Bring On the Leeches

A condition called aspergillosis,
And a touch of marasmus as well,
Was the surgeon’s succinct diagnosis.
All my innards were hurting like hell,

And he told me that nothing he did
Stood a chance of improving my grave
Situation. I slipped him a quid
Then requested a haircut and shave.

After that he suggested a physic
Of magnesia, ripe apples and plums
To prevent constipation and phthisic
And to buffer whatever next comes.


Embracing Polyphenols

A single cup of strong black coffee was enough
To drive the cobwebs out and send me on my way,
But if my psyche had been made of better stuff,
I might have drunk it only every other day

And wrested stimulation from the morning dew,
Reducing somewhat my dependence on caffeine—
Unlikely! Still, I sought a less corrosive brew
That would emancipate me from the coffee bean.

I happened to discover Mutan China white,
A tea I’d be unhappy now to do without.
It soothes my bowels, it doesn’t keep me up at night,
And to its charm I am a proselyte devout.

It’s also beneficial to my lungs and liver.
On whether it’s a manly drink, opinions differ.



Home Trek

Sometimes the world afflicts us in extremis,
And thus we hope that Scotty soon will beam us
Up to The Enterprise, in order that
We venture forward toward our Ararat.

Imagine mountaintops as verdant shores
Where, once we’ve done the necessary chores,
The land becomes a fertile paradise
With every breeze suffused with fragrant spice.

In such a place I’d like to live, together
With all my loved ones in the perfect weather
An undiscovered planet might provide.
So, Captain Kirk, I thank you for the ride,

And for the many wonders that I saw,
Which more than not engendered shock and awe.
But now, if I may ask, please turn around
And take me back to more familiar ground,

For I would keep my roots on planet Earth,
The place where I’ve been living since my birth.
Miraculous terrain as yet unknown
Cannot replace the world I call my own.



An Indictment of Lewis Carroll

On Noah’s Ark
There was no snark.
The looking glass
A door? My ass!

Invented myth
Has little pith,
And writers ought
To give some thought

To tales they spin
And not begin
Another till
Their scruples kill

The yen for flights
Of fancy. Nights
Are better used
For less confused

Endeavors. This
Is bound to piss
Some people off,
But who would scoff

If C.L.D.,
Advised by me,
Stayed on the path
Of higher math?

C.L.D.: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (the real name of Lewis Carroll)



C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden.  Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.


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10 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    Kip, these are absolutely great.

    The trimeter of “Bring on the Leeches” is so catchy that I had to recite the piece out loud several times, in sheer delight. And the rhymes? They are unexpected, and arresting.

    “Home Trek” surprises the reader, who begins by thinking that the poet is writing just another fantasy of an otherworldy paradise, but finds out in the last six lines that the poet really prefers the comforts and joys of Earth. And the rhyme of “extremis” and “beam us” is worthy of Belloc.

    “An Indictment of Lewis Carroll” is pleasant just for its perfect dimeters, hard masculine endings, and overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon lexical items. In fact, disregarding the Hebrew name Noah, I count only ten words in the poem of either Latin or Greek derivation. This gives the indictment a hefty and down-to-earth punch, to my perceptions.

    And by contrast, notice that “Embracing Polyphenols” has many Greek and Latin derivatives, which heighten the humor, smooth out the alexandrine meter, and allow for a delightful inversion like “proselyte devout,” and for wonderful phrasing like “wrested stimulation” and “a less corrosive brew.”

    Kip, you have given us here 1) trimeter, 2) alexandrines, 3) iambic pentameter, and 4) dimeter rhyming couplets in AABB quatrains. That is a real display of craftsmanship and talent.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Joseph, It might or might not surprise you, but all except “Home Trek” were previously rejected by other venues, including two of the best known magazines specializing in light verse. I have come to realize that writing good light verse is every bit as exacting as writing good “serious” verse.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Kip, I’m not surprised at all. The editors took “Home Trek” because it has an upbeat, happy, Smiley-Face ending. They rejected “Bring on the Leeches” because it’s about disease and the threat of death. They rejected “An Indictment of Lewis Carroll” because it presents some sharp criticism of a famous and beloved writer. They rejected “Embracing Polyphenols” because it is in alexandrines, which are considered too literary and recherche for brain-dead readers. Being an editor today is like being a publicity flack — your job is to hype your magazine, and keep the customers happy.

        The editors who now control the publication of “light” verse will no longer publish poems that have a real edge to them, or which are scary. They want stuff that’s isn’t traditional light verse, but basically just “lightweight” fluff, for their audience of suburban soccer moms and millennial snowflakes.

        Really brilliant light versifiers, like Praed or Belloc, whose poems could sting like scorpions, wouldn’t have a chance today. So you’re in good company.

  2. David Watt

    C.B., your versatility is certainly evident in these witty pieces!
    Mutan China white may not be a manly drink, but ‘Embracing Polyphenols’ makes a decisive case for this beverage.

    • C.B. Anderson

      David, you should try it if you can get it. I buy it 2 1/2 pounds at a time. There is nothing I wrote about it in the poem that isn’t true.

  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    These admirably crafted pieces are a masterclass in poetry – they’re all highly amusing and wholly inspirational. Wonderful!

    • C.B. Anderson

      Susan, Coming from you, a master of humorous verse, the approbation is especially welcome.

  4. Monty

    D’you remember late last year, CB, after I secured your book ‘Blue Yonder’ from Amazon; when I told you I was gonna take it to Nepal with me? Well, take it I did, and I’m about halfway through it at the moment. I was gonna wait till I’d finished it before giving you my appraisal. But after spotting your highly-humorous pieces above, I have to tell you . . . from what I’ve seen so far in the book, all the poems are absolutely of the high-standard I expected them to be from you: commandingly written and containing every poetic discipline. But there were only one or two (Sibling Rivalry comes to mind) which were intentionally humorous; all the others, although varying in subject-matter, seemed to come under the banners of either Philosophical or Things Experienced. I’m not complaining in the slightest, and I eagerly await completion of the book; I just felt a few more humorous pieces might give it a better balance. Perhaps there are more in the second-half of the book, so I wouldn’t normally have jumped the gun just yet . .

    . . but after seeing your quality pieces above, I couldn’t help thinking: “Why didn’t he throw some of them into Blue Yonder? As well as the varying poetic forms of each piece, they’re all genuinely and highly amusing . . and the fact that all but one were knocked-back by other venues is only indicative of the real danger in which proper poetry finds itself these days. It’s a crying shame.


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