Mystery Serials

A Tangle of Verdure, #Tanka Tuesday, #Butterfly Cinquain

Photo by Ashley Knedler on Unsplash

my roof

is a tangle

of assorted verdure,

twisting branches woven, forming

an arch,

like the nave of a cathedral.

bright leaves and Spanish moss

gracefully sway


© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This was written for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday challenge. She asked us to write a syllabic poem with synonyms for “green” and “morass.” I chose to write a butterfly cinquain. The Poets Collective defines a butterfly cinquain this way: “An  unrhymed 9 line poem. syllabic, 2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2 syllables per line.”

I’m feeling super lousy today after my second Covid shot. I’m glad my migraine brain could still come up with poetry, though I decided I didn’t want to bother with rhyme today. 😛 Thinking about the chosen words and synonyms, I thought about Spanish moss and remembered hiking under trees like this while visiting Virginia. Unfortunately, my poor dad was a feast for chiggers that day, but the trees were beautiful.

Watermelon Bubble Tea at Sonny’s Frozen Desserts

Watermelon bubble tea with mango popping boba,
from Sonny’s Frozen Desserts, Cedar Grove, NJ

My watermelon bubble tea was a refreshing treat and a welcome reward after running a lot of errands in a hot car.

After receiving my second Covid shot — hurray! — picking up a CD of an X ray and buying a few groceries, I was ready for some liquid refreshment and stopped at Sonny’s Frozen Desserts in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. This was not my first time getting a bubble tea and not my first time getting a bubble tea at Sonny’s, but it was my first time with this particular flavor combination.

This was a watermelon flavored bubble tea. I asked for popping boba instead of the usual tapioca pearls, and the only flavor option for those at the time was mango. My favorite bubble tea flavor lately has been Thai tea. Thai tea is orange in color, slightly spicy and sweetened with condensed milk. It is often spiced with star anise but can also be flavored with orange blossoms or tamarind. Also, previously, every bubble tea I tried has had the tapioca pearls.

(Stock photo — not from Sonny’s.) Missvain, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This time, I wanted the popping boba, these little bubbles (made with seaweed) that are filled with fruit juices and burst in your mouth. They seemed more refreshing and thirst quenching than the tapioca option. I then decided they would work best with a fruity flavored bubble tea.

My watermelon bubble tea reminded me, in a good way, of watermelon Jolly Ranchers. It was definitely recognizable as watermelon flavor but seemed significantly sweeter than watermelon is naturally. It was a milky tea as you can see from the photo. I was not disappointed in the popping boba. They did seem refreshing, a lot more so than tapioca would be. After the liquid disappeared from my cup, I had a big collection of boba left in it. I didn’t mind eating this alone, and, eventually, used a spoon to finish them off. Even though they were mango flavored, they didn’t seem to clash with the watermelon flavor and actually seemed to absorb some of that flavor. I was still tasting watermelon as I was getting the last bits.

Bubble tea is a trend that has been around in the U.S. for quite some time. It originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. It caught on first on the West Coast of the U.S. and slowly gained popularity elsewhere. It is a mixture of tea, milk, sugar, often fruit juices and, of course, the tapioca pearls. If you haven’t yet experienced it, it may seem a little strange to you. When I first learned about it, some years back, I was curious and intrigued but wondered if I would really like sucking up chewy solids in my tea. It may take some adjustment, but I’m sure you have experienced ice cubes and probably fruit pieces or other solids in drinks before.

Each bubble tea vendor may have a different menu of flavor options. At Sonny’s, you have your choice of Thai, chai, Earl Gray, mixed green, milk, vanilla milk, almond, taro, coconut, strawberry, honeydew, watermelon, peach, mango and chocolate.

Jukebox Jive, #Monday Quadrille

Photo by Guilian Fremaux on Unsplash

Oldies were new on the jukebox,

In the decade of the doo-wops.

Couples would jitterbug and jive,

Terpsichorean footwork’s drive.

Couples rocking around the clock

Keeping rhythm with the jukebox.

Rockin’ robin both night and day,

And rock and roll is here to stay.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This was written for dVerse’s Monday quadrille challenge, with the requirement of using the word “juke.” A quadrille is a poem having just 44 words. “Terpsichorean” is a great word, but it was also thrown in there in desperation to get exactly 44 words to fit my form. 😛

Two Crocodile Limericks, #Laugh Along a Limerick

Image by Dmitry Abramov from Pixabay

I once saw a big crocodile

Who had a ridiculous smile.

It was full of teeth

And mystery meat,

Odd trash and a metal nail file.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This one was written for Esther Chilton’s Laugh Along a Limerick challenge, with the requirement that it include the word “smile.” It is slightly gross perhaps, but, hopefully, in a playful way. I thought of the second limerick first, but after dreaming up rhymes with “crocodile” and “dial,” I forgot my objective was to include the word “smile.”

Image by my best in collections – see and press 👍🔖 from Pixabay

There once lived a big crocodile

With legs that were too short to dial

“Take out” on the phone.

He left phones alone

And made “fast food” of all in the Nile.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

Artists of Yore, #Paint Chip Poetry, #Ubi sunt

Where are the artists now of yore,

Talent oozing from ev’ry pore,

Who made out of Scripture’s pages,

Art that lasted through the ages?

With great skill and brushes of gold,

In manuscripts rare and now old,

they worked out illumination,

which now with much rumination,

we wonder in awe at their craft,

Studying letters’ fore and aft.

Anonymous Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Where now are the Renaissance men,

Like Leonardo was back then?

Even his sketches in graphite

Are an extraordinary sight.

Now, his drawings of his machines,

his Vitruvian Man long and lean,

Are kept under glass for our view,

Preserved in peachy sepia hues.

They then continue to amaze,

All those who upon them will gaze.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

Leonardo da Vinci, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This was written for Linda Kruschke’s Paint Chip Poetry challenge, where we were challenged to write an ubi sunt poem featuring three of the paint chip words. A few of these words like “octopus” were a bit strange this time, but the words “illumination” and “graphite” immediately struck me as having artistic applications. I thought I could work “peachy” in there too.

Below is a paragraph taken from Linda’s page, which she took from John Drury’s poetry dictionary on the ubi sunt poetry form.

UBI SUNT (uh’-suhnt’, “uh” pronounced as in “put”; Latin, “where are”) Poetic theme in which the poet asks “where are” certain people, where have they gone. The theme began in Medieval Latin, with the formula ubi sunt used to introduce a roll call of the dead or missing and to suggest how transitory life is.

The best-known ubi sunt poem [is] François Villon’s ballade whose refrain is “But where are the snows of yester-year?”