The Oddity

My pen and me
set off to sea
but washed up feeling useless;

the cadent swell
invoked a spell
and story of Odysseus.

While pen-wrecked there
I would not hear
those rhythmic words like Circe’s;

this poem must be
and I a new Ulysses.



Seventy! Seventy! What about seventy
____calls for a metrical line?
—Praise that your days with their pace and their brevity
____lengthen past age sixty-nine.

Harken, a toast: you done grewed up to seventy,
____here’s to the wealths you attain.
Now on this day if you’re brewed up and given tea
____drink it in lieu of champagne.

Pardon our poem if its pace and its levity
____play at expense of your fun;
Of your seventy years we’re an adamant devotee—
____and will be past seventy-one.


Mark Wacome Stevick (Stiewig) grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in a religious community whose members scorned drinking, dancing, and dice. In his teens he left Lancaster for New England. He lives now with his family in Salem, Massachusetts, where he writes plays, gives walking tours, and teaches creative writing.


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2 Responses

  1. Wic E. Ruse Blade

    “Seventy,” reminiscent of late Victorians, Lear and Carroll, and so many other 20th century British and American poets, with its witty feminine rhymes, and opening and closing stanzas, encapsulates a joyful insouciance. I have used the word “seventy” o’er seventy times, but ne’er once did I utilize these clever rhymes. Thanks for the treasure I’ve access to now; you’ve added four more I can plunder and plow.


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