Cleri – who?


Edmund Clerihew Bentley


was just a school boy who

wrote the first clerihew.







Day Twenty-Five: Clerihew

Write a Clerihew.  These are rhymed, humorous quatrains involving a specific person’s name.

:)  What can I say?  Cleri-who?

The Titanic


Let me tell you, sweetheart,
Life for me has been one long luxury cruise.
I’ve dined at the Captain’s table
and danced across the ballroom floor.
I’ve had drinks in the panorama lounge
and facials in the spa.
I’ve played shuffleboard upon the deck
and gambled down below,
Shopped in elite boutiques, lived in royal suites
and had live theatre on the go.
I’ve soaked for hours in a hot tub
and had hors d’oeuvres with French champagne.
I’ve flirted with the deck hands
and hobnobbed with the beau monde.
I’m still floating, darling.
Life for me has been one long luxury cruise.





Day Twenty-Four:  Parody Poem

Today, write a parody or satire based on a famous poem. It can be long or short, rhymed or not. But take a favorite poem of the past, and see if you can’t re-write it on humorous, mocking, or sharp-witted lines.

This assignment was difficult because my favourite poems are not ones I want to parody.
Can you guess (before I tell you) on which poem The Titanic is based?

If you don’t know it, read Langston Hughes’ Mother to Son.  It is brilliant.
I thought the title of my “parody” redeemed it a bit.


Royal Flush


jack of spades

Spades, spades:  Jack of spades.
Trades, trades:  Jack of all trades.

Knave, some call you, villainous fool.
Your love-struck cousin the hedgehog
(who kept company with prayerful Joan)
was a thief.

What do you steal?

Prince Hector holds diamonds
and Maccabee is coming up clover,
but you, giant-slayer, have no peace.

Holger, Ogier, one-eyed son of a Dane
(my true grandfather),
knight to Charlemagne
(by some accounts, my ancient grandfather),
hero in French poetry,
minstrels sing your praise.

You were often wild
in the home where I was raised.

At what do you stare,
gazing over your left shoulder as you do?
Private valet to the Crown,
do you dream of diadems and sceptres?

Stay your hand, in line with the Court,
until I bear the pool.





Day Twenty-Three:  “Take a card, any card” Poem

Today,  take a chance, literally. Find a deck of cards (regular playing cards, tarot cards, uno cards, cards from your “Cards Against Humanity” deck – whatever), shuffle it, and take a card – any card! Now, begin free-writing based on the card you’ve chosen. Keep going without stopping for five minutes. Then take what you’ve written and make a poem from it.

I drew the Jack of Spades (obviously).




Dlinza bedecks herself with iridescent scarab jewels

and vermilion strings of wavy-legged millipedes.

Her coiffure falls into leafy tumbles of green

with fat tendrils reaching toward the floor.


Bracket fungus adorns her feet,

over which trips the throaty thrush searching for wormy toe-jam.

She laughs with the raucous hornbill

and hums a dull, doleful dirge with the cicada.


At night the bushbaby bounds between her arms

and the monotoned fruit bat swoops around her face.

The night-loving civet dons his mask

and scampers between her legs hunting for illusive lizard and snake.


Her warm, earthy fragrance will draw you in

with the promise of a rich skin-tight embrace.


Beware lest she forgets to let you go.








Day Twenty-Two : Pastoral Poem

Today is Earth Day, so write a “pastoral” poem. Traditionally, pastoral poems involved various shepherdesses and shepherds talking about love and fields, but yours can really just be a poem that engages with nature. One great way of going about this is simply to take a look outside your window, or take a walk around a local park. What’s happening in the yard and the trees? What’s blooming and what’s taking flight?

This poem is a tribute to Dlinza, the forest around which our little town is built.

Happy EARTH DAY!  :)

love (an erasure poem)








Day Twenty-One : Erasure Poem

Write an Erasure Poem.  This involves taking a pre-existing text and blacking out or erasing words, while leaving the placement of the remaining words intact.

This page was taken from a review of a music album.
It wasn’t until I started actually reading the text that I realised it was a review of The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg by (you guessed it) Beatenberg.  They JUST won the SAMA (Sunday night!) for this album.  How serendipitous is that!?


I Know


I know that John lost his dad in a car accident two years ago and that sometimes he still cries himself to sleep at night.

I know that Cindy’s mother doesn’t have time to spend with her ever since the baby came and so Cindy’s homework is not always signed.

I know that Dan’s father is an alcoholic and comes home after midnight every night and wakes the family up, shouting and screaming at them.

I know that Sam’s parents had a big fight and yelled at each other and threw things at each other and that Sam and his little sister hid behind the couch.

I know that Dorothy’s mom went away and that Dorothy doesn’t know why and that Dorothy blames herself, thinking her mom hated her so much she couldn’t stay.

I know that Greg’s dad was so angry with Greg’s mom that he put rat poison in her food and that Greg ate it and was in hospital for two weeks.

I know that David never brings a lunch to school because there is no food at home.

I know that Nancy’s mother works in a city far away and that Nancy never knew her dad and that she is being raised by her grandparents who are very old and tired.

I know that the children in my class are a gift from God.
I know that they are each unique and precious.
I know that I love them beyond words and will fight for them
and pray for them
and work hard for them that they might be the best that they can be.
I know that life is not fair, but God is good, and that he can make something beautiful out of something ugly and painful.

I know this
because he did it for me.








Day Twenty : I Know Poem

Today’s challenge: write a poem that states the things you know. For example, “The sky is blue” or “Pizza is my favourite food” or “The world’s smallest squid is Parateuthis tunicata. Each line can be a separate statement, or you can run them together. The things you “know” of course, might be facts, or they might be a little bit more like beliefs. Hopefully, this prompt will let your poem be grounded in specific facts, while also providing room for more abstract themes and ideas.

This “poem” was difficult and easy to write:  Difficult because it is hard for me to think about what the children in my class have to bear.  Easy because it is all true.  (The names have been changed.)

The Socioeconomic Gap

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An ever-widening mouth is hungry.
If you don’t feed it, the outcast will fill it for you.






Day Nineteen : Landay

Today’s challenge:  write a Landay.  Landay is a form of folk poetry from Afghanistan. Traditionally recited or sung aloud, and frequently anonymous, the form is a couplet comprised of 22 syllables. The first line has 9 syllables and the second line 13 syllables. The Landay has a wondrous and haunting history.  Read more about the Landay here.  

South Africa is suffering “growing pains.”  We became a democracy without really understanding what a democracy is.  Many people believed after 1994 that all our problems would be solved, that everyone would have a job, house, car and money.  We are experiencing a gap between “the haves” and “the have-nots” which is wider than ever before.  17 million South Africans now live on social grants (a third of our population is on welfare).  How do we bridge this gap?  How do we create a country which empowers everyone?

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