Fright and Flight

The sleeping farm was bathed in soft moonlight.
A quiet evening, peaceful and subdued;
When suddenly a single bovine mooed
And then a second answered from her right.
The pastured herd of cows was huddled tight
Against a fence where each had calmly chewed
Its cud until the tranquil quietude
Was shattered and the startled herd took flight.
They broke the fence and scattered in a fright
The barnyard was in chaos, pigeons cooed,
The sheep and geese completely came unglued.
It took ‘til morning to contain the fight.
The next day’s headline story brought delight;
Describing “Udder Chaos in the Night.”



Point, Set, & Match

Serena Williams is a tennis star,
A sport that’s played on asphalt, grass and clay.
Serena’s good at what she does. Some say
That she’s the best who ever played, by far.
But others think that King and Evert were
The best. Or maybe Graf, Navratilova,
Seles, Goolagong or Sharapova.
What about the men? There’s Federer,
And Laver, Djokovic, Sampras, Nadal,
Agassi, Conners, Ashe and McEnroe.
So who’s the best? Don’t ask, I do not know.
The Bible, though, knows who hit the first ball,
And cites the first known reference to the sport:
Which was when Moses served in Pharaoh’s court!



James A. Tweedie is a recently retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He likes to walk on the beach with his wife. He has written and self-published four novels and a collection of short stories. He has several hundred unpublished poems tucked away in drawers.

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16 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    Sometimes it’s fun just to let loose with a punny poem, isn’t it? Very clever, and a good way to start the day. Thanks !

  2. Julian D. Woodruff

    Good, James. Your handling of tennis stars’ names is more like juggling than serving, speaking of which, the last line of the tennis ditty is really rich. Who would have appreciated it more–Moses or Pharaoh?

  3. Peter Hartley

    James – Quite a tonic to see these two epic poems among the illustrious works published by SCP. I had thought I’d detected a slight anachronism when you cite the example of the Pharaoh playing tennis in c14th bc, but now I suspect “tennis” is just a typo for “Shin-kicking contests”, cf “Ozymandias”, P B Shelley, line 15. It made a v welcome change from some of the heavy stuff. You seem to have an extraordinarily varied output. V Good.

    • James A. Tweedie

      Peter, I have an aversion to ruts. I got stuck in one once and swore I would never get stuck in one again. In any case, glad to see that at least a few of you have responded with a smile.

      • Peter Hartley

        James – Have you ever been to Pompeii? All the streets are full of ruts, petrified for all time by the eruption of AD 79. It gave me the first and last opportunity to write the word “rutty” on a postcard.

      • James A. Tweedie

        Peter, as far as Italy is concerned, I have never been further south than the Rome airport (although, by coincidence, I just finished writing a sonnet set in Pompeii). I have, however, seen the Roman road-ruts in places like Jerash and Ephesus. Heh! I was about to use the word “rutting” but decided it didn’t conjure the desired image . . .

  4. Anna J. Arredondo

    Delightful! Thank you for showcasing the versatility of the sonnet with these punny punchlines. I particularly enjoy seeing poets rhyming names and other “unusual” words as well. Refreshing!

    • James A. Tweedie

      For those of you who enjoyed these two poems here are two more.

      “And the Greatest of These Is . . .”

      Warren Buffet, Henry Kravis, Alexander Hamilton,
      T. Boone Pickens, J.P. Morgan, Carl Icahn, Carlos Slim;
      John Marks Templeton, George Soros, Steven Schwartzman, flush with pluck;
      Each a financier renowned for cunning, shrewdness, skill and luck.
      Yet they can’t compare with one who lived in the far distant past.
      Their vast fortunes will soon perish, hers is guaranteed to last.
      She alone accomplished what economists say can’t be done.
      Many since have tried to do it, each has failed, every one.
      Who is she who did this marvel? What exactly did she do?
      She is known as Pharaoh’s daughter, that’s your hint and that’s your clue.
      What she did deserves our admiration, gratitude and thanks.
      Bithia! Who pulled a prophet from a rush upon the banks.

      “Name Game”

      Honda is a name respected and admired near and far.
      Everyone agrees it’s a reliable and well-built car.
      But not many know that Honda’s been around a long, long time.
      Built to handle Roman roads, the ancient world’s dust and grime.
      Scripture says the first-known car was not a Cadillac or Ford,
      Acts 2:1 says Jesus’ followers were all in one Accord.

      • Julian D. Woodruff

        Take this “act” on the road, James. (After all, you share a name with 2 of Jesus’ apostles.) But as for all his followers being “in one Accord,” that was then, definitely not now!

  5. Peter Hartley

    James – As Anna says above, thank you for “showcasing the versatility of the sonnet” and thank you for showing us the utmost punnacle of pungency that can be reached by a master punster in the judicious implementation of such punnitively punnishing punnettes. Excruciating.

  6. David Watt

    James, you have varied the mix with these witty poems. I wonder what the next poetic subject will be?


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