Feeding Time

Chickens feed on chicken feed.
Birds on birdseed, yes-indeed!
Cattle feed on cattle feed,
Twitters feed on Twitter feed.

People feed on many things,
Avocados, onion rings,
Water drawn from soda springs,
Brussel sprouts and chicken wings.

Gen-X, Buster, Baby Boomer,
Feed on gossip, news, and rumor.
Prime Time sitcoms, late-night humor,
Eat it up, you’re a consumer.

Stuffed with knowledge, facts and data
Even folks like Catherine Zeta-
Jones can tell you how to rate a
Cellphone game released in beta.

Where will this consumption lead us?
Will we say to China, “Feed us?”
Xi will laugh, then gouge and bleed us.
As his growing power exceeds us.

Is our country fat and lazy?
Truth and common sense are hazy.
Those concerned are labeled, “Crazy.”
“Don’t complain, just pick a daisy.”

Exercise? Men toss the caber,
Beat a tabor, swing a sabre.
Better use of human labor?
Love of God and love of neighbor.

Feeding on self-serving grease
Makes us ethically obese
As our calories increase,
Ties to basic truths decrease.

What might be a better diet?
Start an economic riot—
“Made in USA?” then try it
“Made in China?” Well . . . don’t buy it.

Don’t sit back and remain quiet.
Social mind control? Defy it.
Anarchy? Don’t dignify it.
Love our country? Don’t deny it.

Don’t excuse with, “If I could . . .”
Choose, instead, to say, “I should . . .”
Get to know your neighborhood
Pay it forward. Do some good.

Spiritual and moral health
Aren’t attained pursuing wealth.
Don’t eat slop until you’re dead,
Feast on finer things, instead.

Eat your fill of Truth and Beauty.
Stuff yourself on Love and Duty,
Better than a wedge of Edam,
Fix yourself a plate of Freedom.



A Rose is a Rose is a Rose . . . .

Like hurricanes, the flu has always had a name.
Like “Spanish,” “Hong Kong,” “London,” Avian,” or “Swine.”
Descriptive of the source from which the outbreak came;
With no intent to imply blame or to malign.

But times have changed, and calling it the “Wuhan Flu,”
Is PC proof that you’re a racist Sinophobe.
Which begs the thought, does “London Flu” imply that you
Are, deep inside, a secret, hateful Anglophobe?

Perhaps Felipe, the King of Spain, will soon demand
That all offensive plaques and tombstones that display
The racist phrase, “The Spanish Flu,” in every land
Should be condemned, defaced, torn down, at once, today!

This verbal nonsense tempts me to suggest that we
Rebrand this latest flu pandemic as “The Xi.”



Itching for Summer

When spring has sprung and days are warm
Is when mosquitoes like to swarm.
There is a wetlands on my street
Where skeeters, with their tiny feet
And tiny wings, emerge and fly
Straight over to my house where I
Get bitten on my face and hands,
Which every person understands
Is just about the only bummer
That spoils our else-wise perfect summer.



Hybrid Hyperbole

Or How I’m Doing My Part to Save the World

I bought a hybrid car today
And, though it wasn’t far away,
I saved enough while driving home
To buy a second house in Rome.

Hard to believe, but it is true—
The skies above my house are blu-
er, more-so than they were before
I parked my hybrid by my door.

And since I bought it (here’s the kicker),
Arctic ice has grown much thicker,
Record temperatures have dropped,
Hurricanes and droughts have stopped,

My carbon footprint has been cleared;
The Covid flu has disappeared,
And ocean levels ceased to rise;
All this I’ve seen with my own eyes.

I’ve done my part to save the earth
And someday soon (for what it’s worth),
It will not come as a surprise
When I receive a Nobel Prize.



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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23 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    James –
    Your poems are both biting and fine,
    And so I am taking the time
    To say this is the way
    to attack lies today
    To not do so would be a crime!

  2. Julian D. Woodruff

    “Feeding Time”
    Is a true
    Treat in rhyme.
    Mr. T, thank you!

    All the world must love to see us
    In our latest model Prius
    As we gaily roll along
    To the tune of Tweedie’s song.

    • James A. Tweedie


      Some folks may well rejoice
      In owning a Rolls-Royce.
      But I say, “Mama-mia!”
      “I bought a brand new Kia!”

  3. Jeff Eardley

    These are fabulous. I love the Zeta, rate a, beta rhyme and Edam with freedom is pure genius. Just wondering if you will be flying to the second home in Rome, or driving the hybrid all the way over the, soon to be, frozen Atlantic?

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    The metrical tautness, the startling rhymes, and the unashamedly wide vocabulary make “Feeding Time” a truly memorable piece. And I love tight feminine rhymes in tetrameter quatrains. Great work, Mr. Tweedie!

    • James A. Tweedie

      Tyvm for the compliment.

      I wonder, though…if “taught” is the past tense of “teach,” would “taut” (if it were a verb) be the past tense of “teat?”

  5. Peter Hartley

    James – These are all fine and vastly amusing little pieces and I liked them all, particularly Feeding Time. In stanza four did you at any point consider using the word Weta as an end rhyme? As you know it is a particularly ugly ginormous horned apterous New Zealand grasshopper so it would have fitted well in the context and possibly saved you resorting to the not-quite data rhyme with the tortuous / exceedingly hilarious rate a going with the other two rhymes that don’t quite leave this stanza a monorhyme like the rest. I trust that’s all very clear. I enjoyed all of these poems very much. Thank you.

    • James A. Tweedie

      Peter, I was not previously acquainted with the word “Weta.” Nor do I expect to be acquainted with the word “Weta” when I wake up tomorrow morning.

      I am, however, acquainted with the fact that (in America, at least) it is both common and acceptable usage to pronounce the word “data” with either a long or a short “a.”

      • Peter Hartley

        Both pronunciations of data are familiar in the U.K. too, DAHta being restricted now largely to technical use. The singular of the noun has almost disappeared, regrettably, in the U.K., as the word agendum has long since, and phenomenon and criterion are sadly going the same way.

        You cannot pet a weta
        The way you’d pet a Gordon setter.
        But if you ever met a weta
        You’d know a guinea pig is better.

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    These delightful poems are a smorgasbord of linguistic deliciousness to feast upon with gusto. Every one of them is to my taste, though I especially like “Hybrid Hyperbole”. From the title to the closing line it’s hilarious, with just enough bitter truth in the sauce to give Al Gore indigestion. Wonderful stuff!

    • James A. Tweedie


      The Hybrid poem is autobiographical insofar as last week my wife and I traded in our beloved 22-year old Dodge minivan for a Kia Hybrid. My wife ran one of her infrequent errands this morning and recorded 56 /mpg. The poem was written in an attempt to keep myself from feeling overly smug about the whole thing.

  7. Yael

    These are all enjoyable poems, but Hybrid Hyperbole is my favorite. That’s some real linguistic entertainment there. I love it!

  8. Rod

    Loved them all James they are cleverly done and well sprinkled with good advice. Speaking as one who has been woken up in the middle of the night by a Weta crawling on the back of my neck I’d rather you stuck to the status quo…. they are hideous creatures!

    • James A. Tweedie

      Rod, Can’t say I saw a Weta when I visited NZ but while living in Adelaide I found an Aussie equivalent in my garden—with his abdomen completely eaten out And filled with little aphid-like creepy thingies. The cricket was still crawling around as if nothing was wrong. I’d hate to wake up with anything like it on my neck! And “Dear me!” It’s “tomorrow morning” and the word “Weta” is still in my vocabulary. Will wonders never cease!

  9. David Watt

    James, this is a very clever set of humorous poems. The exaggerated claims made in ‘Hybrid Hyperbole’ really tickled my fancy.

    • James A. Tweedie

      Thanks, David. I wrote that poem to make myself smile. I’m glad some of that rubbed off on you! My Adelaide garden (see above) was also home to several kinds of lizards, including a Blue Tongue, which, I assume, kept the crickets from invading my house and nibbling on my neck. In order to see the larger lizards I had to goanna trip to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney.0

  10. Norma Okun

    I get your point in what your poems say. So much so that the world looks manageable and easy to fix. But indeed insects, hurricanes and the unnamed to come flu or hurricane are there perhaps not in the context of your poems but in the history of the world itself.

  11. Margaret Coats

    “Feeding Time” is a feast of words, but as you’ve also devoted some attention to plot, I will compliment the excellent plating. “A Rose” deserves credit for suggesting the shortest name for the current plague, and would have saved an enormous amount of breath had it come into general use earlier. If the media does not take it up now, they are surely guilty of spreading the Xi. You could try for the Nobel Prize in Medicine, but it does take some campaigning. One winner I knew took a long vacation in Sweden, and still had to wait five years for his prize. But why not e-mail the Academy a link to this column? They will certainly find it more fun than some of the other works being considered in Literature!

    • James A. Tweedie

      Margaret, I do not think it proper form to nominate myself so I will leave that part of the Nobel process to you. If you up the ante by filling out the form in Greek hexameters that could give me the edge I need to take the prize away from Greta Thunberg.


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