The Uninvited Guest

Here’s Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt

And here’s my little story in response:


“There he is, just like clockwork. I’ve no idea how he knows when I’ve made roast and mashed spuds for Sunday, but soon as I’m dishing out the meal, he’s knocking at our door.”

“We can pretend deafness,” her son Lance suggested. “He’s bound to leave if no one answers.”

“Dream on,” Sue retorted.

“She’s right. He won’t leave.” Dad chuckled. “I wouldn’t put it past him to climb in a window.”

“Mavis says he shows up every time they have barbecue,” Mom said.

Lance grinned. “Must be great to have a nose that keen.”

Sue rolled her eyes.

The Thistle of Favoritism

Today’s prompt at the Napowrimo site: Write a “The ___ of ___” verse

Begin by reading Bernadette Mayer’s poem “The Lobelias of Fear.” (Okay, I did, and it made very little sense to me, but you might want to check it out here. It may be clearer — or at least more poetic — to you.)

Now write a verse where the first blank is a very particular kind of plant or animal, and the second blank is an abstract noun. The poem should contain at least one simile that plays on double meanings or otherwise doesn’t quite make “sense,” and describe things or beings from very different times or places as co-existing in the same space. So…

The Thistle of Favoritism

Resume in hand I came
eminently qualified —
decades of experience —
to take a seat beside another
hopeful applicant,
a young chick with her resume
one single sheet
held casually in her hand.

“Can’t have much
experience at this job,”
I mused, feeling smug I’ll admit.
Looking her over I decided,
the employer wouldn’t find
much to recommend her.
Granted, a curvy thing, and lovely
young hair, no wisps of grey. But
my skill and experience will count.

Curious, I opened conversation,
probed a bit. “So, how many years
have you done this type of work?”
She looked me up and down,
noted my thicker resume.
“Six months,” she replied.

I’m sure she noticed my smirk
sensed my “You haven’t a chance.”
Her nose tipped skyward.
“My sister encouraged me to apply.
She’s the manager’s wife.”

Relationships are thistles
apt to scratch your chances
if you’re not of the right blood.
My skill and experience
she got the job.

A Triolet Plus

Yesterday’s prompt from the NaPoWriMo site was to write a TRIOLET, and this task has taken me awhile. A triolet is an eight-line verse where the rhyming plan is A-B-a-A-a-b-A-B. The first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and eighth line.

Oh, pity the child who’s clumsy
amusing to all his relation,
a trial for Daddy and Mumsy.
Oh, pity the child who’s clumsy,
who spends half his time in a flumsy
his limbs seldom find integration
Oh, pity the child who ‘s clumsy
amusing to all his relation.

The prompt today: write a poem in which laughter comes at what might otherwise seem an inappropriate moment – or a moment that the poem invites the reader to think of as inappropriate. I’ve decided this poem might work. Last thing you want people to do is laugh because you tripped, or dropped, or knocked something over.

A Family of Bards

Since it’s International Poetry Month, as well as posting new poems I want to mention some beloved poems of long ago. My Mom F (nee Vance, actually my birth father’s sister who raised me) loved saga-type poems and songs. She told me Grandma & Grandpa Vance also loved poems and could recite long ones. Uncle Steve and Uncle Charley were our family storytellers, but I suspect this love of story and verse goes way back in our Vance clan.

Great Grandma Vance may have picked up this skill too, though she probably never went to school. She couldn’t write her name on the land title to her farm, but signed with an X. However, poems and sagas were learned and recited long before people could read and write.

Five years ago I received a gift copy of Best Loved Poems of the American People © 1936 by Doubleday & Company) where I’ve discovered many well known verses from my childhood. Written in metered rhyming lines these verses were easy to memorize and teachers back then believed memorizing was a good way to exercise the mind.

How many can you remember?
– “For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat…
– “That moss-covered bucket I hailed as a treasure…”
– “If you’re ever going to love me, do it now, while I can know…”
– “Abou Ben Adam (may his tribe increase!)…”
– “The Sabbath day was ending in a village by the sea…”
– “The boy stood on the burning deck…”
— “But a dastard in love, and a coward in war, was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar…”
– “Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie…”

My Aunt’s Bonnet

A smile for you this morning. 🙂

My Aunt’s Bonnet
by Edgar A. Guest

They say life’s simple — but I don’t know.
Who can tell where a word will go?
Or how many hopes will rise and fall
with the weakest brick in the cellar wall?

Or how many hearts will break and bleed
as the result of one careless deed?
Why, my old Aunt’s bonnet caused more dismay
than a thousand suns could shine away.

She wore it high through her top-knot pinned,
a perfect kite for a heavy wind,
but the hat would stick, though a gale might blow,
if she found the place where the pins should go.

One Sunday morning she dressed in haste,
she hadn’t a minute which she could waste,
she’d be late for church. Now the tale begins:
she didn’t take care with those bonnet pins.

Oh the wind it howled, and the wind it blew
and away from her head that bonnet flew!
It swirled up straight to select its course,
first brushing the ears of the deacon’s horse.

With a leap he scampered away in fright
and scattered the children, left and right.
A stranger grabbed for the horse’s head,
but stumbled and fractured his own instead.

After the bonnet a small boy ran,
knocked over a woman and tripped a man.
The deacon’s daughter married the chap
who rescued her from the swaying trap.

And she lived to regret it later on;
In all that town there abided none
whose life wasn’t changed on that dreadful day
when my old Aunt’s bonnet was blown away.

Some were crippled and some went mad,
some turned saintly and some turned bad;
birth and marriage and death and pain
were all swept down in that bonnet’s train.

Wives quarreled with husbands! I can’t relate
the endless tricks which were played by fate.
There are folk today who had not been born
had my Aunt stayed home on that Sunday morn.

From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co