Friday, June 5, 2015

Poetry Friday: An ode to...well, you'll see---I think

The Poetry Seven has a list: an agreed upon schedule of poetic forms we will attempt this year. And in which order.

But then, we get fancy. Throw around themes or a common word or two.

This month, we were due to tackle odes.  Free-verse odes, so no one had to wrestle with rhyme if they didn't want to.  The topic? Anything at all. The words? Up to us.

The only catch? They were supposed to be humorous.


It turns out that a funny ode---praising and pranking, both at once, you might say---is jolly hard.

An Ode to---well, you’ll see---I think

One wintry morn, waking to find
my snow shovel absconded with—
brazenly taken from under the front stairs
—and replaced by one with a cracked acrylic blade—
why oh why would you steal my shovel
and leave me your TRASH instead?—
I will make, to re-boot (re-foot? re-shoe?) the day
Frito waffles with mascarpone
and warm strawberry compote (!!!)
but today—having found this recipe
now am deeply depressed
for who can ode-alate
corn chips better than such a dish—certainly not
this poem, which is why
it is not about Fritos—

although, in a way, the first stanza touches
on but does not intersect
with the subject of this ode—
or should I say, the object of this ode—
for we use the term “object of my undying devotion”—
or perhaps the word is yet to be coined
 —the ode-ulatee? the ode-ified?—
or perhaps it is —like an old cell phone—in the clutches
of a different owner, and dialing it would yield
a word like odoriferous— which has nothing
to do with odes—

—still, there was this Danish mathematician—I know!
I know! the Danes don’t stink, but they are often confused
with the Finns, so I rather think it’s nearly as confusing
as odiferous—so, this Dane—
he thought nothing of writing
a book called Geomietriae Rotundi,
which might be funny if there were a photo
of him, jolly and circular, eating waffles,
but the year was 1585 and it was Denmark,
so perhaps he was wan and thin, and mope-y
in a Hamlet sort of no-snow-shovel way and really
would’ve annoyed you
with his tons and tons of friends, despite his lack
of social graces—or waffles—
and this is when— it occurs to you,
that he is a mathematician—

not a writer—and yet, he has introduced—
as you wish to—although not for the
first time, as he did, but soon! yes, soon!
the term you are gallantly ode-ifying
if only you could stop thinking
about Fritos—an idea which should be by now
all but parenthetical (which means enclosed)
while the term you are praising is entirely
uncaged— like one of those European
vacays, where you ricochet off borders
like you were being Googled
by a middle-schooler who must—in twelve minutes—
crib an ethnic costume indicative
of her illustrious ancestors
or else forfeit the extra credit needed
to crawl across the
finish (Ha! the Finns, again!) line
of World History and yet—

you cannot believe that in all this—
not once—perhaps because you are certain
that this mathematician, this Thomas Fincke—-
does that name sound Danish to you?— that he
had a snow shovel AND friends, and—despite having
a son-in-law named Ole Worm—perhaps he had
a loving, round-ish wife who made him waffles
—so maybe you should’ve praised
geometry, with all its useful
angles—but instead…
Sorry, I’ve lost my train
of thought. What was I saying?

This is an ode to tangents.
I like them.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Buffy at Buffy's Blog.

Other humorous odes by the Poetry Seven can be found here:  Tricia, Liz, Kelly, Laura, Andi, Tanita.


  1. I told Kelly her poem made me feel smart, largely because I actually GOT all the references to use of the f-word. Yours makes me feel smart because I actually figured it out! I love the twists and turns here. This is much the way my brain works these days. It's entertaining, but not so great for getting work done.

    I salute you and your incredible poem to sideways thinking.

  2. Sara, I don't like long poems, so when I first saw yours in the Google doc, I was overwhelmed! But then as I read it, it turned into a little daydream for me, kind of...outside of time. I'm afraid I am constantly going on tangents, either out loud or just in my head, so your delightful meandering was hysterical and so recognizable to me. I especially love the conversational tone - "I know! / I know! the Danes don’t stink, but they are often..." And the abrupt and on-point ending. Ha!

  3. This still cracks me up -- you are clever!!

  4. Hah! Love this -- it all makes crazy, creative, funny sense in the end, or was that the beginning? You had me at Fritos and waffles and the thought of a round Danish mathematician, tangentially speaking, of course (your own brilliantly skewed stream of consciousness discourse a main course to be reckoned with and consumed only while wearing ethnic costumes).

  5. This made me chuckle - as I said earlier in the week, you always reel us in before you lose us, and when I first saw this, I was shocked and then very, very amused.

  6. You are so clever, and I totally agree with Tanita on this one. Love how you have YET AGAIN managed to pull math/science in!

  7. Love this wild ride of an ode (which, parenthetically, is not the least bit odiferous!)

  8. I will wander through as many tangents as you can tangle ANY time!

    LOVE it! (But really, Frito waffles?!?!)

  9. I hope we will all be inspired to write odes such as these of the Poetry Seven, and I hope that mine will be as perfectly unshapely yet rotund with richness as yours, Sarah--oh my!

  10. LOL I really think this must be my favorite of all our Odes this month. You are so completely out of control, and yet every word is completely in line with your mastery. Love it!


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