Friday, May 4, 2018

Poetry Friday: A toast! A toast!

I have only myself to blame for this month's challenge. I thought it would be fun to write a toast, in poetry form, to be recited for "any occasion, to someone or something." The only rule for the toast was that it had to begin and end with the same two words. So, as Kelly pointed out, technically, the poem could simply be:

A toast!
A toast!

Readers, I nearly had to fall back on that.

Who knew how hard thinking up a toast would be? There are so many occasions on which to toast---birthdays, and anniversaries, and weddings, and graduations---and so many wonderful people deserving of such a tribute, too (including my own mom, who turns 80 this month---Happy Birthday, Mom!)

Maybe that was the trouble...too many good choices.  I like it better when a poem forces me into a box and makes me scramble to build a way out.  Or, as some of my poetry sisters often say:  can't we have more rules?

A Toast to Rules

Rules instruct, they measure, they bind;
Rules tie the past to the future, families define;
Rules say who reigns, who serves, what’s mine.

Rules birth languages, start art schools, procreate paradigms;
Rules preserve form, marry reason to rhyme;
Rules say how to love, where to live, when war is really peacetime.

Rules lay the groundwork, they chalk mark the fence line;
Rules make vowels speak, name numbers as prime;
Rules say be this, not that, if you’ll be so kind.

Rules make straight the path, stamp out the serpentine;
Rules ink how long to care, how high to climb;
Rules say you’re out, you’re foul, you’re safe—this time.

Which is why poetry rudely rejects such designs;
It cavorts; it break dances; it steps light-years out of line;
For who says we must only be who the fine

rules instruct?

           ---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Find my Poetry Sisters' toasts here:


Poetry Friday is hosted today by Friendly Fairy Tales.


  1. HAHAHAHAHA, Oh, SARA!! It's not nice to be glad you suffered, but ...*snickers*

    So much for marrying reason to rhyme. Poetry kicked both our butts this month, but I LOVE this; you made it work for you!

  2. I was with you and so loved all your examples of rules. (I AM a rule follower.) And then I got to this:
    Which is why poetry rudely rejects such designs;
    It cavorts; it break dances; it steps light-years out of line;

    And I just about spit my tea out, because I did not see this coming. But alas, it's so true.
    I do love how you did this.

  3. Wonderful poem. Without rules, we'd have no alphabet or dictionary. We would know how to say we hate gravity!

  4. Love it! Especially connecting these two lines, "Rules instruct, they measure, they bind" . . . "Which is why poetry rudely rejects such designs" and thinking of the reluctant writers (students) who respond to writing free verse.

  5. Sara!! This poem could tame even an anarchist. I love this and am impressed and forgive you for our assignment. :) Ha ha ha. Seriously. It was fun!!

  6. I'm with Tricia. Hooray for rules!! But...yes, indeedy...thank goodness Poetry exists to break them all!


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