Thursday 18 February 2021

Three Poems by Ken Gosse


Wordliness is Next to Absurdliness


I’d like to write an epic tome

of Phaedron and Laetrile,

or Perseus the Nurseus,

and Barnacles of Ancient Bill.


Great stories from the gods’ own home—

the Pantheon, high on a hill,

where cable cars would reach the stars;

Elysian fields fulfill my thrill!


Did Narcissus or Daffodil

bloom on the fertile hills of Rome?

Was Thor a mighty matador?

Oy vey! I’ve wandered far from home.


So, sparing Greeks more travesty

of Syllabus and Lillipus,

I’ll gently put away my quill

so you won’t have to read more fuss.

Both Sides of the Fence


Nonsense always makes best sense

when perched upon a wobbly fence,

leaning first this way then that,

much like that cat who wears a hat

or Humpty, sitting on a wall

who always seems about to fall

or Cheshire cats, high up in trees

who come and go with every breeze

while faerie, elf, and unicorn

pour joy and bliss down to adorn.


But nonsense can be scary, too—

consider what hobgoblins do!

The Jabberwock, a feisty villain,

scares bejeebers out of chillun,

and the trolls beneath each bridge

will sweat your brow to cross their ridge.

Then we have the dreadful sphynx—

the strangest one of all, methinks,

and fear the Nile crocodile,

whose giant tears and smile beguile.


There’s the stoger-smoking ogre,

and the ghouls who capture fools.

Zombies who say naught but “brain”

and won’t refrain from that refrain.

Vampires who will suck your juice

but use romance as their excuse

and strange, misshapen creatures crawl

through heating ducts within your wall …


As all can see, nonsense can be

whatever it may be that we

would care to bring into the light

or banish to the darkest night

(in hopes that once they’re out of sight

we’ll all be safely out of fright).


For joy or pleasure or good measure

of the thrills and chills we treasure

from the time that we’re first born

through all those days we sit forlorn,

’twixt hopefulness and hapless torn

while waiting for the dawn’s next morn,

we look inside, or read without,

and seek a laugh or fearful shout

to find out what life’s all about,

or turn a dull life inside-out.


Imagination is the key:

unlock it—set your nonsense free!



A Sandalous Tale


Agley, Askew, and Awry one night

Sailed off in a leathery sandal—

In the shady dark of the new moon’s light

Lit by just a candle.

The peaceful moon who was humming a tune

Was startled by the three.

They said, “We sipped rum for the whole afternoon;

And now we’re lost at sea.

Oh, would you kindly hear our plea,”


And Awry

Floated off

In the sky.


The moon exhaled a calming cloud

As water flowed through their shoe;

Then it puffed a fluff of magic shroud

Which covered the weary crew.

They rye they drank had been infused

With molasses from sugar cane;

It left them bemused but quite confused—

Their planning was vain!

Their cries reached the skies, with sorrow and pain,


Then Askew

Floated out of

The shoe.


So, to his crew, Agley shouted “Adieu”

While trying to grasp the helm,

But the moistened strap of the leathery shoe

Was slippery in this realm.

A water-soaked sandal was not a good choice—

At sea, it never could be—

Now lost and storm-tossed without cause to rejoice

No plan and without guarantee,

Would be the end of these adventurers three


As Agley

Also floated



Agley and Askew were two short of a crew

And Awry, short in the head;

They would fail to sail a sandalous shoe—

On water it shouldn’t tread.

Sleep shut their eyes so it’s not a surprise

That they lost sensibility.

On this sad enterprise they were lost in the skies

Set adrift in this turbulent sea.

That’s the last that we heard of the wanderers three,




And Awry.


Note: This is a parody of Eugene Field’s 1889 poem “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.”


Ken Gosse usually writes short, rhymed verse using whimsy and humour in traditional meters. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, since then in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, Home Planet News Online, Sparks of Calliope and others. Raised in the Chicago, Illinois, suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.



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