403 Forbidden

Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Summer Poetry Slam » Summer Poetry Slam

Summer Poetry Slam

MCQ - July 2, 2011

Give us your summer-themed (or not) poems. Bonus points if they are also Mormon-themed. Any format works. Just go for it.

Pink ruffled faces
stand silent in cool water
reflecting on sin.



  1. Baboons by Saint Albatross

    If you’re in Africa
    and you hear a ruckus
    you might be hearing baboons.
    For baboons, ruckus making
    is more than a good time
    is more than a lifestyle choice -
    it goes all the way down
    into their black hearts.
    I’d rather meet a tiger than a baboon
    along the road.
    Never mind the tiger’s predatory art:
    the tiger has a golden heart -
    the baboon has a black heart.

    The baboon is as spooky as
    any animal in the animal kingdom.
    Baboons are spookier than bats.
    Baboons are spookier than snakes.
    The baboon has a black heart,
    or, you might say,
    is intentionally malicious.

    A tiger would make a great pet
    though he’s a man-eater,
    you could tooth him and sedate him -
    while no baboon will eat
    his medicine,
    any baboon you meet
    will hide this fact
    from you.

    The Egyptians were a quiet river folk,
    yet they were charmed by the ruckus -
    making of baboons.
    They believed,
    though this is tough to believe,
    they believed baboons
    helped the great God, Thoth,
    weigh the souls of the dead.
    So they took baboons into their homes,
    into their kitchens,
    into their most private rooms.
    One of the great unwritten lessons
    of Egyptian history is this lesson:
    don’t take baboons
    into your houses.
    It was unwritten
    but now it is writ:
    keep the baboons out of your
    most private rooms.
    There are many good bits
    to learn from the Egyptians,
    but this poem
    is about baboons.

    The obscenity of baboons
    is understood.
    That great animal man,
    Conrad Gessner, said,
    of baboons:
    “They are as lustful and venerous
    as goats,
    attempting to defile all sorts of women.”
    Goats, though, give good milk
    for lactose intolerant children.
    I don’t recommend baboon milk
    for children:
    it stirs,
    them up.

    Baboons come into the villages,
    when the nights are blackest,
    to steal babies
    and guns.
    A baboon with a gun
    is a big problem,
    a bigger problem than
    a baboon without a gun
    due to their affirmation
    of ruckus making
    and their black hearts.
    This goes without saying
    but I’ve said it, and writ it,

    That other great animal man,
    Jane Goodall, said,
    of baboons,
    “I prefer chimpanzees.”

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — July 3, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

  2. Thank You
    For Thomas Parkin

    One baboon poem.
    Now I have read it and so
    I can die happy.

    Comment by MCQ — July 3, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  3. Me and you could just swap poems, MCQ.

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — July 6, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

  4. I’m good with that. Keep it up.

    Comment by MCQ — July 7, 2011 @ 8:43 am

  5. This one has elements of summertime, and I have used this to draw out a metaphor about grace/works, the atonement, etc.

    The Lanyard – Billy Collins

    The other day I was ricocheting slowly
    off the blue walls of this room,
    moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
    from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
    when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
    where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

    No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
    could send one into the past more suddenly—
    a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
    by a deep Adirondack lake
    learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
    into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

    I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
    or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
    but that did not keep me from crossing
    strand over strand again and again
    until I had made a boxy
    red and white lanyard for my mother.

    She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
    and I gave her a lanyard.
    She nursed me in many a sick room,
    lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
    laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
    and then led me out into the airy light

    and taught me to walk and swim,
    and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
    Here are thousands of meals, she said,
    and here is clothing and a good education.
    And here is your lanyard, I replied,
    which I made with a little help from a counselor.

    Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
    strong legs, bones and teeth,
    and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
    and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
    And here, I wish to say to her now,
    is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

    that you can never repay your mother,
    but the rueful admission that when she took
    the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
    I was as sure as a boy could be
    that this useless, worthless thing I wove
    out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

    Comment by Mephibosheth — July 7, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  6. Holy moly, Mephiboseth, that’s so moving.

    I’ll have another one for you, not written by me, in a few, MCQ.

    Here we go … Weather, by May Swenson

    I hope they never get a rope on you, weather.
    I hope they never put a bit in your mouth.
    I hope they never pack your snorts
    into an engine or make you wear wheels.

    I hope the astronauts will always have to wait
    till you get off the prairie
    because your kick is lethal,
    your temper worse than the megaton.

    I hope your harsh mane will grow forever,
    and blow where it will,
    that your slick hide will always shiver
    and flick down your bright sweat.

    Reteach us terror, weather,
    with your teeth on our ships,
    your hoofs on our houses,
    your tail swatting our planes down like flies.

    Before they make a grenade of our planet
    I hope you’ll come like a comet,
    oh mustang – fire-eyes, upreared belly -
    bust the corral and stomp us to death.

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — July 9, 2011 @ 4:37 am

  7. Love both of those!

    Here’s one from Wallace Stevens:

    Hymn From A Watermelon Pavilion

    You dweller in the dark cabin,
    To whom the watermelon is always purple,
    Whose garden is wind and moon,

    Of the two dreams, night and day,
    What lover, what dreamer, would choose
    The one obscured by sleep?

    Here is the plantain by your door
    And the best cock of red feather
    That crew before the clocks.

    A feme may come, leaf-green,
    Whose coming may give revel
    Beyond revelries of sleep,

    Yes, and the blackbird spread its tail,
    So that the sun may speckle,
    While it creaks hail.

    You dweller in the dark cabin,
    Rise, since rising will not waken,
    And hail, cry hail, cry hail.

    Comment by MCQ — July 9, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  8. Haikus are stupid
    Rules about syllables
    cramp my special style.


    I’m too damn stupid
    to write anything profound
    in seventeen sounds.

    Comment by annegb — July 10, 2011 @ 9:32 am

  9. Although, I like your Haikus, Mcq.

    Comment by annegb — July 10, 2011 @ 9:33 am

  10. I think I saw Billy Collins do a poetry reading once. If it’s the guy I’m thinking of.

    I’ve always been an ee cummings type. Here’s one of my faves:

    i thank You God for most this amazing
    day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
    day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)

    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any-lifted from the no
    of all nothing-human merely being
    doubt unimaginably You?

    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

    Comment by Susan M — July 18, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  11. Good one Susan. Here is my favorite Robert Frost poem. It seems to take place in summer:

    For Once, Then, Something
    by Robert Frost

    Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
    Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
    Deeper down in the well than where the water
    Gives me back in a shining surface picture
    Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
    Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
    Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
    I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
    Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
    Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
    Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
    One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
    Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
    Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
    Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something

    Comment by MCQ — July 19, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

  12. The Lanyard is one of my all time faves. I have a recording of Billy Collins reading it himself that I listen to every Mothers Day. I, too, don’t miss the symbolism that suggests these words can tie easily into the atonement.

    as for an original:

    Four glorious words:
    “Brothers, remove your jackets,”
    Summer comes to Church.

    Comment by Chad Too — July 21, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  13. Nice, Chad.

    Except with AC, we don’t hear those words that much anymore.

    And even though we have AC, I notice that few men (at least of my generation and younger) wear suit jackets at church anymore.

    But it’s a good haiku nonetheless.

    Comment by MCQ — July 21, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  14. Annegb, I hate to count syllables when writing poetry and would have to stop writing poetry entirely if it were required!

    Here is a poem about the memory of my neighbor. I had many a sweet Summertime experience in her yard.

    Goldie said bubbles can grow into flowers.
    I pretend float to the sky and form castles with towers.

    The fall to ground another day in the form of sudsy, showers and generously water the bubble flowers.

    PS Goldie used to blow bubbles and did say they would grow into flowers. I think I half believed it.

    Comment by Barb — August 11, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

  15. typo I pretend they float

    Comment by Barb — August 11, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI