Poetry Challenge #88

What They Said . . .

I am a shameless eavesdropper. So bad in fact, that I’ll often shush Curtis (who does not talk much anyway) so I can focus on other diner’s conversations. Yes, I’m that bad…
New Haven Train Sign

New Haven Train Sign

Which may be why an old sing-along-in-the-car song, called “Humoresque” aka “Passengers Will Please Refrain”, has long been one of my favorites. Set to the tune of Dvořák’s Humoresque Number 7, it begins with a New Haven Railroad toilet sign and ends with “If Sherman’s horse can stand it, so can you” and in between are snippets of conversation.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and Yale law professor Thurman Arnold take full credit for the “Bawdy Song.” In his autobiography, Go East, Young Man (pp. 171–72), Douglas notes, “Thurman and I got the idea of putting these memorable words to music, and Thurman quickly came up with the musical refrain from Humoresque.” Because I know you’re curious, here are the abridged lyrics:

“Passengers will please refrain
From flushing toilets while the train
Is in the station. Darling, I love you!
We encourage constipation
While the train is in the station
Moonlight always makes me think of you.
If the woman’s room be taken,
Never feel the least forsaken,
Never show a sign of sad defeat.
Try the men’s room in the hall,
And if some man has had the call,
He’ll courteously relinquish you his seat.
If these efforts all are vain,
Then simply break a window pane-
This novel method used by very few.
We go strolling through the park
Goosing statues in the dark,
If Sherman’s horse can take it, why can’t you?”

— https://lyricstranslate.com/en/oscar-brand-humoresque-passengers-will-please-refrain-lyrics.htm

Your Poem Could Be A Song, too!

Instructions:

Go somewhere crowded (preferably public) with a pen and paper. Jot down snippets of conversations. Or, if you can’t do that, brainstorm greetings—all the ways/languages/terms we use to say hello, goodbye, or thank you. Arrange and rearrange the terms to create a poem with a melodic, interesting—maybe surprising order. Title your poem “Conversations” with the location and date. For example: Conversations at Starbucks, May 22.

Go Forth and Eavesdrop!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1100 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #87

Pick a Prompt

Sometimes it’s fun to write a poem from a prompt. Choose one of the prompts below as your first line and write as fast as you can. If you get stuck, try another line. Or try writing a 4 line poem with each line beginning with one of the prompts. Have fun!

• No one knows I’m here…
• Here’s a neat idea…
• I’m scared of…
• I wish I could remember…

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1100 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #86

Riffing Chicago Style

Chicago Style Blues started as musical improv, performers creating on the fly, riffing off each other, daring each other, challenging each other and themselves to come up with song verses that fit the pattern. A performer starts with one line that fits a beat. That line is then repeated. Then a third longer line finishes the stanza with a word that rhymes with the previous two. Simple as that—if you’re a smokin’ guitarist.

It’s said, one reason the second line repeats the first, which is so much a part of traditional Blues, is to give performers creating on the fly, time to think of a rhyming last line. For fun, blues players toss the song around, challenging each other by taking turns coming up with new stanzas.

Let’s give it a try. Here’s a template to get us started:
I’m a something or other, name, just doing something somewhere.
I’m a something or other, name, just doing something somewhere.
I verb the noun so easy, I’ll say or do something that fits and ends in a rhyme.

My Effort:
I’m a green frog, Henry, just sitting on a rock.
I’m a green frog, Henry, just sitting on a rock.
I’ll hop and croak so loudly, I’ll blast you off your dock.

Now that you’ve set a pattern, try stringing 2 or 3 stanzas together—or 5 for your own blues song.

Grab your air guitar and get Bluesy!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1100 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.