Bringing People Together with Poetry

America is as politically polarized now as it’s been in a long time. It seems that for at least a decade more than half the country has stridently disliked the president, regardless of who he (or perhaps someday she) is. Wouldn’t it be great to escape from the vitriol, contempt, antipathy, ill will and outright hatred that’s poisoning political discourse these days?

Thank goodness for April, which is National Poetry Month. What better excuse to take a break from corrosive political acrimony?

There’s sufficient room beneath Poetry’s inclusive tent for acrostic aficionados, blank verse buffs, couplet connoisseurs, dramatic monologue devotees, elegy enthusiasts, haiku hounds, limerick lovers, and even quatrain zealots.

Coincidentally I’ve been told I’m a poet who doesn’t even know it.

With that in mind I’d like to try my hand at bringing joy and peace to a divided populace through original, non-partisan poetry.

A limerick is a verse of five lines, in which the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines, which are shorter, form a rhymed couplet. One other hard and fast rule regarding this type of doggerel: any poet intending to have his or her limerick appear in a decent publication cannot under any circumstances end a line with the word “Nantucket.”

A wealthy New Yorker named Trump Claimed a rival’s wife looked like a frump Ted Cruz hemmed and he hawed But Trump merely guffawed “Lyin’ Ted…what a sad little chump!”

Haiku is a major form of Japanese verse that’s divided into three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, and is supposed to employ highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one of the seasons. Novice poets can find this type of poetry enjoyable, and relatively easy to compose if they disregard including highly evocative allusions and/or references to nature or one of the seasons.

Who really wants a President that, grabs women By their err, umm,….cat?

Terrific health care! Lower taxes! New great wall! Uh oh. Pants aflame!

A rhyming couplet is two lines of verse that can form a unit alone…

A self-proclaimed financial genius that we know Somehow lost money…while running a casino!

…or can function as part of a longer poem:

Trumpty Dumpty’s building a wall And he’ll make Mexico pay for it all!

He’s gambling Americans aren’t very bright And sadly, when it comes to his fans he is right

No celebration of poetry would be complete without a nod to the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare. Here’s a 14-line Shakespearean sonnet inspired by a recent stroll through (and appreciation of) some local sylvan loveliness:

A wealthy purveyor of snake oil And longtime New York City resident

Decided on a lark that he might want to toil As America’s 45th president

His qualifications seemed terribly few His one long suit clearly was arrogance

But he cobbled together a devious crew Composed mainly of pliable sycophants

Baiting his opponents, he’d call them all names Since for the White House they too were vying

But he smeared one and all with his spurious claims It sure helped that he doesn’t mind lying

In charge now, incompetent, and likely quite mad He’s thin-skinned and impulsive, or as he would tweet, “Sad!”

Hmmm. Bringing about political healing with verse is tougher than I thought.

Maybe I should attempt something slightly less tough

Like finding a rhyme for “orange,” “silver,” or “month”

But what I’ve done so far clearly isn’t enough

Perhaps I’ll consult my daughter. Or my thonth.

Andy Young
April 4, 2017

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