January 14, 2018

Flotsam & Jetsam: Your editor's dubious poetic past

Sam Smith - One of the things that my lovely, talented, first and only wife discouraged me from when we married some 51 years ago was sending out Christmas cards that included questionable poems I had written. The other day a long time friend found some in her files and sent them to me. Since Christmas is safely over, it may be safe to publish one of them from1961:

Down the little snowflakes fall
Bringing hazards to us all.
Spreading for the years to come 
Particles of strontium
Gently landing helter skelter 
On each house and fallout shelter
Permeating milk and beans
And eventually genes. 
I really wouldn't give a hoot
But three eyed kids just don't look cute
So let' go celebrate Noel
In someone's safe subsurface cell
With our geiger counters handy
Christmas should be fine and dandy.

I got started writing  poems while working for Roll Call newspaper, the most striking of which was a full page verse that included the names of all 435 members of the House of Representatives. I sort of cheated near the end because I was getting tired, so used lines that ran something like:

You might write a line that ran
[then I listed 20 some remaining representatives]
You see it would rhyme
But would it scan? 

A couple of my favorites included Waiter, I Think There’s a Subversive in My Soup:
Little men of little faith,
Claim they’ve seen the nation’s wraith
Fearing not atomic war,
But a coup by those next door
Everywhere lies hidden danger
Doubt the friend, doubt the stranger’
One fine day their cause they’ll smother
When they start to doubt each other.
And this:
I like to go down to the zoo
And there I sit and watch the gnu.
I’ve also noticed recently
The gnu has started watching me.
For hours we just share a stare
A happy unproductive pair
Economists we might impress
With our total uselessness.
Still it’s the G-N-U for me.
Let others boost the GNP.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Them there poems ain't too bad
For a literary northeast lad
We'uns down here love to rhyme
While sippin joy juice all the time