A PARODY is a humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature or writing.  In the following parody of Charles Kingsley’s famous poem Young and Old, I have made every effort to mimic the flavor of the original piece:  the discourse on opposites, the finished length, the galloping cadence, the unusual rhyme scheme.  “Don” is,
of course, a narcissistic president more concerned about his dessert than the plight of the refugees in…  uh… whichever country he just bombed.  Don’t be a Don, folks.  If you have food on your table, give thanks.  If you have extra, graciously share it with your neighbor.


When every meal is fine, Don
all lobster tails and steak
Paired with the perfect wine, Don
and gorgeous chocolate cake
Then raise your glass to wealth, Don
A toast to billionaires!
Indulge your precious self, Don
Reach for your silverware

But don’t forget the ones, Don
whose budgets barely stretch
They make their grocery runs, Don
the day they get their checks
All beans and rice and staple foods
for soups and casseroles
Yet bow their heads in gratitude
to He who fills their bowls

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This week’s form is the LAI (lay).  French in origin, a Lai has nine lines and two rhymes that follow this pattern:  aab aab aab.  Lines with an “a” rhyme have five syllables and those with a “b” rhyme have two.  Mine (below) is also an elegy, mourning the loss of a beloved friend.

For decades, we’ve walked our dogs down a long lane between tracts
of farmland, enjoying the seasonal beauty of an iconic oak on the path.  This year, it emerged from spring rickety and leafless, likely a victim of agricultural pesticides.  It puzzles me that farmers, men who depend on the soil for their livelihood, are so flippant about their use of chemicals.  Without wildflowers and weeds for food, populations of bees and other pollinators continue to wane.  Stately trees are written off as collateral damage.  What do you suppose eating tainted crops does to humans?  Clue:  a hundred years ago, your chance of getting cancer was 1 in 33; today, it’s nearly 1 in 3!  Please, please, please, THINK about what you put in your mouth.  Choose ORGANIC and support farmers who care.


Lifeless old oak
your shriveled roots poke,
between farm fields soaked
with poisons to choke
weed and thorn
What foolhardy folk
would trade this grand bloke
for corn?

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The NONET is a poetic form based on nines.  There are nine lines.  The first line has nine syllables.  Each successive line has one fewer, a sort
of “countdown” to the finish.  I chose to repeat the Earth Day theme because, well, it bears repeating.  Scientists know global warming has put our planet in a precarious position.  She is teetering on the brink of a meltdown and when she goes, we all go.  That seems reason enough to get your head out of Uranus, educate yourself on the many simple, Earth-friendly habits in your power, and start putting them in practice.

Stripped of fossil fuels and rainforests,
feverish with greenhouse gasses,
knee-deep in melting ice caps,
rocked by violent storms,
choked on pollutants,
Earth draws a line
and dares us
to cross

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A great place to utilize poetry is in writing SONG LYRICS, our Tower Group assignment for the next meeting.  My answer to the challenge is a simple limerick series (like last week) with a refrain.  More Trump bashing?  You betcha.  If “the Donald” wants us to quit roasting him,
he needs to stop pouring gasoline on the fire.  “When you put it that way, it sounds like a pack of blatant, stupid lies,” someone remarked.  Umm, yeah.  That’s pretty much the definition of “alternative facts.”


(From Trump’s Lips to Your Ears)

Believe in alternative facts
Whoopee for alternative facts!
Put the truth on the shelf
and keep telling yourself
“I believe in alternative facts”

Believe in alternative facts
All you need is alternative facts
Disregard honesty
and repeat after me
“I believe in alternative facts”

My inaugural crowd was so vast,
it’s sure to remain unsurpassed
That people would think
a few marchers in pink
had outdone us, that leaves me aghast

My cabinet’s filling up fast
and seats for advisory staff
A fluke that their owners
are generous donors
who stuffed my campaign’s Super-PAC

The intrusion by Soviet hacks
to manipulate votes that were cast
was nothing but rumor,
a scheming maneuver,
pioneered by irate Democrats

Shut up with the yakkity-yaks
about showing returns from my tax
The public and press
couldn’t care any less
so forget it, that’s all in the past

Bowling Green coverage was lax,
but now that we’ve issued the facts
the Circuit Court Judge
who wouldn’t be budged
will be bringing my Muslim ban back

Vetting in the aftermath,
based on dozens of terrorist acts,
will bar Yemen and Syria,
Somalia and Libya,
Sudan and Iran and Iraq

I’ll repeal the ObamaCare Act
toss that nonsense into the trash
The poor and oppressed
will have open access
to the privatized plan we’ll enact

The Mexican Wall is on track
and they’ll pay for it all, so relax
An astute business man,
I have things well in hand
Under sanctions, Nieto will crack

Ignore all the Standing Rock whacks
set on blocking the pipeline contract
Army Corps engineers
say there’s nothing to fear
There’ll be no ecologic impact

And by the way,

Ivanka did not get the axe
At Nordstrom’s, she’s selling like crack
So don’t wait to peruse
her fine jewelry and shoes;
they’re flying right off of the racks!

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This week on JustJoan42, we welcome our old friend, the LIMERICK.
A limerick is a five-line form with a waltzing beat that often involves bawdy humor.  The first, second, and fifth lines contain seven to ten syllables, rhyme with each other, and conform to the same rhythmic pattern.  The third and fourth lines are shorter, rhyme with each other, and have the same rhythm.  Perhaps the most famous one begins this way:  “There once was a man from Nantucket…”  Google it if you’re unfamiliar.  WARNING: this poem is political.  Believers in alternative facts may wish to put their fingers in their ears and hum until it’s over.



I’m sure Bernie didn’t envision
his campaign would end in recision
His bump from the race
left us in a bad place:
Trump or Clinton, a dismal decision

I held out until the last minute
amid warnings Donald might win it
The odds seemed remote
but I cast my blue vote
To be honest, my heart wasn’t in it

I paled as Ohio turned red,
fighting panic as westward it spread
I threw up a prayer
for the country’s welfare
and uneasily tossed in my bed

I woke the next morning unrested
Seems popular vote had been bested
Why do we acknowledge
the electoral college?
Red’s so-called win hotly contested

Despite opposition’s outrage,
the U.S. became Donald’s stage
Teamed up with Bannon,
another loose cannon,
he’s gone on a reckless rampage

His cronies warm cabinet seats
Detractors are out on the streets
He pokes other nations
and threatens relations
with his inappropriate Tweets

Senators, please take a stand
and impeach this tyrannical man!
Before it’s too late,
pry our nuclear fate
from the grasp of his miniscule hands

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The Presidential Inauguration is less than three weeks away.  Soon, a bigoted sociopath sporting a fake tan and bad toupee (not to mention, the most feckless cabinet in history) will be running our country.  How have we strayed so hopelessly off course, so far from our forefathers’ vision?  I mourn the America of my childhood, to which I pledged my allegiance with my hand over my heart – a land of hope that promised liberty and justice for ALL.  The piece below is an ELEGY, a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, usually a funeral song or a lament for the dead.  To ramp up the difficulty factor and kill two poetic forms with one stone, it also meets the exacting criteria of a VILLANELLE.



America, what has become of thee?
One man, one vote our motto, yet we mock it
where money silences democracy

Test scores measure kids’ proficiency
while teaching them to think not on the docket
America, what has become of thee?

In fear, we forfeit civil liberties,
abide elected hands in corporate pockets
and money silences democracy

A wall, our immigration policy
Just slam the door on foreigners and lock it!
America, what has become of thee?

The war machine rolls on eternally,
its Big Wheels churning suffering into profit,
the money silencing democracy

Yet, mired in patriotic fantasy,
we raise our fists to any who would knock it
America, what has become of thee?
where money silences democracy

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Shakespeare I am not, but I’ll take a stab (Et tu, Brute?) at a Christmas Sonnet.  With a rhyme scheme of abab-cdcd-efef-gg and an iambic pentameter beat that gathers momentum as it rolls toward the finish, this poem is my reflection on the ways we do – and don’t – spend the holiday season.  May each of you be blessed today with peace, rest, Alka-Seltzer, Epsom salts, a cozy afghan, and some time for yourself.


Shopping with my belly full of turkey,
its bony carcass cooling in the roaster
Tryptophan has left me less than perky
but deals abound on TV sets and toasters
Stringing up the lights, the ladder rocking,
trying to outshine the neighbors’ twinkle
Putting up the tree and hanging stockings
Icing homemade cookies, adding sprinkles
Stuffing one-rate packages to bursting
Typing out my annual newsletter
Racing to the postal counter, first thing,
and waiting in the snaking line forever
Until the twenty-fifth, it’s GO, GO, GO!
No time to sit and simply watch it snow

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In a Black Out Poem, the author takes copy from a newspaper or magazine and uses a black marker to strike out whatever words or images she sees as unnecessary or irrelevant to the poetic effect
she is seeking to create.  Patterns or artwork can be employed to give an additional visual dimension to the poem.

Any printed material will do; this was taken from a random page of Consumer Reports magazine.  Certain words jumped out at me,
likely my response to the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Thanks to my WordPress buddy, Lana, for the idea and inspiration.



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I have been busy, busy, busy this week, so I’m recycling a post from last December inspired, in part, by Starbuck’s dilemma about serving their coffees in red holiday cups.  Relax and enjoy this encore presentation:


HOLY HOLIDAY HOOLIGANS, BATMAN!  These evil yuletide villains have returned for the season and may be headed to a city near you:

PUMPKIN SPICE MEISTER is the mastermind behind a diabolical plan to take over the world before the New Year by slowly invading every product line, from flavored coffee drinks to scented doggie-poo bags.

THE RED-CUPSTER, disguised as an ambassador of political correct-ness, pulls shameless publicity stunts to conjure up conflict, squelch goodwill, and distract the public from the real meaning of Christmas.

THE ZAPSTER incites electrical mayhem by tangling up strands of lights, hiding the multi-outlets you know you just bought, shorting
out extension cords, and blowing random circuits in the fuse box.

THE NEEDLER sucks up endless gallons of water and sheds every time you look at him.  Stay calm and don’t make a move toward the vacuum cleaner or he will spontaneously combust and set your house on fire.

THE MUDDLER employs hypnosis to take control of brain cells, causing confusion, incomplete lists, multiple trips to the store and post office, and inability to recall what it was you crawled up into the attic for.

THE PRANKSTER joins random groups of carolers and sings off-key, deploys his fart machine during church services, transforms prime parking spaces into queues for shopping carts, and teases the family dog by hiding little sausages in the toes of all the Christmas stockings.

THE SCOTCH TAPESTER is an obsessive-compulsive psychopath driven to secure all loose folds of wrapping paper directly onto the box, thus insuring that each and every package is sealed up as tight as Fort Knox.

THE TOPPLER creates a powerful optical illusion that causes you to see your tree as straight when it is, in fact, quite crooked.  He then arranges all the heaviest ornaments on one side and chases the cat up the trunk.

THE PEEKSTER dislikes surprises, so he secretly unwraps his Christmas gifts and examines the contents, then carefully rewraps them and puts them back under the tree.  His archenemy is the Scotch-Tapester.

THE SAMPLER pops into the kitchen and helps himself when your back is turned.  He sneaks nips of the good whiskey and is especially fond of “finger foods” such as cookie dough, cheese balls, and turkey gravy.

THE SHRINKSTER performs his evil magic throughout the season on everything from cardboard shipping boxes and the trunk of your car to your holiday budget and the waistband of your favorite pants.

THE LEFT-OGLER stands there forever holding the refrigerator door open, picking at the turkey carcass and checking out the Tupperware, before walking away whining “There’s nothing to eat around here!”

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