Money won’t buy you the moon and stars, but trips abroad and enormous cars and fancy drinks in exclusive bars, can all be purchased with money.
Money won’t buy you wisdom and truth or permanent beauty or lasting youth, but it makes a very good substituth, which makes it nice to have money.
The dog and the cat that you adore– money won’t make them love you more, but it keeps the wolf away from the door, which is why I wish I had money.
I’d have a fabulous London flat, a house in Provence and a Persian cat, and I’d give up being a Democrat, if only I had enough money.
When all the sins of excessive wealth had left me ruined, by speed or stealth, I’d still have memories of my health, and the fun I had with my money.
Gail White writes: “I wrote the poem as a sort of updating of Arthur Clough’s ‘Spectator ab Extra‘, which has the refrain line ‘How pleasant it is to have money.’ Some things never change.”
Gail White is the resident poet and cat lady of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Her books ASPERITY STREET and CATECHISM are available on Amazon. She is a contributing editor to Light Poetry Magazine. “Tourist in India” won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award for 2013. Her poems have appeared in the Potcake Chapbooks ‘Tourists and Cannibals’, ‘Rogues and Roses’, ‘Families and Other Fiascoes’, ‘Strip Down’ and ‘Lost Love’. ‘Money Song’ is collected in ‘Asperity Street‘. Her new light verse chapbook, ‘Paper Cuts‘, is now available on Amazon.
The Head was ambitious and nobody’s fool, A big man, efficient, and proud of his school.
At the start of the term, as he sorted his post, The item of mail that intrigued him the most
Was a piece puffing National Poetry Day, Including a list of the poets who’d stay
And workshop and somehow persuade the whole school That poets were ‘groovy’ and poems were ‘cool’.
‘Here’s status,’ the Head thought. ‘It’s not to be missed.’ The one problem, though, was the names on the list;
Though doubtless they wrote quite respectable stuff, Not one of them, frankly, was famous enough.
His school deserved more; his ambition took wing, And so he decided to do his own thing.
With his usual flair, and with chutzpah exquisite, He invited the whole English canon to visit.
Geoffrey Chaucer came first, on an equable horse, And Spenser, and Marlowe, and Shakespeare, of course
(Who was grabbed by the teachers of English, imploring ‘Do come and persuade the Year Nines you’re not boring.’)
Keats arrived coughing, Kipling marched vigorously; Matthew Arnold began to inspect the school rigorously –
Which delighted the Head, who with pride and elation Showed the bards of the ages today’s education.
Vaughan was ecstatic, though Clough was more sceptical. Ernest Dowson puked up in a litter receptacle.
Coleridge sneaked off to discover the rates Of an unshaven person outside the school gates;
Soon he’d sunk in a private and picturesque dream, While Auden was ogling the basketball team.
Plath lectured the girls: ‘Get ahead! Go insane!’ Algernon Swinburne cried: ‘Bring back the cane!’
Dylan Thomas soon found the head’s cupboard of booze, And Swift was disdainfully sniffing the loos.
And then the Head twigged, with a horrified jolt, That something had sparked a Romantic revolt.
Shelley’d gathered the students out in the main quad, And roused them to rise against school, Head, and God.
Byron soon joined him, and started to speak. (He showed his best profile, and spouted in Greek.)
The bards of the thirties were equally Red, And Milton explained how to chop off a head.
Decadents undermined all the foundations. Surrealists threw lobsters and rancid carnations.
Pre-Raphaelites trashed the technology room And the First World War poets trudged off to their doom.
Sidney with gallantry led a great charge in (Tennyson cheering them on from the margin).
The Deputy Head, who was rather a dope, Got precisely impaled on a couplet by Pope
(Who, while not so Romantic, was never the chap To run from a fight or keep out of a scrap).
Then the whole solid edifice started to shake As it was prophetically blasted by Blake.
Soon the School was destroyed. Eliot paced through the waste, And reflected with sorrow and learning and taste,
Which he fused in a poem, an excellent thing, Though rather obscure and a little right-wing.
He gave this to the Head, who just threw it aside As he knelt by the wreck of his school, and he cried
Salty tears that went fizz as they hit the school’s ashes. He said words that I’d better imply by mere dashes:
‘——– Poets! ——– Poetry – rhyme and free verse! Let them wilt in the face of a Headmaster’s curse!
‘Let poetry wither! How sweet it would be If all of the world were prosaic as me!’
George Simmers writes: “Poets in Residence was written as a celebration of National Poetry Day many years ago. Several people had been mouthing blandly off about how lovely poetry was in contrast to that horrible pop music young people listen to. Schools were being encouraged to give children a lot of poetry because it was nice and beautiful, and would make them nice. ‘Do these people have no idea of how incendiary the English canon is?’ I wondered. I really enjoyed demolishing the school around the ears of the pompous and pretentious head. I was a teacher at the time.”
George Simmers used to be a teacher; now he spends much of his time researching literature written during and after the First World War. He has edited Snakeskin since 1995. It is probably the oldest-established poetry zine on the Internet. His work appears in several Potcake Chapbooks, and his recent diverse collection is ‘Old and Bookish’.
Whenever I wake up and don’t feel well, I like to read a women’s magazine. I know that I can count on Vogue or Elle,
Cosmo or Glamour, Self or Mademoiselle, instead of pills, elixirs or caffeine, whenever I wake up and don’t feel well.
Page Eight has bathing suits that look just swell if you’re six foot and live on Lean Cuisine. I know that I can count on Vogue or Elle.
Page Nine’s a list of “wardrobe musts” that sell at reasonable prices—for a queen. Whenever I wake up and don’t feel well,
Page Ten says how to age, yet stay a belle. The photo? It’s a model of eighteen. I know that I can count on Vogue or Elle
to make my time in bed such living hell, I’m out of there in sixty seconds clean. Whenever I wake up and don’t feel well, I know that I can count on Vogue or Elle.
Editor: The villanelle is a highly structured poem, its two key lines rhyming and repeating several times. One of its challenges is to make each repetition fresh and interesting, either by developing and deepening the context, or by varying the repeated lines slightly or, as with this one, by having the same words resonate differently. Here “I know that I can count on” gives an initial impression of a favourable attitude to women’s magazines, but at the end the words show total disgust. This ‘Villain Elle‘ is typical of Balmain’s twists and puns and absolute control of form.
The artist said the wit was “full of it”, disparaged him. The punster tore the painter limn from limn.
Apparently some people believe that puns are “the lowest form of humour”, but I would suggest that those people are not good at wordplay, and therefore have no poetic sensibility. Look to Homer, Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson for puns; enjoy more discussion and examples here.
This short poem was published in The Asses of Parnassus, home of “short, witty, formal poems”. Thanks, Brooke Clark!
Things started so well: found a chick in a box, got her out, and days later, we wed– such a snap because, speaking of life’s pleasant shocks, my stepmom-in-law turned up dead.
Home that night, after finally fooling around (happy ending for both!), I sighed, “Heaven.” But my wife simply stared at the ceiling and frowned: “Is that it? I’m accustomed to seven.”
Melissa Balmain writes: “This poem comes from my latest collection, The Witch Demands a Retraction. To anyone who has mistakenly bought a copy of it for little kids: I am sorry. Maybe the book’s subtitle (fairy tale reboots for adults) should have been printed bigger. Or maybe the illustrator, Ron Barrett, should have made his drawings less adorable. Either way, to prevent further disasters in gift-giving, here’s a partial list of topics in the book: Interspecies adultery. Corrupt puppets. Kinky princes. Elderly cannibals. Impotent baked goods. Porcine insurance fraud. And, yes, eightsomes that include Sneezy, Happy and Dopey.”
As a kid growing up in New York, I considered our fall second rate: how I longed for the grand, mythological land we exotically labeled Upstate.
In that Eden, I’d heard, leaves turned bright, endless acres of yellows and reds, while my single tree browned, dropping one tiny mound that I kicked to the curb with my Keds.
Now I live several hours to the north, and the maples and oaks truly blaze— hues so loud they look fake—till the time comes to rake without stopping, for numberless days.
And I daydream of trips farther south, of the places I’ll shop, stroll and dine in that part of the map where the leaves may be crap but you don’t need a rod in your spine.
Melissa Balmain writes: “Like so many poems I write, this is a case of making lemonade out of lemons—or, more accurately, salad out of way too many leaves. My husband would like it known that in our family, he does most of the raking. But I do most of the talking about raking.”
‘Fallen’ was first published in Lighten Up Online.
Two walkers once, who left the path With fleeting union in mind, Were reaped – oh, tragic aftermath! – And permanently here combined.
Jerome Betts is the Featured Poet in the current issue of Light. I was glad to provide an introduction to the man and his poetry in that magazine’s Spotlight – the short poem I’ve quoted above is a personal favourite: it is a tight, well-structured play on the ‘grim reaper’ and the ‘combine harvester’.
He lives in Devon, England, where he edits the quarterly Lighten Up Online. Pushcart-nominated twice, his verse has appeared in a wide variety of UK publications and in anthologies such as Love Affairs At The Villa Nelle, Limerick Nation, The Potcake Chapbooks 1, 2 and 12, and Beth Houston’s three Extreme collections. British, European, and North American web venues include Amsterdam Quarterly, Better Than Starbucks, Light, The Asses of Parnassus, The Hypertexts, The New Verse News, and Snakeskin.
I lately lost a preposition: It hid, I thought, beneath my chair. And angrily I cried: “Perdition! Up from out of in under there!”
Correctness is my vade mecum, And straggling phrases I abhor; And yet I wondered: “What should he come Up from out of in under for?”
Morris Bishop had a high regard for light verse: “The aim of poetry, or Heavy Verse, is to seek understanding in forms of beauty. The aim of light verse is to promote misunderstanding in beauty’s cast-off clothes. But even misunderstanding is a kind of understanding; it is an analysis, an observation of truth, which sneaks around truth from the rear, which uncovers the lath and plaster of beauty’s hinder parts.”
Bishop was an acknowledged master of rhyme and meter, but that doesn’t imply that he would be limited by the grammatical restrictions of the apparently well-educated. He employed and enjoyed common speech.
Now this may sound strange coming from me, someone who writes a blog dedicated to the expansion of formal verse, but many “rules of grammar” are garbage. To me, correct speech is whatever unambiguously communicates what the speaker intended. This is naturally aided by the use of predictable patterns of word usage, because we are a pattern-recognition species, and this in turn leads to “rules”; but these rules are really only “commonly used patterns”.
Similarly the forms of traditional verse are there because they are useful: rhythm guides and builds emotion; rhyme, rhythm and wordplay all create engagement and help memorisation. The forms are neither arbitrary nor sacrosanct. The formality is purely useful (and part of its use is creating fun). Grammatical rules and formal verse have that in common.
Winston Churchill is often cited as the author of a scribbled comment on someone “correcting” his grammar: “This is the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put.” But that joke appears to predate his involvement with the issue: there is a lengthy discussion of it here in the Quote Investigator.
English has particularly confusing and contradictory rules because of the blending of several waves of Germanic speakers (Anglo-Saxons, followed by Danish invaders and later Dutch merchants) overrunning the British (i.e. Celtic speakers with their complicated auxiliary verbs: “How did you do that?”), in turn being overrun by French-speaking conquerors supported by Latin-speaking priests. (I recommend John McWhorter’s ‘Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue‘.) It was this latest ruling class that was averse to (among other things) ending a sentence with a preposition. But that’s a natural and correct part of speech for a Dane to end with.
Have you seen the quantum fox, the fox in flux, the paradox? His whereabouts is rare, because he’s in his den, and in this box.
This hokum locus tends to vex the best of us; the mind rejects the concept of his flightiness as fiction or as foxy hex.
But fiction’s just refocused facts – a lens that bends, a parallax. The fact remains that Foxy lacks a fix, til someone interacts.
See, should you pry inside the box, you’ll find a fox, or not a fox, and then this quantum nonsense stops and everything is orthodox.
Nina Parmenter writes: “I love reading ‘Quantum Fox’ out loud because it’s one of the few poems of mine I reliably know by heart and if performing it, I read it with props (er, a fox and a box funnily enough). Sometimes I also recite it to myself to distract my brain if it’s overheating! It’s one of the older poems in my book ‘Split, Twist, Apocalypse‘ (relatively – written around 2019 I think) and I can’t remember where the inspiration came from – I think it was just the nice feel of the words ‘Quantum Fox’!”
Nina Parmenter has no time to write poetry, but does it anyway. Her work has appeared in Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, The New Verse News, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and the Potcake Chapbook ‘Houses and Homes Forever’. Her home, work and family are in Wiltshire. https://ninaparmenter.com/
When your flesh freshly and your face flushly Face the imperatives of flesh, I find your mind now unleashed lusty-lushly… Must we not then enmesh?
This little poem was triggered by pondering the nearness to each other of the words fresh, flesh and flush, and jamming them all together. The result was coherent enough for publication in (naturally) ‘Rat’s Ass Review‘ – thanks, Rick Bates!