Tuesday 30 March 2021

Two Poems by Ken Gosse

 



On Nash’s “A Brief Guide to Rhyming, or How Be the Little Busy Doth?”

 

“A Brief Guide to Rhyming” was written by Nash

on the grammar of rhyme where he offered a dash

of experienced wisdom, advice very nice:

my confusion’s illusions re-versed this rehash:

 

Wise guidance was issued from Ogden’s own pen

because plurals cause problems for women and men

when they rhyme, for it oft’ wanders off its due course—

cursèd source of so many a poet’s remorse.

 

Though the singular “plural” means many, not one,

the plural of plural is plurals—that’s done

but appending an ‘s’ so we don’t have to guess

when we’re speaking of many, not one and not less.

 

But “fewer,” of course, is the word we should use

when we’re dealing with countables, not to confuse

them with singular nouns which may have varied mass,

such as weight or percent or this volume of gas.

 

These too may be counted: “I just drank two quarts,”

but if one drank just one ’mongst your guzzling cohorts

he could say, “I drank less. I drank fewer than two,”

but not say, if sober, “drank fewer than you.”

 

One focus of Nash’s “Brief Guide” concerns case,

for the subject and verb should agree face to face

like the complement found between bass and soprano—

genteel tête-à-tête, sometimes mano a mano.

 

Attention to case can ensure rhyme will please:

we may say “two ears hear” (unless one has disease),

otherwise “one ear hears” (with an ‘s,’ if you please,

for omitting the ‘s’ will cause sonic unease).

 

“A bother of singles” is plural—or not?

It depends on the time and the place and the plot.

A single may mingle with likes of its kind

and if singles who mingle find one of like mind

they’re a couple, that’s two, but an ‘s’ wouldn’t do

unless multiple singles pair up, two by two,

then they’re couples, the plural, when one pair’s too few,

whence the number of couples and kids may accrue.

 

But my lesson ends here, so I’ll doff my panache,

and, if I had one, I’d tweak my mustache.

Since my pool of wisdom is barely a splash,

may your views not abuse this confangled mishmash.

 


Lost in Space (a parody of Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening)

 

I’m confident that in this lot

I’ll find my auto’s parking spot

although, perhaps—and this I fear—

it may be here, but maybe not.

 

I’ve wandered up and down each tier

yet haven’t found it far or near.

My bunions have begun to ache

for I’ve been searching half a year.

 

So, restlessly, as my keys shake

I wave them in the air to make

my car call out, to scream and beep

“I’m Here! I’m Here! For goodness sake!”

 

As through this parking lot I creep

the heart within me starts to weep;

can I untie this Gordian knot,

somnambulistically asleep?


Ken Gosse usually writes short, rhymed verse using whimsy and humor 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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