Monday, September 24, 2007



The papers had no words today,
And the news was done in mime.
All the squires sang in silence,
While the thirteenth hour chimed.

The knights went off to Nowhere
To explore that distant land.
Everyone was much impressed
When they returned with empty hands.

We distilled all the whispers
Into a drink and drank
A silent toast in honor of
The artist that drew a blank.

If the papers have words tomorrow,
I wonder what they'll say
About all the many things
That were never done today.

Intermission photo courtesy of "alumroot"


Rob Berry said...

A poem that *rhymes*? Who are you and what have you done with the real Andrew Lias? ;-)

Andrew Lias said...

Who says I can't rhyme?

There once was a real big slob
Who went by the name of Rob
He loved his Doritos
And savored his Cheetos
By the crumbs got into his knob

Would you like an Italian sonata?

magidin said...

Actually, if you are taking requests, I would love to see a villanelle, a sestina, or a ballade. (-:

Andrew Lias said...

My friend, Mr. Magidin
Why does he challenge me, so?
Does envy ever turn him green?

He has a mind this is quite keen
And so many things that he does know
My friend, Mr. Magidin

And yet he is a human being
This man I call Arturo;
Does envy ever turn him green?

Even the best will vent their spleen;
Would he pass the chance to grow,
My friend, Mr. Magidin?

What we know and what we've seen
Can make us quick, or make us slow.
Does envy ever turn him green?

This pallid challenge has lost its sheen
But I shall ask, before I go,
My friend, Mr. Magidin:
Does envy ever turn him green?

Andrew Lias said...

(And thanks goodness you said OR and not AND)

magidin said...

Bravo! I made a request, not a challenge. (-; That said, "being" is not really a consonant rhyme with green, spleen, keen, etc... Better the poetic license "bein'"

(And... I hesitate to mention it... while "Magidin" would indeed rhyme in the original bielorussian, it does not in either Spanish, where the stress is in the second syllable, or in English, where the stress is on the first one...)

But, really, Bravo!

Andrew Lias said...

Strictly speaking, "human being" is a near rhyme but most people pronounce it as "human bean".

Given this and given the fact that even Dylan Thomas wasn't above the occasional near rhyme, I shall make no apologies. None, I say! :)

magidin said...

Oh, it's okay. Remember: in Spanish, asonant rhymes are still well respected, even if they seem to have become all but lost in English. I wonder why English decided that only consonant rhymes counted? (A consonant rhyme is when the two words sound the same from the stressed syllable onwards, including consonants; in an asonant rhyme, you only require the vowel sounds to be the same from the stressed syllable onwards. So, in Spanish, "nada" and "casa" would be considered rhymes, though "nada" and "cada" would be 'better' rhymes).

So as far as I'm concerned, you don't have to apologize. (-:

Rob Berry said...

Well, I'd certainly like an apology for rhyming my name with "slob". >:-(

Andrew Lias said...

I'm sorry, Rob, but the space of words that rhyme with Rob isn't very large.

I could have gone with "blob" or "glob", but I don't think you'd have found that any more flattering.

Rob Berry said...

"I'm sorry, Rob, but the space of words that rhyme with Rob isn't very large."

Au contraire, my name offers up a wealth of rhyming opportunities. For example, you could have talked about my job. Or my love for corn on the cob. Or my connections with the mob. Or why I'm such a snob. Or my old boss Bob. Or how I make the ladies' hearts throb. Or how last month I cleaned my keyboard out with a cotton swab.

And you could've used my real name, Robby. Then you could talk about my favorite hobby. Or that time I waited in the lobby. Or how I've never been to Abu Dhabi. Or met Ahmed Chalabi.

Or you could've called me Rob Berry, and asked if I am hairy. Or what movies I find scary. Or how much weight I can carry. Or if I'm allergic to dairy. Or if I've riden on a ferry. Or if I know a man named Gary. (Or Larry.) Or a woman named Mary. (Or Teri.) Or if I'd like to own a canary. Or if I've ever watched "Tom And Jerry", or "Little House On The Prairie". Or why I'm very wary, and often quite contrary. Or if I know a woman named Sherry, and did I pop her balloon.

Andrew Lias said...

Well, sure, I could have used one of those, but I was looking for words that actually described you. :)

Andrew Lias said...

Romance languages, in general, are much kinder to poets. There's a reason that the Italian sonata is so much more complex than it's English counterpart.

The only advantage that English has (and it's not an insignificant one) is a surplus of words, but finding good rhymes is a challenge. I don't think it's a coincidence that free verse really took off in the English speaking world first.

Rob Berry said...

"I was looking for words that actually described you."

Well, it's not my fault that "brilliant", "gorgeous", and "drop dead sexy" don't rhyme with Rob. :-D

Rob Berry said...

So on a more serious note, what inspired you to write a rhyming poem? You have to admit it's unusual for you, and I'm curious about how the decision came about. Did you consciously decide, "I think I'll try to do a rhyming poem today"? Did you have the idea for the poem's topic first, and then decide that a rhyming poem would suit the subject matter better? Did you start out writing free verse, realized that a couple of lines you'd written happened to rhyme, and decided to make the whole poem that way? Or was it something else?

Rob Berry said...

"Romance languages, in general, are much kinder to poets.[...]"

You could always write in Pig Latin-- that language is ideally suited to rhyming poems. ;-)

Andrew Lias said...

I wanted to write something reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, so a rhymed poem seemed more appropriate to the subject.

The idea of doing a Royal Chant in pig Latin does have a certain appeal.

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