Poetic Paper Clutter

Hello to all friendly readers near and far. I’ve mentioned this already, but for awhile now I’ve been getting daily e-mails from the FlyLady, with the idea that sometimes I may get serious about following her system. right now I’m working on the general monthly goals, and the goal this morning is to eliminate paper clutter.

She’d be delighted if she could see the big green garbage bag of papers I’ve already shredded this week — but most of that is years-old records hubby has been storing until recently. Now it’s time for me to dig into my own stash of scribbles, weed out and post various poetry and musings. Here’s one I did awhile ago about the COVID isolation:

No Customers

The merchant opens his door
to let the wind to rush in
and a masked young mom
with hurried, worried eyes.
Then a child wanting chips,
her eyes crinkling in smiles,
her mask Sleeping Beauty

She heads home to school;
he turns his sign to OPEN.
The wind flips it back.
What does it matter?
Few customers will come,
this Covid-tainted morning
where lock-down rules.

The Lost Cabbage Leaves

And now, dear readers, here’s a story that’s 100% silly. When I opened my e-mail first thing this morning I saw word prompts from several sites, plus a big one from Merriam-Webster giving their Word of the Day and their Words of interest this week. So I’ve decided to write a tale incorporating all these words:

From M-W: Docile, Joke, Manipulate, Synonym, Soup, Besot, Hair-trigger
From Word of the Day: Dilatory; from Your Daily Word: Loyal,
From Ragtag Daily Prompt: Again, and from Fandango (FOWC): Excuse
And because the image of a snail on a rock popped into my head…
this one is from Pixabay, shared by photographer Carpi23auto.

So now I give you…

“The Saga of the Snail Siblings”

Sally snail made her way over the rock in a dilatory manner.

“You’re such a dawdler!” her brother Sangster called from the ground below. “Why did you have to go over that dumb rock, anyway? Honestly, the snow will be blowing by the time you get over to the cabbages. You’ll miss munching all those delicious leaves.”

Another brother, Sander, added his reproach. “Yeah. They’ll all be chopped up and in the soup before you get halfway across the garden.”

“Well, there’s more to life than cabbage leaves,” Sally told them as she slid off the rock. She joined her sister Salvena who’d opted to go around the rock and had found a few discarded green beans near the base.

“Just ignore them, Sally.” Salvena, ever loyal to her sister, offered to share her find. “Help me eat this green bean. It’s a bit limp, but still lots of flavor.” She nibbled on an end in her careful way.

Sander hooted. “Beans are blah! That’s just an excuse for quitting. There’s nothing like a cabbage leaf for flavor.” He started off again toward the cabbage heads that so besotted him.

“Race you,” Sangster shouted at him.

“Those guys racing. That’s such a joke,” Sally muttered to her sister. “Well, I’m not going to let them manipulate me into rushing around, getting my lovely shell muddy. Or have those flea beetles jumping on my head.”

“Oh, I hate those fleas! That’s why I never go near the radish row,” Salvena told her. “They have such hair-trigger paranoia. Anything sets them off and they spring willy-nilly all over. Next thing you have one or two riding on your antenna.” Salvena shuddered. A docile creature by nature, she eschewed sudden or erratic movement.

“A flea on your antenna is like red ant on your foot. A nuisance you want to get rid of as soon as you can.”

“That’s a really good synonym, Sally.” Salvena turned her eyes toward the cabbage patch. “It looks like the boys have almost made it.” Then she gasped. “Oh no! One of those monsters! Oh, I do hope the boys will be safe.”

“It’s picking them up,” Sally exclaimed. The two sisters watched as the monster flung their brothers out of the garden. Sander and Sangster flew over their heads and landed in the grass just beyond the onion row.

Ten minutes later the boys came crawling out of the grass, back to the rock where their sisters were still working on the beans.

“Maybe we’ll join you after all,” Sangster said. “Though I’m still feeling pretty dizzy. I’ve never moved so fast in my life! I used to think it would be fun to be a bird, but not anymore!” Sangster wiggled his antenna to test them.

“You poor things.” Kind-hearted Sally moved over to give her brothers some space. “So much for the cabbage leaves, eh?”

“Yeah. Guess we can’t always have our first choice. But this is okay,” Sander admitted, chomping into the fat bean.

Block-Ed + Poetry–A Trial Run

I won't let Block-Ed frustrate me
I'll practice 'til I'm proficient
So here's a bit of poetry
to see if I've learned sufficient...

I see that Sheryl at Your Daily Word Prompt 
is having her trials switching to the new Block editor,
too. Her word for today is FRUSTRATE.
A CHOICE
by Edgar Guest

Sure, they get stubborn at times;
they worry and fret us a lot,
but I'd rather be crossed by a glad little boy
and frequently worried than not.
There are hours when they get on my nerves
and set my poor brain all a-whirl, 
but I'd rather be troubled that way than to be
the man who has no little girl.

There are time's they're a nuisance, that's true
with all of their racket and noise,
but I'd rather my personal pleasures be lost
than to give up my girls and my boys.
Not always they're perfectly good;
there are times when they're wilfully bad
but I'd rather be worried by youngsters of mine
than lonely and childless and sad.

So I try to be patient and calm
whenever they're having their fling,
for the sum of their laughter and love
is more than the worry they bring.
And each night when sweet peace settles down
and I see them asleep in their cot,
I chuckle and say: "They upset me today,
but I'd rather be that way than not."

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Conclusions:
Selecting the Verse block and writing poetry works better with this editor, since single line spacing is automatic; I don’t have to hit Shift + Enter to get that, like I would otherwise. On the other hand, I now have to count Categories & Tags to be sure I don’t exceed the WordPress limit of fifteen. And poetry is automatically italicized.

PS: Now that this is posted I see I’m not so proficient after all! 😦
Now, how to fix it!

Nothing to Laugh At

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is PROTEST

For my response I’ll give you the first two verses of this four-verse epic by Edgar Guest.

NOTHING TO LAUGH AT

‘Taint nothin’ to laugh at as I can see!
If you’d been stung by a bumble bee
an’ your nose was swelled an’ it smarted, too,
you wouldn’t want people to laugh at you.
If you had a lump that was full of fire,
like you’d been touched by a red hot wire
an’ your nose spread out like a load of hay,
you wouldn’t want strangers who come your way
to ask you to let the see the place
an’ laugh at you right before your face.

What’s funny about it, I’d like to know?
It isn’t a joke to be hurted so!
An’ how was I ever on earth to tell
that the pretty flower which I stooped to smell
in our backyard was the very one
which a bee was busily working on?
An’ just as I got my nose down there
he lifted his foot an’ kicked for fair,
an’ he planted his stinger right into me
But it’s nothin’ to laugh at as I can see.

😦

From his book, The Collected Works of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

The Love of Poetry

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is CURFEW

Seeing this prompt, one might launch into the latest news in the US, but my thinking goes to that old poem, “Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight,” written by an imaginative sixteen-year-old girl from Michigan in 1867, Rose Hartwick Thorpe.

This story supposedly took place during the English War of the Roses. A young woman’s sweetheart is imprisoned for some fault and sentenced to be shot that night at the ringing of the curfew bell. Our young heroine, trusting General Cromwell will pardon him — but Cromwell may come too late — rushes to the church sexton and begs him not to ring the curfew bell.

The sexton insists on doing his duty and turns her away, so she sneaks into the bell tower and when the sexton pulls the rope to ring the bell, she declares that, “Curfew must not ring tonight,” and grasps the bell clapper. Bashed back and forth, she bravely holds on until the sexton gives up. When Cromwell arrives, hears her story and sees her injuries, his heart is touched and he pardons the young man.

This poem was one of Queen Victoria’s favorites, according to Wiki.

It may seem odd that this old poem instantly comes to me, but the penchant is genetic. I love poetry, my Mom F (nee Vance) loved poetry; apparently her mother and father enjoyed reciting long epic poems; and her Grandmother Smith likewise. My Vance uncles were keen storytellers and cousin Linda is working on her own tales, having written down most of her Dad’s stories. I don’t know if there’s actually such a thing as a poetic gene, but evidence would lean that way.

It used to be that school children were given long poems to memorize; this task was supposed to sharpen young minds. Often the verse came with a dash of humor, like this one by Anon., to sweeten the effort:

“The little boys were awfully strong
when Father was a boy.
They’d weed the cornfields all day long
when Father was a boy.
And when the day at last was o’er
they’d go and do up every chore,
Then come and beg to work some more
when Father was a boy.”

I believe young minds were improved by this exercise. Moreover, the concept in a good poem can ripple for centuries. Writers and speakers still echo the sympathetic wisdom of Bobby Burns in his poem, Ode to a Mouse:

“The best-laid plans of mice and man go oft astray
and leave us not but grief and pain for promised joy.”