Some Kind of Luck

Felix relied upon his luck
Not smarts or grit, resolve or pluck.
He’d catch the city bus on time
And find ten dollars, five in dimes.
He’d dodge the landlord for the rent,
Outrun the shark he owed a cent.
His chosen horse would always win
And let him down his fill of gin.
He’d get a belly full of fries,
And day-old donuts and a pie. 
But if he tried to get a job
His luck would every time then fob,
For when he went to earn his riches
He always would forget his britches.

fob: (archaic) to cheat, deceive

form: none
meter: iambic tetrameter
rhyme: couplets


A murmur far above, the sky-
Enveloping black starlings high,
There turn and dance and flow so fleet,
A thousand thousand wings there beat
A tune just like the sea does pound
Upon the shore, a steady sound,
One wave upon one wave does blend.
Each starling follows faithful friend,
One part of the black formless form
Form changing, ever one black swarm,
But one by one they all disperse
Upon the air in ways diverse,
And by their nature they do swear
To meet again upon the air.

form: none
meter: iambic tetrameter
rhyme: couplets

The Doe

The doe approached the deadly road
And followed her beloved mate,
And when deceitful clearing showed
They hapless went to meet their fate.

The buck ran on across the gap
Amid confusion loud and great
And reached the far side of the trap
Upon the grass to watch and wait.

The doe apart could not abide
And tried to cross the deadly strait.
She took her steps with graceful stride
But panicked danger changed her gait.

The mass of metal caught her neck
And struck her with its massive weight,
The road with guiltless blood to fleck,
So little then her life did rate.

But rated all by mate bereaved
Who helpless stood, all aid too late,
Lamented life now lost and grieved
And cried for his beloved mate.

form: five quatrains
meter: iambic tetrameter

Life is Short

Life is short, which makes some say:
‘Do all you can every day,
Fill it hour by hour with more,
Time is but the mortal’s whore.’
Utter nonsense from a fool
Thinking time is just a tool.
I don’t deny life is short,
Why not spend it at some sport?
Leisure, love, and food are fine
And a glass that’s full of wine.
Why the haste? Why the hustle?
We must dance ere our muscle
Is but dust for wind to spread
Out upon the frozen bled.
It is sooner than you think.
I’ll read a book, take a drink,
On the mantle prop my feet
Basking in the rising heat.
There, Death, find me at the end
And sit beside me as a friend.

form: anacreontic; seven syllables
meter: roughly trochaic (stressed, unstressed)
rhyme: couplets

The Ride of the Rohirrim

I’ve been thinking a lot about The Lord of the Rings lately and wrote this after listening to Tolkien read the Ride of the Rohirrim passage from The Return of the King. I only listened once and didn’t otherwise read the passage or watch the scene from the movie in the hopes that I wouldn’t rip off too much from them. Some details made their way in nonetheless. You can hear Tolkien read the passage here: It’s worth the listen.

I wrote the poem in anapestic tetrameter, that is, four feet per line, most feet are anapests (unstressed-unstressed-stressed) to give the impression of horses galloping. The first foot of the third and fourth line of each quatrain (group of four lines) starts with an iamb (unstressed-stressed) for variation and to give weight to the final two lines of each quatrain. The last line of the last quatrain ends with an iamb, anapest, tribrach (three unstressed), and a molossus (three stressed).

The Ride of the Rohirrim
On the mountains so high the bright fires were lit
A clear signal to Rohan that Gondor’s besieged.
Then Theoden king who now chose to attend
Declared that their call for swift aid had been heard.

Men were summoned to arms that were sharp and so bright
And their banners did hang in the sun all unfurled.
They marched in procession together to trot
Along the clear path into battle and death.

On that day with the dawn at their backs they arrive
There ten thousand fair riders arrayed for the fight.
The horses now toss their maned heads and then stamp,
Men stir with impatience, now ready to charge.

There upon the green field stand the enemy foul
Now assailing the city with fire and stone,
They turn their black ranks to face the new threat
Assured of their vict’ry though still ere the fray.

And then Theoden king does emerge from his doubt,
At the fore now his horse he does spur and his horn
He blows, a great blast that does split the clear air
And calls to his men so that all may him hear:

“Ride with me, Eorlingas, for Gondor, now ride
One last time for our hearth and our home and our lives.
And if it is truly our last, let us ride,
Ride on to the halls of our fathers renowned.”

Then he springs away first and calls “Forward. Ride, ride!”
And his banner does stream a green field and white horse
A copy so pale of the king and his steed,
And ev’ry brave rider soon follows the king.

All point spears that do blaze in the morning sun’s light
And their bright burnished helms stream behind in the wind
And horses swift galloping heels in the dust
Do blur as they carry their riders to war.

Now ten thousand brave riders do thunder on toward
The foul foes as a vast rolling storm soon to sweep
Away the invaders like so many leaves,
So great the Rohirrim and their last brave ride.

meter: anapestic tetrameter
form: none; nine quatrains
rhyme: none

The Bow Resounds

The bow resounds and hums, hairs strain but hold,
Lets fly the arrow of its song, a hymn
To days gone by, when we were not so old
And so afraid, when all was at a whim
And still before us, nothing yet behind.
The fingers aged but firm the rhythm dance
On strings the bow then whirls grasping to find
The melody of years long past in mindful trance.
There is no solace where all’s done and gone.
Let fly the arrow from the heart of wood
And soar upon the swirling winds of song.
The wood never forgets where once it stood
Upon sunlight dappled hills, split by the maul
Now groans, the bow now snaps, the fingers fall.

meter: iambic pentameter
form: Shakespearean sonnet


Now spurn the frailties of the human soul,
The grasping weakness, fear of light and living.
Now guide my feet from darkness. Mark the path
And send me off to open eagle’s wings
And find another Avalon beyond
Our shores and time, where sleeping kings do wait.
I do not doubt, but still carry on unwavering.
Hungry, I fast. Though tired, I keep vigil.
The path aethereal extends before me.
Now, at the end, do I still dare take it?

meter: iambic pentameter
form: none

Write Something

Just write some words and put them down the page.
The page is all a stage, like life, so be
A writer and become the page stage sage
Like Dr. Seuss and write some poetry.
Be clever, funny, be original
Whatever that may mean. Be serious,
Be flippant, but not unoriginal,
And not all at once—deleterious.
Talk to yourself or talk to your audience,
Write something, anything, for no one at all.
Try to find words that rhyme with audience.
Don’t force a rhyme when it’s no good. Meatball.
Well, that’s that. What d’you think Shakespeare would say?
Don’t know. Hope I don’t see The Bard today.

meter: iambic pentameter-ish
form: a terrible Shakespearean sonnet

Seasons of Now

Autumn frozen by Winter thawed by Spring burnt by Summer

The seasons, plodding, dull, year after year
So slow, too slow for our modernity,
The ancient earth-bound measure of man’s sphere,
Time, time repeating for eternity. 

Summer harvested by Autumn frozen by Winter thawed by Spring

The peasant’s clock, too poor for gears of Progress
But good enough for the poor poet’s pen.
And Progress moves yet faster, fragile process
Dependent on vigilant farmer’s ken.

Spring burnt by Summer harvested by Autumn frozen by Winter

What are the seasons to so many now?
The arbiter of weather: tiresome rain
Of life, the heat that raises wheat from plough’s
Work, and cruel cold that freezes pest of grain.

Winter thawed by Spring burnt by Summer harvested by Autumn

So mark your destination in the sky
But keep your hands in earth to work so deep
Lest you then starve along the way and cry
At what impatient haste of time did reap.

Autumn frozen by Winter thawed by Spring burnt by Summer

meter: iambic pentameter
form: something I made up

Winter’s Return

Now is her time to take what once was hers.
Now let revanchist Winter reign and claim
The land made gold by Autumn’s granted gift.
Fair Autumn, golden hair a match for robes
Ripe as the yellow wreath of grain upon
Her head. Her arms are full of ev’ry fruit,
The bounty of the farmer’s labor long.
Now clothed in white disguising golden form
Autumn bows, bent by frost and deadly rime.
And Winter cold, not cruel, her chin uplifts
And smiles: ‘Your time is over sister dear.
Struggle no more. Fear not this change for time’s
Well-trodden path will turn your way again.’
Then Autumn stumbles, falls, and spills the fruits
Of harvest from her arms, so parched and burned
And soon buried beneath the snow and ice.
Winter triumphant stands in raiment white
As earth rises to greet her frigid reign. 

meter: iambic pentameter
form: none