Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Annual Berry Reunion (for Famke - and Milla, too!)

Correction: In an earlier version of this post, I said that my granddad spoke with Milla Jovovich. Actually, it was Famke Janssen. Milla starred in the movie; Famke wrote/directed it. Granddad said they're both lovely and talented.

This poem is dedicated to Famke Janssen.

Well, let me explain.

My granddad, a retired Colonel turned actor, recently worked with Famke in an upcoming movie. Somehow, the subject of grandchildren came up. (On a wild hunch, I'm thinking Granddad initiated the topic.) In the conversation that followed, Granddad mentioned that I often compose poems about fruit.

"What's your favorite fruit?" he asked Famke.

After some thought, she replied, "Blueberries."

Showing great faith in my rhyming ability, Granddad promised Famke I'd write her a poem about blueberries. So as not to discriminate, I decided to include all berries. I can only hope Famke doesn't mind berry much. (You knew that was coming...)

The Annual Berry Reunion

At the annual Berry reunion,
Things quickly got into a jam –
Cousin Straw said that she’d bring a shortcake,
But she showed up with biscuits and ham.
Uncle Blue baked a fine plate of muffins,
But they just couldn’t brighten his mood.
He sat in a corner, quite sullen,
While Auntie Goose gobbled his food.
Sister Black spent the whole event texting,
And wouldn’t get off of her phone.
“What’s wrong with all our young Berries today?”
She caused Grandpa Elder to moan.
Grandma Cran denounced the location:
"This should have been held in a bog!"
Her cries of complaint were only drowned out
By the yowls of Pa Huckle’s hound dog.
Father Rasp did his best to deliver a prayer,
But a cold made his voice much too hoarse.
In the time that it took him to wheeze out,"Amen!"
Fruit flies polished off the first course.
In the end, every Berry was sour,
And decided that, in years ahead,
They’d skip the traditional picnic
And go apple picking instead.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Ballad of Colonel McCob (The Corn)

Lately, I've been seeking inspiration in the books of my favorite children's poet, Jack Prelutsky. For this poem, though, I reread "The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert W. Service. If Service had been corny (*ahem*) enough to go for corn puns, I like to think he'd have written something like this.

The Ballad of Colonel McCob (The Corn)

"Gather 'round, all you children," said old Grandpa Corn,
"There's a story you young folks should hear.
Took place several decades before you were born,
And now it's passed down ear to ear.
Concerns a brave colonel I knew in the war -
By the name of MacArthur McCob
He was sweet on the outside, but tough to the core;
Protecting the land was his job.

Every morning at four, he took post at the door,
And patrolled the whole field until dusk.
Under his watchful eye, not an hour slipped by -
Never once did he rest in his husk.

If a carrot or beet ever tried to take root,
Why, MacArthur would tackle the varmint!
Not a leek would sneak past, not a caper or shoot,
'Twas a cornfield - no others would harm it.

I once saw Mac sack a potato;
With a cabbage, he went head-to-head
He minced onions, and would tie a tomato
To a tree, 'til his face turned bright red.

Not a soul dared to call McCob yellow,
Even though, as you know, that's our hue.
He would ransack a radish, yammer at yams,
And sever a parsnip in two.

His methods were fierce, but quite fruitful, indeed
Generations of corn could stand tall.
There wasn't so much as a hybrid cornseed,
With McCob overseeing it all.

But tragedy came out of nowhere one day,
(More precisely, it came from the ground.)
While shoving a trespassing shallot away,
Mac sadly failed to look down.

He heard a loud POP, then the whole place went black.
The shooter, he still couldn't see
It seems that McCob had come under attack
By a silent and stealthy green pea.

Mac's fingers and toes went bloated and numb,
But his body felt pleasantly light.
Like the arms of a friend, a soft gust of wind
Swept him into the dark, waiting night.

That might have been Mac's final curtain,
As he drifted off into the fog
But! I happen to know this for certain -
There's a fitting and true epilogue:
McCob made his way toward the city,
With that new, puffy body of his
He never surrendered or quit, he
Made a new life, pursuing showbiz!

Now, he's frequently seen in the theater seats,
Watching Hollywood films in the dark.
Never brutish or salty to people he meets -
No he's happy, they say, as a lark.
There's never a turnip to threaten, or a militant eggplant to maul
For, as everyone knows, at theater shows,
There are no fresh veggies at all.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fruit Basket - The Banana

The Banana

It is the banana's perennial wish
To begin a career on the stage
She knows she would quickly discover her niche -
Her slapstick would be all the rage.
She'd start with a tumble, leading into a split
Which would certainly foster a laugh
Then, she'd call for an aide from the orchestra pit,
Who would magically slice her in half.
She would hire a monkey to sit on her knee
And a parrot to perch on her head
With a backdrop resembling a tropical tree,
She would, as they say, "knock 'em dead."

Yes, they'd come by the droves
From the jungles and groves
Just to gasp as she hung upside-down!
She'd stand out from the bunch -
She could tell on a hunch
Her theatrics would make her renowned.

There's only one glitch to her vision of fame,
One small hitch keeps success on the shelf
Though her peel's quite elastic,
And her timing fantastic...
She can't seem to slip on herself.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


It's the birthday of my all-time favorite rhymer, Cole Porter. I hope he'd approve of this anti-ode to broccoli.


Many say that broccoli
Looks like a squat and sturdy tree
But it's no place to build a fort -
Its bushy branches are too short.
You cannot rest beneath its shade,
While sipping on your lemonade.
Its trunk won't do for hide-and-seeking;
Its stump's too small for public speaking.
Just try to take its sap in winter -
You're sure to get a broccoli splinter!

No, broccoli's of no use at all
...unless you are two inches tall.

Thursday, April 15, 2010



Carrots help you see at night -
Or, so my mother said.
But in the deepest, darkest woods
I'd like a lamp instead.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Onion: A Tragicomedy

Time to switch from fruits to veggies.

The Onion: A Tragicomedy

Imagine if Euripides
Had hidden onions up his sleeves -
He could’ve made his patrons bawl,
With practically no work at all.
Medea might have even smiled
Or offered candy to a child.
A cost-effective choice, I think:
Twice the tears for half the ink.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fruit Basket - The Pear: A Tale of Skewed Proportions

This time, the "WTD" word was BELLYING. How could I resist adding to my poetic fruit basket?

The Pear: A Tale of Skewed Proportions

The bellying frame of the average pear
Is a subject that’s up for debate:
Has his curious swelling always been there,
Or was it just something he ate?
Is he sucking his gut in the hopes of a date
With an enviably skinny banana?
Did a bumbling grocer step on his waist
And cause him to bulge in this manner?
My guess is that clothing’s to blame for this riddle -
He couldn’t find pants that would fit ‘round his middle.
But the belt that he purchased to make him look slimmer
Squeezed him right into a pear-shaped dilemmer!
What can we learn from his mis-fit mistake?
What is the message we’re destined to take?
Don’t fret about fashion – just be self-aware,
And try not to go to the depths of this pear.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Potato: A Poem About Being Prepared

Another "WTD"-inspired poem - the randomly generated word was PREPARATION.

(Yes, I did spend 30 minutes brainstorming and jotting potato prep techniques before I started rhyming. I came up with 41 total. Still can't figure out what rhymes with "vichyssoise.")

The Potato: A Poem About Being Prepared

There are infinite ways to prepare a potato.
Believe me - both Ireland and Idaho say so!
A quick boil will suit the no-frills spud eater,
Or a microwave zap, if you’re that kind of cheater.
Another fine choice is to peel it and fry it,
Though do this with caution if you’re on a diet.
(Your fries can be French, or, if you prefer, Freedom -
Makes no real difference after you eat ‘em.)
You can mash it with gravy, or throw it in stew
Whip it into a thick, sticky glue,
Cream it or steam it, bake it once – even twice
Stuff it into a samosa with rice.
If you’re constructive, build it into a gratin,
Or turn self-destructive and let it go rotten.
Sweet or unsweetened, bliss red or hash brown,
“Bangers and mash,” like in old London-town.
You might do as the Romans and sample some gnocchi;
For a Slavic approach, make your dumplings “pierogi.”
The flatter the better for a latke or chip
As an ale, it’s supposedly lovely to sip.
Curries, soups, salad – the list could go on
Serve the skins by themselves, when the insides are gone!

It’s fair to say, tater tots live with a curse:
As they grow up, they’re prepared for the worst.
You can look in their eyes...they all know that they’re doomed,
With so many methods for being consumed.
Perhaps, we should treat them – at least for one day,
Invite them to dine at our Sunday buffet.
And when they ask, “What’s the starch with this roast?”
Prepare to reply, “Why, a nice piece of toast!”
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