.

Midday Dreaming

The raindrops fall like teardrops from a
sad and sodden cloud;
Their spattering the sound of some a-
doring, cheerful crowd.

I touch the cloud with outstretched fingers
Lifted to the sky,
The rainfall’s ozone fragrance lingers
As the storm rolls by.

I hear the sound of distant thunder
Muffled through the trees,
And find myself caught up in wonder
With the Autumn breeze.

Caressed by heaven, like a dove I
Ride upon the wind
And glimpse a kingdom kissed by love I
Dreamed had never sinned.

A patch of blue and sunlight streaming
Rainbows in its wake
Commingle with my midday dreaming,
Stirring me awake.

Too fleeting was the vision of a
Mystery unfurled
That lifted me on wings above a
Fragile, rainbowed world.

.

.

Insufferable Me

Insufferable me:
A royal pain,
A pebble in your shoe,
A total bother.

I’m sure that you’ll agree
That I am vain,
A patriarchal shrew,
And yet a loving father.

There’s part of me that’s flawed,
Consumed by sin,
A hypocrite and more,
A bad example.

But sometimes I’m like God,
Who welcomes in
And feeds the hungry poor—
My righteousness is ample!

It is as if there’s two
Of me inside.
One standing in the sun
And one in shadows.

A script I can’t undo,
My hands are tied.
And what is to be done?
The answer only God knows.

But there are others, too
(I’m not alone),
Who look a lot like me;
Birds of a feather.

I am, along with you,
God’s fallen clone.
And far as I can see,
We’re all in this together.

.

.

Allergies

An Anapest Dimeter Sonnet

Fresh breeze
__Birds sing,
__Bee’s knees,
__It’s spring
With al-
__Lergies
__I al-
__Ways sneeze,
But if
__And when
__I sniff
__Again.
I hope.
I’ll cope.

.

.

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 He has several hundred unpublished poems tucked away in drawers.


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30 Responses

  1. Allegra Silberstein

    I love your poems…your use of rhyme is great model for me…thank you…Allegra

    Reply
  2. Julian D. Woodruff

    The modulation of rhyme in the last stanzas of “Insufferable Me” is a great piece of work, James. I agree with Mr. Tessitore on “Allergies” (also very inventive formally), but aren’t those spenders (more or less) rather than anapests?

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Julian, My guess is that one of us is wrong or that both of us are right.

      Reply
      • Margaret Coats

        It looks to me as though both of you are partly right. An anapest has two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable, and with no three-syllable feet in “Allergies,” there are no anapests. James is wrong about anapests, but ultimately correct that “both of us are (partly) right.” A spondee is a foot of two stressed syllables, and this may be the case in the first four lines. Congratulations, James, I don’t recall ever seeing a spondaic quatrain! It is spondaic monometer, because there is only one foot per line. After that, though, the meter seems to collapse to iambic monometer. Thus Julian is also partly right (about spondees in the first quatrain), but this is not a poem in which every syllable is stressed, as it would have to be if all the lines were spondaic. And here I am, writing a comment that seems to be more in Peter Hartley’s style!

  3. Russel Winick

    James:
    All three of these poems were lovely to read. Insufferable Me particularly resonates here, in its portrayal of the combination of very good and not-so-good that’s inside many of us.

    Reply
  4. Peter Hartley

    James – You should write a book about metrics and prosody but I imagine you already have, together with your almighty tome on Millais’s illustrations for the novels of W M Thackeray and your book of music for the B flat crumhorn. The third one I like the best for it’s sheer economy of expression, the fact that you have managed to get an amusing story packed into just twenty-four words. I must apologise for the stray unpossessive apostrophe in my comment above. It is the default on this i pad which I am shortly going to disembowel.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Peter, Unfortunately, both books to which you refer are out of print because, as my publisher so tactfully put it, “After ten years not even one person was interested enough to buy either one.”

      Personally, of my three poems I like the first one because of its form, with the lines alternating between iamb/trochee, with the alternating 4/3/4/3-meter and with the second and third lines with feminine endings, several in unexpected ways. I’m not convinced that, as a poem, it is as successful as the other two but it is, in my mind,
      the most unusual.

      Reply
  5. Jeff Eardley

    Mr Tweedie, thanks for these three and for increasing my vocabulary (Commingle) by one. I was saddened to read about the lack of sales of your book on the Bb crumhorn. I wonder if there were books on crumhorns in other keys that sold better? In the early 70’s there was a short-lived English Renaissance rock band called Gryphon that featured the crumhorn. Their “Midnight Mushrumps” album is a must for any connoisseur of this delightful instrument.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Jeff, After Peter’s and my banter I wasn’t sure if you were serious about the Gryphon recording or not so I looked it up and sure enough, there was the crumhorn leading the way at the start! A well produced album, but the way, but, although long, repetitious, pretentious and tedious, it makes up for it by being clever and amusing (if one takes the time and effort to watch for it). I was also surprised to see that they were still at it with an impressive live concert in Islington in 2015. They appear to have found enough of a cultic fan base to keep them alive and still at it after all these years. Thanks for the shout.

      For others who may not know what it is, the crumhorn is similar to other double reed instruments of the Renaissance such as the the shawm (as Wikipedia puts it, “The shawm was reserved almost exclusively for outdoor performance—for softer, indoor music, other instruments such as the crumhorn . . . were preferred.”)

      Both were forebears of the oboe family, which overtook and replaced them during the Baroque period.

      The two books exist, of course, only in Peter’s imaginations– and now, in ours!

      Reply
      • Peter Hartley

        James – It seems that your good name has been misappropriated for possibly nefarious purposes. I have with my very own mince pies seen a copy of an instruction manual and servicing guide for the Bflat crumhorn with your moniker on the cover, remaindered in my local butcher’s. I myself have become, though I say it myself, a bit of a past master as a shawmier and arch-lutenist with the advantage of your mini-series of master guide books. One of my neighbours recently described my rendering of Colonel Bogey at 3.00am as “somewhat akin” (he said “somewhat akin”, not me; pretentious git) to that of a sawn-off set of bagpipes playing scordatura in an aircraft hangar. I told him I owe it all to JAT. And I have a pair of brand new shiny fipples to prove it. “Somewhat akin” he said. Would you Adam and Eve it???

      • Jeff Eardley

        Mr Tweedie, I should have learned by now to treat any comment by Mr. Hartley with a pinch, or perhaps a handful of salt. I am glad you enjoyed Gryphon. I saw them many times live in the 70’s and they were great fun. One member, Richard Harvey, went on to do great things. His collaborations with guitarist John Williams produced the sublime “Concerto Antico.”Thanks again for all your verse and your banter with Mr. Hartley which is worthy of a website of its own.

    • Cynthia Erlandson

      These musical comments are making me laugh out loud! (One just doesn’t hear too often about crumhorns….)

      Reply
  6. C.B. Anderson

    The first poem, James, was suitably dreamy, and I see what you have done: you have used a feminine ending in the iambic A-line to match up with the trochaic B-line to create a two-line sequence that could be scanned as one long continuous iambic line. I’ve done this myself a time or two, and I was not dissatisfied with the result, and neither should you be. This technique demands a bit of tolerant understanding on the part of the reader, but, really, that’s not a lot to ask if you remain steadfast in your established rhythm.

    The second poem rhymes quatrain to quatrain, which is done consistently throughout. Not a bad idea at all! The last lines of stanzas 1 & 2 don’t quite line up metrically, but I’m not sure there is a better solution than yours. But you have done this in all the other stanza pairs as well, so the pattern is preserved/conserved, and it would be hard to object to something so deliberately and systematically done.

    The third poem was an example of extreme compression, with words themselves enjambed on at least one occasion. That is a risky practice, but it is justified if the poem as a whole is worth reading, which, in this case, it was. However there wasn’t a single anapest in the whole damn thing, much less two per line.

    I like experiments of this sort, just so long as the experimenter knows his metrics and sticks to it relentlessly, which is what you’ve done.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      C. B. Your eagle eye has spotted things from afar that I had not noticed from up close! I am pleased that my intentions were recognized so precisely and doubly pleased that you found them to be successful. Of the three, the third is a one-off gimmick but the second flows so well that I believe it could and should be given a name (if it does not already have one) and be imitated.

      Reply
  7. James A. Tweedie

    Margaret,

    You are definitely correct re the monometer and I humbly submit to your exegetical parsing of sponsees, trochees and iambs. Perhaps, with editorial intervention, the poem could be re-subtitled simply, “A Monometer Sonnet” and leave it at that!

    As for Peter Hartley, I have found that he has been rubbing off on me as well. But he is far too good at being Peter Hartley for me to embarrass myself by attempting to imitate him in a public forum.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      In regard, James, to the second poem, I have read poems with long-range rhymes before, sometimes condensed into a single stanza eight lines long. It’s name, right now, is simply the most compact phrase that conveys an accurate description of the poem’s architecture. But I think you are looking for something more catchy. How about “Ditto?”

      Yes, I think simply “monometer,” without specifying any particular type of metrical foot, for the last poem, which is a gem.

      Reply
  8. Paul Freeman

    Allergies is phenomenal – and potentially an addictive form.

    Thanks for a trio of fine reads.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Paul, There is an interesting SCP back-story to my “phenomenal” sonnet. It was inspired by a passing comment from Evan Mantyk last July where, in the middle of a series of comments about someone’s sonnet, he wrote, “If it is 14 lines and uses some kind of formal meter, to me, it seems okay, though not ideal.”

      In a private response I wrote this sonnet as a “tongue-in-cheek” illustration in support of his broad consideration of what might be considered a sonnet.

      I don’t think I would have or could have written it apart from Evan’s unintended inspiration!

      Reply
  9. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    James, I love the playfulness of the end rhymes in “Midday Dreaming” and I also like “Insufferable Me”, but your sonnet has blown my metaphorical socks off and it makes me want to veer from the orthodox path myself.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Susan, with the cold weather you’ve been having I hope the “socks off” comment was metaphorical!

      Thanks for the affirmations.

      Reply
  10. BRIAN YAPKO

    Each one of these is a gem but I especially love Midday Dreaming, which I read as two lines of seven feet with perfectly calibrated internal rhymes, rather than as 4-3-4-3. It should be set to music.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Brian, the way I formatted it was to show off the internal pattern and in so doing I forced it into a 4-3 form. You are completely correct in saying that it reads as two lines of seven feet with internal rhymes. It is the feminine internal rhymes that make it a variant form. It reads poorly when the 4-3 form is stressed.

      Reply
  11. Yael

    All 3 poems are perfectly delightful, especially when read together with the comments while listening to Gryphon. Thanks to you all!

    Reply
  12. David Watt

    I enjoyed your three experimental, yet consistently entertaining poems. I think the form of “Insufferable Me” may prove to be more popular following your example.

    Reply
  13. Paul Hansford

    James, I commend you for your inventive compositions, but (sadly) don’t quite agree with the details in “Midday Dreaming.
    Lines 1-2. Separating “a” from the noun “cloud”, isn’t a good plan, and splitting “adoring” between lines 3-4 makes it even more difficult.
    Verse 4 – “Like a dove I” does indeed rhyme perfectly with “kissed by love I”, but separating “I” from the verbs again interrupts the flow.
    Verse 5 – The rhyming of “wake” with “awake” might raise a few eyebrows, but the meanings are different, so for me it’s quite OK.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Paul, I don’t disagree with you. (and, by the way, my decision to pair “wake” and “awake” was based on your own conclusion, which is that they are two completely different words with completely different meanings–something I would ordinarily try to avoid but, in this case, made an exception) And in your support what you have said, I will simply repeat my earlier response to Brian:

      Brian, the way I formatted (Midday Dreaming) was to show off the internal pattern and in so doing I forced it into a 4-3 form. You are completely correct in saying that it reads as two lines of seven feet with internal rhymes. It is the feminine internal rhymes that make it a variant form. It reads poorly when the 4-3 form is stressed.

      Reply
  14. Hall

    New to this platform. I enjoyed your music here and unique dialectic. You will be hearing from me again.

    Reply

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