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Thread: Auntie's April 2012 Thread: 30 Poems in 30 Days

  1. #76
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    April 28 From Bad to Verse

    April 28

    As this thread comes down to the wire, I still have a short list of poetic forms which haven’t yet made an appearance in “30/30.” I’ll save the list and attempt to explore them at a later date in the “anti-poetry” thread. Today I’m returning to the type of verse which Robert Frost likened to “playing tennis without a net,” although yours fooly has never been able to wield a tennis racket, with or without one. Writing competent netless verse, however isn’t exactly a matter of phoning it. In a way it’s just as difficult to execute as using an established form, because the writer has to come up with a unique structure for that particular piece.

    Perhaps that’s the reason there have been relatively few, truly “netless” poems in this thread, namely April 3, April 5, and April 10. On April 12, the net was hiding way up in Iceland. But back here today is another piece of netless verse, also known as “free,” with absolutely no cost to you.

    The source of this next number is an online ad consisteing of just a single line asking the Freudian question, “What do rabbits want?”

    What Do Rabbits Want?

    We want a comfortable patch
    of turf that’s nettle-and-burdock free
    where we can lie on our furry backs
    and lounge for hours at a stretch.

    We want that show-off hawk,
    cruising above us in the threatening sky,
    to spin his fancy spirals somewhere else.

    And we want that sneaky fox,
    that foul-smelling coyote, and that
    vicious pit bull down on Elm Street
    to leave us the hell alone.

    We want our digs
    to stay dry. Now
    and then we don’t mind
    a freshening shower,
    but you can’t imagine
    how depressed an otherwise
    well-adjusted young rabbit
    can get when a suburban
    septic tank overflows.

    On a balmy moonlit evening
    we want to come our and arrange
    ourselves in a leporine ring
    and hop the night away,

    but most of all we want
    to pitch a bit of woo, make
    a lot of whoopie, and produce
    and more
    and more

    PS-- A similar subject had been masterfully treated by a "real" poet, Philip Larkin, whose name has been "haunting" the LitNet in recent days. The title of that poem is ""Myxomatosis."

    PPS I've been having a devil of a time connecting to the Web this day. Just my luck!-- with just two more of these things to go. I will try to log back on when the April 29 thingie is ready for posting, but if it should be noticeably absent tomorrow, I will try to finish up this thing on Monday if the connection problems cure themselves. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for all of your support this month.

    Last edited by AuntShecky; 05-02-2012 at 04:27 PM.

  2. #77
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    April 29-30 From Bed to Worse

    At last we come to the next-to-closing spot with a verse form called an epyllion, a miniature epic poem. The epyllion is a narrative poem, metrical but unlike its massive big brothers, it is much less lengthy. Often full of discursive sidetracks and mythological allusions, the main topic is romantic, in our modern sense of the word–“erotic,” if you will (which I’m sure many of you do.) The best known epyllia in English are Marlowe’s Hero and Leander and Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis.

    Shakespeare’s take on Ovidian myth evokes the Elizabethan society in which he lived and wrote but especially displays his signature gift for figurative language, wit and unprecedented insight into human emotion. His poem notoriously focuses upon the horniest woman in English literature, Lady Chatterley notwithstanding. The object of Venus’s affection, a hot-looking young dude named Adonis is just the opposite: annoyingly prudish, self-righteous, and more than a little impressed with his own awesomeness. A little of Adonis goes a long, long way, but he’s not the kind of “bore” that is the crucial factor in this love affair. Their pastoral seduction scene is just shy of going over the top in its passionate expression and explicit depiction of the lady’s desire, not to mention a vignette about a stallion and a mare doing– as the kids say– “the nasty.”

    Published in 1593, Venus and Adonis was Shakespeare’s first major effort establishing his poetic reputation. Some of his contemporaries considered the poem “improper;” despite that fact or maybe because of it, it went through nine printings. The subject and the expression are tame by modern audiences inured to salty language and full-frontal nudity on pay cable tv.

    The sesta rima stanza with an ababcc rhyme scheme carries the soubriquet, “Venus and Adonis stanza.” The following posting is a feeble attempt at a epyllion, which through ignorance avoids allusions and maintains our modern idiom. Every effort was made to steer clear of anachronisms, but if any pop up, like the proverbial wristwatch on a Roman soldier in a movie, please inform me. Not only that, this 2012 piece is a lot less hot than the original. (Sorry.) There are, however, imbedded references, direct, and indirect quotes from Shakespeare’s writing in his career that did not begin until some eleven years after this imagined episode. Within the few facts known about his life, official documents still extant establish that his wife was eight years older than he. That fact, coupled with Venus as seductress , makes it seem almost counter-intuitive not to portray the male character in this piece as the reluctant conquest. Instead it takes the more or less conventional view, with the male as pursuer, though in life the result often lies somewhere in between. So in a way yours fooly is not only inspired by Shakespeare but also Irving Berlin: “A man chases a girl until she catches him.”

    April 29

    Love in the Woods

    Some overgrown weeds on the river path
    bent to angry steps of an employee.
    But Nature was not the source of his wrath
    for loose from the shop, he was not quite free.
    From commerce into the wild he’d been hurled,
    full of briers is this working day world

    He passed two swans, immaculate, too proud
    to note the muddy stream, the sluggish flow.
    Any lumbering goose plucked from the crowd
    could grab the fowl mid-wade and bring them low.
    A burly hand, tough armour ‘gainst the peck,
    with one swift twist could break a slender neck.

    Here he’d been sent to do what he’d been told:
    to check on conies, also gulled and caught.
    Less tame, this hunter was eighteen years old;
    for greatness he was born, he gamely thought.
    When hope thus suppurates, a trap enjoins
    a man to bonds of mind and heart and loins.

    His salad days arose with wants, not needs.
    In youth bright dawn won’t sleep with darkest fears.
    Like lilies festering among the weeds
    raw goals run rampant through the greenest years.
    Yet vines will try to bolt and vault the ground
    ‘til tender, earthy tendrils keep them bound.

    Unrapt in his task, still he searched each snare
    he’d set for pelts which wrapped the ordered flesh;
    to seek out other prey did not prepare
    for rare sites woven in the forest’s mesh.
    Not primed for sights less common than a hare,
    his eyes first missed the hidden creature there.

    Part dappled in the sun, part in the shade,
    a lass remembered her mother said
    to fetch some rosemary for a stew she’d made.
    Her dutiful daughter would cull the sylvan bed.
    The figure snatched the swain’s distinctive eye.
    For a few moments more he stood to spy.

    He recognized her-- Master Hathweys’ girl
    whose strange wander to the woods that day
    discovered sweetly. Like the tribesman’s pearl,
    he hold a while, then softly throw away.
    To salvage the hour its charm worn thin,
    he’d try to charm her, not to woo nor win.

    He ventured closer to the shadowed glade
    to greet her gently with his voice of silk,
    though faintly she could smell the butcher’s blade,
    also a vague trace of a mother’s milk.
    Conversing as a couple anywhere,
    in no time both forgot both herb and hare.

    Then, asking about her family’s lot,
    and signing, his own spelling much the same:
    at times the alpha’s shown and sometimes not.
    With weighty words writ down, what’s in a name?
    He was no bumpkin, this he’d let her know,
    to make the buds of her esteem to grown.

    He bragged how he’d been to London town
    where he’d seen Euphues and St. Paul’s boys,
    and had felt the pull of the cap and gown;
    how he’d tamed mad steeds like children’s toys.
    No mention of the jobs not among his loves–
    of cutting meat and cutting rich men’s gloves.

    Perched upon the friend of his father’s knee,
    he’d heard fine learning, verse, and Latin lore.
    He told her of his hunger for the sea
    which gains advantage on this kingdom’s shore.
    In turn she told him nothing of herself;
    she listened, as volumes speak upon a shelf.

    But drenching rains near filled her barren well
    with thoughts that would bring drought to moister maids:
    cold death–then leading brutish apes in hell,
    the wasted wombs of women in parades.
    Yet marching in a spinster’s sense-souled shoes,
    she knew this youth would not be hers to choose.

    Still–if in faith he felt that love is blind
    and fails to mind the wide gap ‘tween their years,
    against conventions’s tide he’d wall his mind
    and let her waves wash over his frank fears.
    Her overripe wish came perhaps too soon,
    while dallied discourse ate the afternoon.

    As the sun prepared to take to his bed,
    and lovers meet to consummate their plans,
    he saw up close her eyes and noble head,
    and sipped the creamy skin upon her hands.
    Then not too roughly seized her by the wrist.
    Not frightened she did not fight nor resist.

    On mossy bed they hadn’t planned to lie,
    nor Venus’s chariot meant to ride,
    yet both in thrall to one another’s sigh:
    impromptu groom and most unwitting bride.
    That tavern wench with her ill-fitting love
    matched not this snugness, like his father’s glove.

    Postscript signs in her middle swelled before
    belated banns sealed fate, perhaps one heart.
    A babe soon born; then twins a quick year more,
    a wife at home, another one in art.
    Two loves wrought in ebb and flowing stages
    That brought to life immortal light for ages.

    And finally, we’re going to shut this thing down with a limerick:
    April 30


    A LitNutter in a strange kind of haze
    entered an oddly deranged sort of phase.
    She called herself “Auntie”
    and her wit proved quite scanty,
    writing verse for a full thirty days.

    And that’s a wrap!
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 05-02-2012 at 04:26 PM.

  3. #78
    riding a cosmic vortex MystyrMystyry's Avatar
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    A Purple Haze?

    Well done Aunty! Bravo!

    A Bravura effort, each of them a gem! Please do May, please!

  4. #79
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    Shakespearean References

    Shakespearean References in “Love in the Woods” from april 29-30, above

    Stanza 1, l. 6: “Full of briers is this working day world” As You Like It, (I,iii,12)

    Stanza 2: Ben Jonson nicknamed W.S. as “Sweet Swan of Avon.”

    Stanza 3, l. 4: “born great. . .” Twelfth Night, (II,v, 158.)

    Stanza 4, l. 1: “salad days” Antony and Cleopatra,(I,v, 73.)
    “ ” l. 3: “lilies that fester” Sonnet 94, l. 14.

    Stanza 6, l. 2-3: “rosemary. . .remembrance” Hamlet, (IV, v, 174)

    Stanza 7, l. 3-4: “ . . .threw a pearl away. . .tribe” Othello (V, iii, 46)

    Stanza 9, l. 5-7: G.B. Harrison, Shakespeare The Major Plays notes the various spellings of surnames in the public records. Christopher Marlowe, for instance, appears in various documents as “Marlo, Marle, Marley, Marlin, Merling, Marling, Morley.” There are several variations in both the Shakespeare and Hathaway family names as well: “In Shakespeare’s will, the scribe spelt the name “Shackspeare” on the first sheet and “Shackspere” on the third. Shakespeare himself signed the three sheets: on the first he wrote ‘William Shakspere,’ on the second ‘Willm Shakspere,’ on the third “By me William Shakspeare.’ “

    Stanza 10, l. 2: “Euphues and St. Paul’s Boys” (Cf. G.B. Harrison, Shakespeare The Major Plays): “ . . .[I]n 1576 another kind of theatre opened. The choirboys of Queen’s Chapel Royal and of St. Paul’s were often summoned to Court to give musical and dramatic entertainments, which required much rehearsal. The masters of the two choirs hit on the bright notion of giving these rehearsals to a select public who should pay for the privilege of a preview. A hall was rented in the old Blackfriars’ Monastery in the city and was converted into a small private playhouse.” John Lyly, author of two popular about Euphues, noted for their overblown “euphuistic” style, provided “delicate trifles” in the material he wrote for Blackfriars, which lasted until 1589. It is conceivable that young Will Shakespeare may have attended one of their performances.

    Stanza 10, l. 4-6: Because of Shakespeare’s early “missing” years there has been much speculation among scholars as to how he spent his early youth. Possibilities include horse holder, butcher’s apprentice, and–-since his father was a yeoman as well as a glover and whitawer (tanner of animal skins for gloves)–young Shakespeare might have briefly dabbled in glovemaking as well.

    Stanza 11, l. 1-2: Harrison again: “ Elizabethan Englishmen were amply aware of the value of education. . . [and] were men of distinction, whose indirect influence on English life and thought . . .was very considerable. . .Hence not only were most men of any social standing in the provinces literate; many of them were highly cultured. Of the friends, for instance, of the Shakespeare family at Stratford-on-Avon, one was a Master of Arts of Oxford University and another read Latin for pleasure.”

    Stanza 11, l. 3-4: “When I have seen the hungry ocean gain/ advantage on the Kingdom of the shore,” Sonnet 65.

    Stanza 12, l. 3: “leading apes in hell” Much Ado About Nothing, II, I, 43.

    Stanza 13, l. 1 - I’d thought that “love is blind” originated with Shakespeare, but apparently the line, whose author is listed as anonymous in a book of quotations, was a time-honored platitude in Shakespeare’s day, and thus occasionally quoted it in his works.

    Stanza 14, l. 2– “consummate”-Indirect reference to Hamlet, III, (I, 8-9)

    Stanza 15, l. 5, “The hostess of the tavern, a most sweet wench,” (Henry IV, Part 1, I, ii, 44.)

  5. #80
    Registered User Hawkman's Avatar
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    A heroic undertaking, Auntie, and you seem to have come back laden with dragon's heads. Too bad there aren't any philanthropic kings giving away significant portions of their realms to reward those as valiant as you. Still, You seem to have gathered together a bag of gems of you own making. Be wise, and convert them to the chinks which guild the path to recognition.

    Will you be taking a well earned rest now, or are you so fired up by your muse that you will continue to cast the largess of your talents before the greedy muzzles of your public? I do hope so.

    Live and be well - H

  6. #81
    All are at the crossroads qimissung's Avatar
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    You know, Auntie, I usually don't really like literature that speculates on the lives of real people, but this is beautifully done, as your work always is.

    Brava, brava, on thirty fascinating days!
    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its' own reason for existing." ~ Albert Einstein
    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Bonzai
    "Some people say I done alright for a girl." Melanie Safka

  7. #82
    Still, on a chalk plateau Bar22do's Avatar
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    It'll take me long, Auntie, to catch up with your April learned, inspired, heroic, so well documented an effort! I will need to spread my reading over May to be able to taste your art fully. My long absence deprived me of the immediate pleasure of your dedicated, Herculean work!

  8. #83
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    Thank you for the rhyme and raison ! Vive Avril !

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor STATELY
    Enchant Me

    Your very being a desire for answer
    Lament not your unassailable mystery
    Enchant me with your dreams


  9. #84
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    Index (sort of)

    Thank you, everyone, for reading and commenting on these!
    I meant to do a type of index for this thread, but an unexpected event got in the way. Finally, here is a list of titles, poetic forms,and/or genres for "30/30" (Not linked. If interested in a particular poem, please scroll up or down to the appropriate date.)

    April 1
    “Poetry Month”

    April 2
    “The Trout”
    rhyming quatrain with line breaks

    April 3
    “The Crocus”
    “netless” (free verse)

    April 4
    “Gehenna’s Child”
    rhyming couplets

    April 5
    “No More Whining for Bread”

    April 6
    “A Murder of Crows”

    April 7
    epigram (sort of)

    April 8
    “Full Moon in April”
    septet; rhyme royal

    April 9
    “Double dactyl”
    double dactyl

    April 10
    “Man Bites Dog”
    netless narrative poem

    April 11
    “Whale Watch”
    iambic trimeter qautrains

    April 12
    “Termagant is Fair Pay”
    really, really netless

    April 13
    13-line rondeau

    April 14
    “Two Amoebae Go into a Bar”
    Amoebean; rhyming couplets

    April 15
    “A Kid Does His Homework”
    Martian poetry

    April 16

    April 17
    “A Night to Remember”

    April 18
    Petrarchan sonnet

    April 19
    “Ode to (and on) a Pillow”
    mock-heroic, terza rima, travesty, burlesque

    April 20
    “A Prayer for the Earth”

    April 21-22
    “Inside Baseball”
    parodies of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “Casey at the Bat”

    April 23
    “The Groundling”
    Shakespearean sonnet

    April 24
    “Hock Tuesday”

    April 25
    two poems about St. George
    narrative, Bob and Wheel; clerihew

    April 26
    “Words in Bloom”
    curtal sonnet

    April 27
    Ditties inspired by “Sylvie and Bruno”
    three parodies after Charles Dodgson

    April 28
    “What Do Rabbits Want”

    April 29
    “Love in the Woods”
    epyllion, sesta rima

    April 30
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 05-18-2012 at 03:47 PM.

  10. #85
    Registered User miyako73's Avatar
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    Auntie, I have a question. My current method of writing is just writing down what pop up in my head. finding the right words for them, and digging metaphors from my past. It seems to me that when I follow certain forms, I don't feel I emotionally invest enough. How do you make certain poetic forms naturally flow as if they are yours not copied from the poets of the old? Thanks, Auntie.
    Last edited by miyako73; 05-15-2012 at 06:03 PM.
    "You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

    --Jonathan Davis

  11. #86
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Fantastic Auntie. This was (1) an achievement and (2) some real good poetry. I also enjoyed reading some of your commentary on poets and poetry.

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog:

  12. #87
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    Thank you Mikayo73. You're a serious scholar and such a nice girl! Hope someday all of your ambitions become fruitful.

    And thank you as well, dear Virgil.

    Someday soon, as I begin to get more of my strength back and recover from my clumsy
    injury I'll post a blog describing how this self-indulgent thread came to be.

    Thank you everyone, for reading and commenting.

  13. #88
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    I've just gone through and picked out the shorter poems to comment on, Auntie. I'll do the longer ones in the future.

    Also, I've read no one else's comments prior to my own.
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post

    April 1
    Poetry Month

    Again it’s April, time to write in verse.
    It makes me anxious that I can’t rehearse
    these feeble lines, which genius makes look worse.

    In literary light they fall to shame,
    with excellence exceeding fickle fame.
    Unworthy am I to mention the name

    of Chaucer, whom time never could discard;
    nor less the birth and death day of the Bard,
    both on the twenty-third. *It’s also hard

    with Browning’s fond longing for England’s cool*
    clime in the month great Eliot found cruel.
    But I’ll try it anyway, like a fool.
    I'm not usually a fan of poetry about poetry--I usually find it obvious and uninteresting--but this is an exception. I didn't start liking until the start of the third stance, which seemed to add a bit of substance. It reminded me a lot of older poetry when the muses were invoked, the muses in this case being older poets. Not bad. Not much beneath the surface, but entertaining.
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    April 2
    The Trout

    Between the rocks
    a silver

    the clear
    and churning

    it moves
    the swollen,
    silvan brook

    the human
    babbling, and
    the hook.
    I find your ability to be so diverse with structure quite impressive. I like the imagery and minimalism of this one, along with the message at the end, which I assume was that nature, in it's simple and ignorant way, is above humanity. The fish has no use for human inanities.
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post

    April 3

    The Crocus

    Forget about
    the oligarch
    and those whose
    boots would stomp
    upon our will.

    Instead submit
    to anarchy,
    the kind*
    that lets
    our spirits soar.

    Kneel down
    and take
    a loving look

    at the little
    purple spikes
    the shifting ground.
    I was with this one until the last stanza . . . can't really figure out what that's referencing. Now that that means it's bad--I often don't know what poems are referencing. The first two stanzas, while well written and constructed, reminded me too much of the mindset of an angsty teen extolling the "fight the power" mindset. Nothing wrong with that, but the mere use of the word "anarchy" reminds me of speeches given by high school hipsters.
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    April 4

    Gehenna’s Child

    My Irish ma, devout and proud,
    who cherished chalices and The Shroud,
    would set aside each Holy Day
    as one more reason we should pray.

    “Spy Wednesday” * in the last week of Lent–
    oh my-- what sinful thoughts that sent:
    like cloaks and daggers, furtive feints,
    state secrets not among the saints.

    Hypocrisy was what she meant,
    but I, intrigued, could not repent.

    *Matthew xxiii: * 3-5, 4-16
    My favorite so far. Unlike a couple of the previous ones, this one just seems so dense, layers and layers upon meaning. I can't say I understand it (too lazy to look up the bible verse, honestly), at least not all of it, but that's not always a bad thing. I can't pick out a particular line I like, they're all good. I love the imagery, the word choice, and the message.*
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    April 5

    No More Whining for Bread

    All of us, of course,
    need money,
    but I love
    wildflowers more,

    and the blissful sparrow
    unaware that
    someone’s got
    its back.

    Death will come
    (it always does),
    but for now it’s shelved
    way back in my mind,

    where from time to time
    it’s good to recall
    that the way
    to be remembered
    is to do
    peculiar things.
    It's not bad . . . but I just can't get into it. There just doesn't seem to be anything special about it--nature poetry, meh (by the way, I'm being a total hypocrite here since I've written my fair share of mature poetry--probably because it's so easy), It reminds me of Wordsworth without the strict structure, and I've mixed feelings on Wordsworth.
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    April 6

    A Murder of Crows

    The rooks (or black birds) circled round and round
    three empty roods on the deserted hill
    in sight of scattered thorns upon the ground
    so lost and disregarded in the kill.
    With empty roods on the deserted hill
    was there no sense of sorrow for the crown
    so lost? *And disregarded in the kill,
    a clash between divine and human will,
    was there no sense of sorrow for the crown,
    a part of ancient prophecy fulfilled?
    Could a clash of divine and human will
    be picked up by a sharply pecking bill?
    Not part of ancient prophecy's fulfilled
    insight, the scattered thorns upon the ground
    could be picked up with sharp, pecking bills
    of rooks and black birds circling round and round.
    I liked it, but the rhyming seemed a bit forced. I liked the reporting though, and there's great imagery here. I think with some revising this could be excellent. Also, the parentheses in the first line were distracting. Maybe just go with "black birds" or "rook," rather than explaining what a rook is.
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    April 7


    There is very little
    difference between
    the word “good”
    and the word “god.”

    Ummmm, don't really know what to say about this one. I know this will sound harsh, but it seems kind of stupid. There's just not enough there, or maybe there is and I'm not finding it, but it seems like a spur-of-the-moment poem gone bad (of course, one couldn't blame you, forcing yourself to write a poem a day ).
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post

    Full Moon in April

    The other night I thought it no avail,
    celestial sights hide, eluding me.
    A meteor spray or a rare comet’s tail*
    will bolt like a skittish child from a bee.
    Although a shower loomed, I still could see–
    despite lenticular clouds- clear as glass,
    the moon called “Egg” or “Pink” or “Sparrow Grass.”

    I can't say I'm a fan of this one, either. I don't dig the fourth line at all, and I'm trying to figure out what it's about, as in what's below the surface. It's one of the poems in which I think maybe I'm missing something.

    That's as far as I got for now. I'll take a look at the rest when I can.

  14. #89
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    Thank you M-M, for taking the time to read these and to give such well-thought replies. The one about the crows tries to follow the form of a pantoum, which may have given it that "forced" impression. "No More Whining for Bread" makes oblique references to specific Biblical passages.

    I believe I agree with many of your assessments on these. Thanks again.

  15. #90
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    Here's the blog that explains how all of this nonsense came to be:

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  4. Revelling in Poems
    By blazeofglory in forum Poems, Poets, and Poetry
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    Last Post: 07-24-2007, 04:48 AM

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