A Case of Ghosts

(Full Fathom Five parodied)

In cradling case my fiddle lies,
Waiting for the owner’s hand.
Strings all slack, its music dies.
Yet a not-quite-silent band
There conspires to haunt my heart—
Wonder of the maker’s art.
Ghosts rise. From within they knock.
Hark! Now I hear Brahms, Mozart, Bach.



The Side-Show

after the Prologue to Erdgeist, by Frank Wedekind

This side-show, dearest viewer, is at your service,
To form, inform, and entertain your mind.
Don’t let the bricks that fly here make you nervous,
But calmly take what pleasure you may find.

You won’t see here the ordinary scribblings
That plague the world of poetry today,
But honest efforts made by would-be siblings,
Determined to give formal verse its say.

We’re cheerleaders, comediennes, and scholars,
Even police—coppers who quote the laws
To keep in line those too free–wheeling scrawlers
Who’d add a stress or ill–invert a clause.

Let’s not forget producer and director:
He works behind the scene with mics and lights.
He’s the bad taste and ignorance detector,
And keeps this verbal pageant in his sights …




Julian D. Woodruff was a teacher, orchestral musician, and librarian. He served for several years as librarian at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA. He now resides in the area of Rochester, NY, where he writes poetry and fiction, much of it for children. His work has appeared in Frostfire Worlds and on the websites of Carmina, Parody Poetry, and Reedsy. His GPS poem placed tenth in the last riddle contest of The Society of Classical Poets.

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5 Responses

  1. Julian D. Woodruff

    Thank you, Leo.
    Thanks, too, to the “produce and director” for so quickly fixing a little flub that had slipped in with my submission.

  2. Margaret Coats

    Julian, “The Side Show” smiles as a most amusing invitation to the site, especially in combination with the humor of our producer and director in the Claesz still life. We see you way back in the mirror, not fiddling but painting. Still, in the foreground there is the violin, not in its case, but ready for you to pick up and enliven some one from your “Case of Ghosts.” Thank you, and keep up practice in your varied arts.

  3. Julian D. Woodruff

    Thanks, Margaret
    Woefully decreasing mobility in my left wrist and forearm make the violin and the viola dubious battles at this point. (They were never what you might call fields of shining victory, anyway.) Giving some thought to tackling cello and / or viols. Meanwhile, I’ve spent (or wasted) a bit of time on a listening project: the duo sonatas of Beethoven. Having completed that, wondering what might be next …
    The Claesz, to me, is both apropos and amusing. I wonder what was in that goblet before it was drained. (I’ve done some of my best playing, and some of my worst, on 2 cans of beer.)

  4. Margaret Coats

    Julian, I’m sorry to hear of the left arm afflictions, and glad to hear that you’re thinking about what to take up next. If the arm difficulties also affect typing, and you haven’t yet had a neurology check for carpal tunnel syndrome, that might be worthwhile. In any case, the work on children’s literature seems to be a bright prospect for the future. Best wishes.


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