What Do I See?

Hermann Rorschach, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I think I only see a smudge

Or aliens guzzling down fudge,

Seahorses kissing sea urchins

or seaweed undersea lurking,

Eiffel Tower by Picasso,

An odd man with green mustachios,

Strange one-clawed acrobatic crabs

With ostentatious derby hats,

What malady’s inflicting me?

Imagination’s all I see.

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This is for dVerse’s Monday quadrille challenge. By their definition, a quadrille is a poem with exactly 44 words. Our poems had to include the word “smudge.”

Rain Rhythm, #Light Verse

Photo by Matteo Catanese on Unsplash

Rain splashes on my hat,

Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat,

And soaks up the door mat,

Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat,

Going splish and then splat,

Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat,

With rhythm like jazz scat,

Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat,

It rains both dogs and cats,

Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat,

It soaks up my socks. Drat!

Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat,

I look like a drowned rat,

Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat,

I’ll go back to the flat,

Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat,

And that’s it, and that’s that!

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

Here is another silly poem/light verse. It was partly inspired by the new dVerse challenge for a poem using repetition, but this doesn’t quite use the technique requested. I thought I’d post it anyway and perhaps enter a different poem for that challenge. Americans don’t usually call an apartment a “flat,” but, well, apartment didn’t fit. “‘Apartment’ didn’t fit. Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat, I’ll pretend I’m a Brit, Rat-a-tat, Rat-a-tat.” 🙂

Two Duck Poems with Duck Photography

Photo by Susan Joy Clark

I’ve had a few opportunities to photograph ducks in the park from different trips there. I found these two floating on a raft together to be rather endearing. (It’s hard to tell, but I think the raft may actually be a platform that is anchored there underwater.) I keep noticing mallards together in male/female pairs, and it makes me think of Bambi and all of the animals getting “twitterpated” in springtime.

I thought I would combine photos with a couple of fun duck poems (not my own this time) of which I was reminded recently.

Photo by Susan Joy Clark

The Duck

Behold the duck.

It does not cluck.

A cluck it lacks.

It quacks.

It is specially fond

Of a puddle or pond.

When it sups,

It bottoms ups.

— by Ogden Nash

Another duck couple. Although seen on another day, perhaps it’s the same one?
Photo by Susan Joy Clark

I don’t have any “bottoms up” photos, but here is another duck poem with a similar theme, this time by Kenneth Grahame.

Ducks’ Ditty

All along the backwater,

Through the rushes tall,

Ducks are a-dabbling,

Up tails all!

Ducks’ tails, drakes’ tails,

Yellow feet a-quiver,

Yellow bills all out of sight,

Busy in the river!

Slushy green undergrowth

Where the roach swim —

Here we keep our larder,

Cool and full and dim.

Everyone for what he likes!

We like to be

Heads down, tails up,

Dabbling free!

High in the blue above

Swifts whirl and call —

We are down a-dabbling

Up tails all!

— by Kenneth Grahame

So, I don’t have any “bottoms up” photos of ducks, but I do have this photo of some baby ducklings.

Photo by Susan Joy Clark

The Rhyming Elephant

(Light Verse — More Poetry with Movie Quotes)

Photo by Becky Phan on Unsplash

There was once a circus elephant,

Who, although it wasn’t relevant

To his role in circus artistry,

Had a penchant, quite, for poetry,

But then, all his fellow pachyderms

Thought his hobby was a wacky yearn,

For from Mumbai unto Nairobi,

There was ne’er a poet wannabe,

Of elephant kind, in any case.

(That silliness just for human race.)

But he could not cessate his rhyming,

Nor stop his sense of comic timing,

So when one bellowed in frustration,

In his pachyderm protestation,

“Young sir! No more rhymes now! I mean it!”

‘Quipped, “Anybody want a peanut?”

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

Okay, I think I quite lost my brain with this one, but it was fun. I’m not sure if this is inspired by Ogden Nash or W.S. Gilbert, but it is, evidently, some silliness out of my own brain. dVerse recently had a challenge for poetry that included famous movie quotes. This line, “No more rhymes now! I mean it!” which was followed by “Anybody want a peanut?” from The Princess Bride immediately jumped into my brain, but then I realized, to follow the rules, we had to pick one of several quotes that were selected in advance. So, I did a poetic tribute to Back to the Future, but I thought I’d go back and see what I could do with this one. It’s kind of an interesting quote to work with, because it’s a bit of poetry itself, but I think I worked it into an entirely different context than the movie.

And for some baby elephant cuteness …

A Doggo and His Ball

Poem and Palinode

Franco, a little doggy I care for several days a week.

I have been writing some short stories lately, and though I am late for National Poetry Month, have been in the mood over the past few days to experiment with different poetry forms. I am always in the middle of a longer creative writing project, so it has been nice to write some shorter pieces and put out a piece of creative writing more often.

I came across this challenge by DVerse to write a palinode. As described on their page, “A palinode or palinody is an ode or song that retracts or recants a view or sentiment to what the poet wrote in a previous poem.” It’s possible to do the poem and its recanting in a two-part poem which is what I chose to do.

A Doggo and His Ball

1.

Franco is a funny boy,

Doggo with a favorite toy.

Balls are this doggo’s delight,

Which he dreams of day and night.

His fixation is annoying,

For the while he is enjoying,

the ball it bounces, skips and places

self into inconvenient spaces.

Only a hooman on her knees,

Face, hands or belly can retrieve

beloved bally from its snares

Under sofas, seats, beds or chairs.

2.

Did I say my darling was a pest,

Just because he gives me little rest?

Maybe I did, but only in jest.

© 2021 Susan Joy Clark

I’m not sure my form is flawless — poem people, be gentle — but maybe light, comic verse gives me more leeway?

I’m showing off my lovely mismatched staying-at-home outfit in this pic, but it’s a good example of Franco being a darling.

This silly ditty below, by Gelett Burgess in 1895, was shared on DVerse’s page as an example of a poem with palinode, and I liked it so much I’ll share it here.

“I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow
I’d rather see than be one.”

Later in life, Burgess wrote —

“Ah yes, I wrote the purple cow!
I’m sorry now I wrote it!
But I can tell you anyhow,
I’ll kill you if you quote it!”