Laughter Is Good Medicine — Day 1

I think it’s past time for a new series from me, and in light of the heaviness weighing on people all over the world right now, I’m feeling led to offer just a touch of humor on a daily basis — for the next 7 days — in the hope it will help us laugh a little. The Word of God says, “A Merry heart does good like a medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22). And Reader’s Digest used to have a joke page with the heading “The most completely lost of all days is that on which one has not laughed.”  I agree whole-heartedly with both those sentiments. So let’s laugh a little and make ourselves feel better.

Of course, everyone has his own idea of what’s funny, but I’m going to do my best to give you a good variety of subject matter, attitude, and genre in this series. For the first installment, I’m reposting a short story from several years ago. I re-read this story myself periodically, and I have to say that I still enjoy it as much now as I did when I wrote it. I hope you do as well.

ANTHROPOLOGY 101

JUNGLE ISLAND 2

My marriage to an anthropologist was educational – and short. Herman loved his work and was really quite vain about it. He honestly believed that there was no people group that he could not figure out and eventually befriend – even when scores of others in his field had failed.

For years, he had been studying one particular tribe of natives on a tiny island in the Pacific that most ship’s captains refused as a port of call. The tribe was said to be cannibalistic, but my Herman just knew that he could convert them after explaining how much he had studied them in order to become their friend.

On looking back, I suppose that I should have put my foot down and refused when he insisted we honeymoon on the island. But he was so certain that he could convince the natives to help him with his research. So, as usual in our relationship, I acquiesced. My friends and family scolded me for my attitude. They said Herman should be treating me like a goddess rather than just ordering me around and dragging me off to some God-forsaken island to begin our marriage.

When we booked passage on the ship, we had to pay for a skiff as well because the captain told us that he would anchor far offshore, and we would have to go the rest of the way on our own. When we left the ship, he reminded us again what fools he considered us. But Herman insisted that he had everything under control.

We hadn’t been on the island more than an hour before the tribe captured us. They were quite large – both men and women – and exceedingly dark in coloring. They bound Herman immediately and tied him to a large pole at one end of their village. I was shaking like a leaf as they approached me, but they just looked at me with wide eyes and smiles, while making the most excited conversation with each other. I could understand only a very small part of what they said – mainly by their actions.

Then four of them brought a huge carrier – sort of a chair supported between two long poles and carried by the natives. One of the men – seemingly the chief – took my hand and escorted me to the chair. They then carried me ceremonially into the center of the village and escorted me to an elevated area on which sat a throne – all inlaid with gold. I sat, still quaking inside, but almost too overcome by my curiosity to concentrate on being afraid.

Next they placed a crown of the most exquisite jewels on my head and then bowed down to the ground in front of me. Finally, I spoke and asked in my own language for an explanation. One young man came forward and spoke to me in my native tongue to explain.

Evidently my golden blond hair was a sign to them. They had been expecting the goddess of their tribe to come to them in person for many years, and the sign of her true identity was that her head would shine like the sun. So I’m to be worshiped and given every one of my heart’s desires forever. I suppose one might say that, in a way, it’s thanks to Herman that I’m being treated like a goddess.

Of course, they prepared a huge feast in celebration of my arrival, and I guess everyone would have to admit that Herman truly did give his all for the cause of getting to know this tribe of people better. Naturally, I declined any food.

I certainly miss Herman, but I have to admit that what worries me more is what will happen when my roots start to grow out.



When Violets Aren’t Violet

VIIOLETES - Anelka -- PX

Roses are red;
Violets are ———- purple!

Doesn’t it bother anyone that numerous poets for centuries have painted those innocent little violets blue?  Of course, I know that there are, indeed, some strains of violets that are more blue — and even some that are pink and white. But I have to believe that they are the exception, because, after all, the very name of these flowers is spelled  v-i-o-l-e-t.

However, I’m not really complaining about the color of violets. I just got to thinking about that particularly well-known poetic line and about how we as poets really do feel we have our own kind of literary license. What is it about poets that makes them think they can write just anything they want to write as long as it rhymes and keeps the meter smooth and uninterrupted?  Well, I’ll tell you what it is about us:

We love words — the sounds of words — the rhythm of words — the music of words. And we love playing around with lots of different numbers of syllables. We love to hear consonants repeated, vowels repeated, digraphs repeated. And if we need to turn a sentence around backwards to get the right rhythm — or leave out a couple letters replaced by an apostrophe — or go beyond the norm with hyperbole — well, it’s all part of what we see as our job —— and to be honest —— it’s part of the FUN of writing poetry.

True poets follow rules of meter and rhyme and correct use of figurative language. But we also follow rules of emotion, yearning, and imagination.  So, yes, we do believe that it’s okay if we altar reality a bit here and there or say things backwards. If it helps make the poem touch a heart, grab the imagination, take the reader to another realm, or tickle his funny-bone, we figure we’ve done our job well.

And, personally, I think that’s why a poem can speak to readers in such unique ways. People don’t always realize it when they are reading a poem, but it’s those quirky kinds of things — those little excursions away from what is generally the “accepted” pattern — that has caused many a poem to grab a place in the reader’s mind and heart and stay there.

So okay … here’s my version:

Roses are red;
Violets are blue;
We don’t always stick
With only what’s true.
We’re looking for words
With meter and rhyme,
And if we can’t find them,
We might tend to whine.
So cut us some slack;
We’re doing our best.
If a poem gives you pleasure,
It passes the test.



 

Too Old For a Valentine???

 

VALENTINE SIGN FOR OLD LADY“Please, won’t you be my valentine?”
That’s the slogan on my sign
As up and down the street I trudge,
But can’t get any hearts to budge.
It could be I’m too blatantly
Begging someone to love me.
Perhaps if I were less profuse
The guys would then be less obtuse.
But when you’re pressing 101
And haven’t much time left for fun,
It seems a shame to take it slow —
Playing hard-to-get, you know.
But I just thought of something more:
It could be at the problem’s core
Is simply there’s no hearts to win
‘Cause there’s no hundred-year-old men.


Please don’t ask me where this came from because I don’t have a clue. I’m still a long way from a hundred and one. And I know I broke some grammar rules, but that’s one of the really great things about poetry: You can get away with stuff you could never get away with in prose.  🙂
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!



 

Rain Poems

It’s been raining here for two whole days, so I thought it was only fitting that I write about rain. Since I’m in a poetic mood, I decided I’d give myself a little workout and do one haiku, one cinquain, and one simple iambic pentameter verse about that subject.

heavy-rain-tree-for-background.jpg

HAIKU

Everything is gray.
Rain hanging like a curtain.
No sun peeping in.


CINQUAIN

Raining!
Again today!
I just have to complain:
All is gray and wet and dreary!
Boring!


IAMBIC PENTAMETER VERSE

Another boring day of endless rain.
We don’t need this much water every day.
Sunshine is now a fading memory.
The birds won’t even come out now to play.

I know some tribes have dances that they do
To bring the rain when grounds are parched and bare.
I wonder if there is another dance
To end the rain and turn the weather fair.



 

 

Weekly Smile – 1/20/20

I’m jumping in for the “Weekly Smile” at Trent’s World this week. If you’d like to join in, hop over there and get the easy rules for participating. Everyone has something to smile about every week, and even though we sometimes pass those things by without making note of them, there’s something really special about taking the time to share with others about what made us smile. It usually makes someone else smile as well.

That’s what I’m hoping to do this week. I had several smiles during the past week, but one of my big smiles inside was when I was browsing through one of my art journals and came across the cartoon-ish painting below. I did this piece on the spur of a whimsical moment, and it goes with the equally whimsical poem.

I couldn’t hold back the smile and the sense of fun that came over me when I looked at it again. I’ve hardly noticed it since I painted it last October, but this week brought it to the forefront. (Sorry the page is wrinkled, but that happens sometimes when we paint on paper that’s pretty lightweight.) I hope it brings you a smile as well.

TEA

SURVIVAL

Huge cup of tea,
A piece of cake,
A cookie — two or three —
Some chocolate bonbons in a box
That’s labeled just for me —
I think, perhaps, I’ll make it
Through this day adequately.


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Cinquain: Just Do It

QUIL PEN AND INK -- LunarSeaArt -- PX

Written in response to a couple friends of mine who have said for almost a year that they’ve thought about trying to write cinquain, but they won’t even make a start. They find it fascinating, but seem to be afraid of it. They have this false idea that because they need to count syllables, they will have trouble. If they’d just try, they’d be surprised and delighted with the results — and hooked on it– like I am.  🙂

Dear friend,
Tell me again
Why you don’t try cinquain.
You think it’s difficult to write?
It’s not.

You say
You are afraid
That you can’t get it right.
Syllable count seems difficult.
It’s not.

Just try,
And you will find
That it’s much easier
Than you have even dared to think.
DO IT!


photo courtesy of LunarSeaArt @ pixabay.com
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12 Days of Christmas Coffee – Day 12

 

COFFEE W. GLASSES - Gerd Altmann - PX

Wishing all of you the happiest, merriest, most carefree new year ever — and lots of great coffee to enjoy in 2020!


In case you missed some of the earlier posts in “12 Days of Christmas Coffee,” just drop down and click on “12 Days of Christmas Coffee” in the tag line at the end of this post. That will take you to a page with all 12 posts.


photo courtesy of Gerd Altmann @ pixabay.com

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