"The Troubadour" by Marcel Brunery‘Dactylic Proverbs’ by James A. Tweedie The Society May 4, 2021 Culture, Epigrams and Proverbs, Humor, Poetry, Poetry Forms 19 Comments . Set your priorities—don’t be uncouth—know the Secret to happiness lies in this truth: “Though the Sum of all things is a secret worth looking for, Perfect lasagna is something worth cooking for.” Take what you know, do a Ted Talk and teach on it. Don’t overdo it, present it, don’t preach on it. Happiness follows from love, so the sages say. Death and despair are the things that sin’s wages pay. Sleep in a casket, save time when you die in it. Foot in your mouth? Dig a hole and then lie in it. Never give up, keep a stiff upper lip and you’ll Overcome trials and rise above ridicule. Use to advantage your greatest ability; Anything less will result in futility. Hot tempered? Angry? Your temperature? Lower it! You didn’t get your way? Boo hoo! Get over it! Loving both neighbor and self is what you should do. Do unto others as you’d have them do to you. Dactylic verses can sometimes be comical. Unlike investments they’re un-economical. Small things like mustard seeds often grow big and tall. Without an acorn an oak tree won’t grow at all Sand castles, volleyball, something for everyone. Life is a beach, just lie down and enjoy the sun But keep in mind while your soaking up all that fun, Medium rare is far better than too well done! Over the Rainbow was Dorothy’s wistful song But in the end home was where she was all along. . . James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 19 Responses C.B. Anderson May 4, 2021 Words of wisdom to live by? Maybe. Words of humor to laugh by? Definitely. Some of your falling rhymes (e.g. know the/though the, lip and you’ll/ridicule & everyone/-joy the sun) have a satisfying lilt to them that reinforces the dactylic meter throughout. Perhaps these belong in the 32nd chapter of the Book of Proverbs. Reply James A. Tweedie May 4, 2021 C.B. I maybe wrong, but I believe this is the first time I have attempted extended dactylic verse with rhyme. The falling rhymes were one way to accomplish this. There are tricks to learn in doing new things. Although every proverb in the set has truth in it, it is possible, as you point out, to wrap serious matters in lightweight packaging! Reply C.B. Anderson May 4, 2021 Oh, James, there are plenty of tricks, but the falling rhymes are nearly inevitable when one is writing in dactylics. And as many great comics (George Carlin comes to mind) have discovered, there is nothing quite as funny as the truth, and there is no truth that can’t be made funny (with one or two exceptions). Good art need not be shy about playing to the crowd, because the crowd is, after all, the plenary assembly of all of us. Joseph S. Salemi May 4, 2021 These are really great. I wish more of us would do some writing in dactyls. It’s a wonderful exercise for strengthening one’s sense of meter. Reply James A. Tweedie May 4, 2021 Joseph, Thank you for your good word. I have been encouraged, corrected, and guided by your comments over the years and am a more knowledgable and skilled poet as a result. I look forward to what I will learn in future! Reply Cynthia Erlandson May 4, 2021 Very clever! I love the end-rhymes that span over multiple words. Is there an official name for those? Reply James A. Tweedie May 4, 2021 Cynthia, C.B. Calls them “falling rhymes” so that must be the name for them! Reply C.B. Anderson May 4, 2021 Falling rhymes, Cynthia, are just rhymes that occur on unstressed syllables, regardless of how many words are involved. Otherwise, as compilers of rhyming dictionaries put it, these are just three-syllable rhymes. Lignify/signify is an example of this. A skilled rhymer will employ the latter, or at least force the reader into pronouncing words in an unnatural way, which is part of the humor. No official name for this exists, as far as I know. Reply Yael May 4, 2021 Nice advice, I like the sound of it, sounds good to me. Reply James A. Tweedie May 4, 2021 Ty Yael. I hope I will be able to take my own advice Reply Julian D. Woodruff May 4, 2021 Great, Mr. Tweedie. So inventive! I’ll have to give those dactyls a try. (Though his aren’t quite dactyls, some of your “falling near-rhymes” remind me a bit of Tom Lehrer’s lyric in “National Brotherhood Week”: “It’s fun to eulogize / The people you despise …” Reply James A. Tweedie May 4, 2021 Julian, Ah, Tom Lehrer. We could use some real humor shot out in all directions in these dismal times. Lehrer was gently partisan but spared no one and no subject–not even National Brotherhood Week. Humor has descended into a dark hole since the days of TW3. Reply BRIAN YAPKO May 4, 2021 James, each one of these is a source of much pleasure. I am particularly partial to the satisfying rhymes in “Never give up, keep a stiff upper lip and you’ll/Overcome trials and rise above ridicule.” I also like the tongue-twisting of the “sages say”/”wages pay” verse. These gave me a smile this afternoon. Thank you. Reply James A. Tweedie May 4, 2021 Thank you, Brian. Each proverb was a challenge in its own way. It’s not often that I feel completely satisfied with a poem, but I do feel that way about these. That does not, however, preclude someone offering a suggestion for improvement! Reply David Watt May 5, 2021 Excellent poetry for a first go at it- Dactylic phrasing is right up your street. Pity the person who tries to surpass, Only to finally admit defeat. Reply James A. Tweedie May 5, 2021 David, Thank you, good David, for words most encouraging. Being a poet is often discouraging, Thinking of something to say and then saying it Is much like holding a banjo and playing it. “Pity the person who tries?” One can misconstrue “Practice makes perfect,” they say, and I know it’s true. If you can sing things like “My Country ’tis of Thee,” You can write rhyming dactylics the same as me. But you’re an Aussie, so “God Save the Queen’s” the phrase– Oh! I forgot! It’s “Australia Fair,” these days! Speaking of “Banjo” reminds me of Patterson, Who, using dactyls, wrote poetry just for fun.. In his “Bush Christening” dactyls are full in view. If he could do it, then others can do it, too! Reply David Watt May 9, 2021 Hello James, i’m a bit late responding to your tremendous response, having been away for a few days. Most of Banjo’s poetry really does provide the reader with a sense that he wrote with a smile on his face. “A Bush Christening” is a pretty good example, as is the iambic “Mulga Bill’s Bicycle”. David B. Gosselin May 6, 2021 These are interesting couplets and quatrains. I also like the idea of playing around with proverbs, writing both comical and philosophical ones. I myself have really enjoyed writing couplets, both rhyming and blank verse. They allow for dense, compelling and impressionistic lines. They also allow for a strong aphoristic quality, which makes them good for philosophical musings about beauty, life and nature. Though part of the charm of this poem is that it does have different voices with varying contemplative and comical degrees, I do think some of the lines maybe read as a bit tooo silly, like the line on lasagna or the one that says boo-hoo. But the poem overall has a strong imaginative freedom, which I really like. I think it’s still possible to perfect this poem James, but it really has a fresh and original quality. Good stuff! Reply James A. Tweedie May 6, 2021 Thank you, David. Nothing under heaven is perfect, of course, but one can be content and satisfied with something nonetheless. After all, if God was satisfied with “good” and “very good” in his acts of creation, I can be also (or as George Burns/God once said to John Denver, re avocados, “I made the pits too big.”) As far as the constituent parts, I never conceived of this as “a” poem, but as a collection of 21 separate couplets or quatrains several of which contain more than one proverbial reference. In this sense, there is no discontinuity between serious, formal or flippant since no such continuity was intended. Oddly enough, the “boo hoo” couplet is my favorite! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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