anyone work it out?

http://www.octpowrimo.com/

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Image from PublicDomainPictures.net – George Hodan

10 Crucial Lessons for Rhymers… from Monty Python

or, inevitably, WHAT HAVE THE PYTHONS EVER DONE FOR US?

We are all products of our environment. Some wear their influences on their sleeves; others may not even be aware of tapping into their formative influences. I grew up in the 80s with Monty Python, a child of Python-loving parents who mercifully spared me the sketches that didn’t work (there are many), but instead exposed me to the films, the highlights reels, the comedy albums (on vinyl, no less), the Live at the Hollywood Bowl fan-fest. And here I am now trying to write rhyming picture books and other entertainments…

Here are ten lessons that rhymers (perhaps storytellers of any stripe) can take from the songs of Monty Python. Some of the links are NSFW…

1) CHALLENGE EXPECTATIONS
Have your main character do something unusual, that goes against type and challenges expectations. You’ve got a knight called Brave Sir Robin?

“When danger reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled

Yes Brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out…”

Or take a rugged, “manly” lumberjack, and then tell us that he likes to “put on women’s clothing, and hang around in bars.”

Or take the less-travelled perspective:

2) PLAY WITH WORDS
Have fun with the language, whether that’s homophones, (“sail the wide accountancy”)

lists,

or

or non-sequitors for comic effect
“We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and spam a-lot

I have to push the pram-a-lot!”

3) GET THE TONE RIGHT
The gentle, plinky start of “Finland” sets the tone perfectly for an homage to a country “where I quite want to be”…

4) ENJOY YOUR RHYMES
Repeating the same end rhyme throughout, and even using it as an internal rhyme, can be fun…
“Half a bee, philosophically,
Must, ipso facto, half not be”

5) DON’T TALK DOWN TO YOUR AUDIENCE
The Galaxy Song, and the Medical Love Song, are examples of introducing a range of language and ideas that go far beyond what might be expected of the “everyman”. If the narrative, and the rhyme, is strong enough, you can introduce unfamiliar names and ideas very quickly.

Don’t talk down to your audience. Raise them up.

“Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It’s orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
The sun that is the source of all our power”

(I love the punchline at the end of this song)

6) MAKE YOUR RHYMES UNEXPECTED, OR UNUSUAL
All I know about philosophers, I know from this:

“Heideggar, Heideggar was a boozy beggar…

John Stewart Mill, of his own free will
On half a pint of shanty was particularly ill.”

And what about one of the greatest thinkers in history?

“Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle”

7) REPETITION, repetition….
A good example of repetition, and letting your characters grow, is the theme song from Life of Brian, with “a boy/ teenager/ not a girl/ a man called Brian”

“… his voice dropped down low
And things started to grow…”

8) DIVERSITY IS IMPORTANT
Monty Python made an effort to address diversity, in their own particular fashion, with “I Like Chinese” and “Never Be Rude To An Arab”…

“I like Chinese, I like Chinese,
They only come up to your knees”

It’s vital to reflect the diversity of the world we live in, to keep your characters relevant, and grounded in the reality of the time.

9) BE PREPARED TO MAKE MISTAKES
Viewed through modern eyes, neither of these songs have aged well… but how do you future-proof your material from the differing standards that will inevitably follow? You can’t. Write what’s in your heart, rather than chasing the trends of the day (or anticipated trends of tomorrow). If you never make mistakes, it just means you’re never trying.

Which leads us to our final point.

10) KEEP TRYING
There is only one way to finish this list. A song that has a ridiculously catchy chorus, a perfect balance of repetition/ variation/ progression, fun rhymes, a playful, changing rhyme structure… it’s even got whistling.

So, when the rejection emails start to pile up around you, put the kettle on, grab a slice of cake, and listen to this:
“Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say…”

Just For Fun… (poem)

This poem was written as a bit of fun, to try and use the prompt words “ubiquitous”, “consternation”, and “jackanape”… These being Annette’s favourite words. It’s a bit clunky, but I think you get the idea! Enjoy 🙂

Ubiquitous Bob
Was quick on the job
But a bit of a snob
Nay, a jumped-up jackanape

To wide consternation
He upset the nation
With this affectation
A hat, and crepulent cape

He sported a monocle
For matters canonical
Waxing all lyrical
About the grain and the grape

He then came a cropper
In drink, fell from chopper –
Was caught by a copper
Before he could make his escape

So, Ubiquitous Bob is humbler now
Counting his days in the slammer
But he’ll soon be back out, and bossing about
Rocking that monocle glamour!

If you have a burning desire to see your favourite words mangled and turned into nonsense verse, let me know in the comments!

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flickr.com/photos/ittybittiesforyou/5258762690

Something Fishy (poem)

One of our fish has upped and gone
We don’t know where it can be
We haven’t a clue what has occurred
But it’s definitely not there, we agree

When we packed and left on holiday ,
There were six little fish in the tank.
On our return, there were just five.
Could it possibly just be a prank?

So in the space of seven days,
Our six became just five.
Has some affliction claimed Old Six?
I wonder if he’s alive?

Has it tunnelled its way to freedom,
Digging out through the rocks?
Hiding behind the sugar jar,
Before sneaking out in a box?

Did it hire a crack team of bees,
To pick it up as they flew past?
Carry it away in a matchbox of water,
Out to the ocean, vast?

Or has it too gone on holiday,
And sneaked to next door’s pond?
Sunning itself beneath their lilies,
Dreaming of a life beyond?

I know that these are long-shots,
That the truth will be more mundane.
But I’d prefer any single one of these, to
Upsetting my boys again

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Picture courtesy of flickr.com/photos/moorthygounder/2228827558

Unabashed Love Poem

Your eyes are pure poetry,
Your smile a song.
Your kiss is a chorus
We both sing along.

Every moment with you
Stokes my heart’s fire
Raises my soul up
Lifting me higher

Your laughter is lyrical
Your touch is divine
My heart is yours:
Will you be mine?

Because

Your eyes are pure poetry,
Your smile a song.
Your kiss is a chorus
We both sing along.

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Toast (poem)

Be accurate when cooking toast
Never try to guess
Cook it till it smokes and then
Twenty seconds less

(Not one of mine, sadly, but was credited only to “anon”, and I wanted to share this 🙂 )

toast

Cat’s Gift (poem)

A birthday poem for my friend, Jenny…

Cat’s Gift

I brought my human a gift
She didn’t seem best chuffed.
It’s getting to be a habit, with
All my efforts rebuffed.

She didn’t like that frog.
Got squeamish ’bout the mouse.
Didn’t care a bit for
That bug from under the house.

She wasn’t at all grateful,
When I ate that spider’s legs,
And didn’t seem to share my joy
On finding bird’s nest eggs.

I don’t know what to do now:
Everything seems wrong.
Maybe I can win her back
With a tuneful midnight song?

Darcy pose

The Guy In The Red Shirt v2 (poem)

For Throwback Thursday, here is a slight re-working of an older poem. Place tongue firmly in cheek, and begin…

Working on a starship
Flying round in space
Can sometimes be so scary:
It’s a dangerous place!

My best friend is called Terry
He works in engineering.
You wouldn’t believe the tales he tells
Of wonky starship steering!

The safety klaxon sounds:
All hands to your stations‘.
They calmly work together,
This ship of many nations

So I tried to be as calm
When he came back from supplies
Wearing a bright red outfit:
“Terry, is that so wise?”

I’ve seen some nasty things
Happen to those who dress in red.
The one constant for all of them
Is they surely end up DEAD!

But what can I do about Terry?
He’s not in the least superstitious.
So now the more pressing question is…

When should I ask out his missus?

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Picture courtesy of flickr.com/photos/warriorpoet/7995056932 / Creative Commons

Next door’s cat (poem)

Next door’s cat’s annoying
The beastie’s name is Foo
A scrawny looking thing
With one green eye, one blue

Next door’s cat’s annoying
It howled all through the night
Came up to our window
And gave our mog a fright

Next door’s cat’s annoying
It always does a wee
Beneath my Grandma’s rose bush
(And worse behind the tree)

Next door’s cat’s annoying
Now it’s on the roof!
Sauntering about,
Acting all aloof

Next door’s cat’s annoying
It’s spoiling for a fight
I’ve a mind to give it one
But some say that’s not right

Next door’s cat’s annoying
In the garage once more!
Done its business in my shoes
And sprayed the freezer door.

Next door’s cat’s annoying
If I had my way
I’d buy that pest a one-way ticket
To somewhere far away

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flickr.com/photos/chrisyarzab/5827332576 / Creative Commons