Split a line from a nursery rhyme and use the halves to open and close a poem. Post yours in the comments section below. This challenge comes from Joe Tessitore, who offers the below two examples:


“The Farmer in the Dell”

The farmer
Raised a tower for his bell
With tools of power, he built well.
Now on the hour, hear its knell
In field and bower,
In the dell.


“Mary Had a Little Lamb”

Mary had
A dinner party
And her menu, it was hearty.
For the kids, a can of Spam
And for Grandpa,
A little lamb.



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CODEC Stories:

69 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    Jack and Jill
    their bucket fill
    with earth, they’re tired and feeling ill.
    The chieftain ‘s barrow empties still,
    each time the curious children will
    run up the hill.

  2. Sandi Christie

    Twinkle, twinkle,
    There’s a wrinkle
    ‘Round my eyes, the lines do mar.
    Twinkle, twinkle, it’s a crinkle
    Shaped just like a
    Little star.

  3. Cynthia Erlandson

    ‘Twas brillig, and
    The gimbling band
    Of Bandersnatches
    Made their catches
    In the burbling borogoves
    Where Jubjub loves
    The slithy toves.

    • Daniel Kemper

      I liked the choice the best, though the execution is great as well. It reminded me that I’ve seen translations into French and German of Jabberwocky, which kind of blew my mind. How do you translate nonsense?

    • Patricia Redfern

      Absolutlely a trophy for this..you gave me my first smile of the day. I love the original, as well.


      Thank you, Cynthia

  4. Paul Freeman

    Peter Peeper
    was a loser,
    druggy and a constant boozer;
    mum and dad said he must choose a
    job like architect, or muse or
    chimney sweeper.

    • Patricia Redfern


      This is so well done. You have me laughing.!
      For that, I am utterly appreciative?


  5. Carol Connell

    The itsy bitsy spider
    fell in the roofer’s cider,
    and promptly was
    dumped out.
    Wee arachnid brilliant
    was quite resilient,
    went up the waterspout.

  6. Lucia Haase

    Mary mary,
    quite the fairy
    found the forest very scary…
    always watching, always wary.
    So she took the nearest ferry
    where she found the grassy prairie
    quite contrary.

  7. Will

    There was an old woman who
    very well knew
    the rent on her condo was
    long overdue,
    and children she had in that
    humble abode
    were more than allowed by her
    contract and code.
    Evict me she said, after
    all I’ve been through,
    it couldn’t get worse if I
    lived in a shoe.

  8. James A. Tweedie

    Three blind mice
    (But why? Who knows?)
    Thought it nice
    To chew on panty hose.
    I think it wouldn’t
    Be much fun
    Because they couldn’t
    See how they run.

  9. Carol Connell

    Little boy blue
    whined, “There’s nothing to do!”
    He was feeling rather forlorn.
    Music practice he shirked.
    His mother was irked,
    thus she bellowed,
    “Come blow your horn!”

  10. Jeff Eardley

    The Grand Old Duke of York,
    Prince Andrew, so it’s said,
    Had a meeting with Jeff Epstein,
    When he should have stayed in bed.
    The English Queen was not amused,
    Sat there in her Golden Crown,
    When she heard about his trousers,
    They were neither up nor down.

  11. Joseph S. Salemi

    Jack, be nimble
    With that fuse —
    A long one is the type to use.
    If it’s long, it does the trick.
    If it’s short, well…
    Jack, be quick.

  12. Roy E. Peterson

    Hey diddle, diddle
    Begins the riddle
    Of what is that screeching sound?
    They looked around
    And then they found
    The cat in the fiddle.

  13. Will

    Jack Sprat
    beneath his hat
    knew the good that lean begat.
    His protein diet strictly met
    had kept him well with one regret —
    forever tasting as he sat
    remorse that he
    could eat no fat.

  14. Paul Freeman

    Sing a song of ‘sixpence’,
    which also was a ‘tanner’
    half of which was ‘thruppence’,
    nut-shaped for a spanner.
    Two sixpences, they made a ‘shilling’,
    twelve of them a ‘pound’
    the smallest note of England’s realm
    that at that time was found.
    Two shillings was a ‘florin’,
    A ‘ha’p’ny’, half a p;
    then ‘tuppence’ was two pennies,
    not a real coin you see.
    Now getting back to sixpences
    they were a common thing,
    whilst sovereigns, made of gold, were fit
    to set before a king.

  15. Carol Connell

    There was a crooked man
    at least in my opinion,
    who sought to rule a nation
    through pure fraud and dominion.

    With the backing of the CCP
    plus his own clandestine style,
    waltzed his way to Capitol Hill
    and he went a crooked mile.

    *I promise this is my last one. Although I’m not a member here, I thank you for the opportunity to participate here. It was challenging and fun.

      • Carol Connell

        Mr. Tessitore, I am humbled by your boldness. I will prayerfully consider it. Thank you!

  16. Joe Tessitore

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
    In winter and before he knew it
    His ass froze to it!
    Spring was a bummer
    And so was his summer
    Till it thawed and
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

  17. Sandi Christie

    There was an old lady who needed a mate
    So her friends set her up and she went on a date.
    The man’s name was Peter, a picker by trade
    Of peppers, potatoes, and other nightshades.
    The man whispered gently, do tell, is it true?
    I heard you were poor, and you lived in a shoe.
    Oh no, no, not I, did the woman deny,
    I’m just the lady who swallowed a fly.

      • Sandi Christie

        Thank you Joe, and thank you for suggesting this challenge. It was very fun to participate in, and even more fun to read all of the great, witty responses that come from all of the talented people on this platform.

  18. David Watt

    Mary, Mary, she was hairy
    As a man whose whiskers grow.
    So with gels and sharpened shells
    She cut them down all in a row.

  19. Joseph S. Salemi

    This is not exactly according to Joe T’s plan, but I couldn’t resist it:

    There was a crooked man
    And he really was a louse.
    He ran a rigged casino
    With card-sharps like his spouse.
    Alas, they did not prosper
    (Rhyme here with “blouse” or “douse”)
    Since gamblers would not bet against
    A little crooked house.

  20. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Hickory Dick
    let’s make it quick –
    all done in the tick
    of a tock!

    You won’t cure the sick
    with a needle that thick!
    Is this shot compuls-
    ory Doc?

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Joe S., I didn’t even know I had indulged in tmesis, and it wasn’t remotely painful! Thank you for my new word of the day… I love it! Absobloodylutely marvelous!

  21. Mike Bryant

    Hey diddle, diddle…
    Doctor Lock knew a barman called Dick.
    Dickey hit drinks with almond, a flick.
    The Doc liked the slick, tasty trick,
    So he ordered Dick’s almond-flick kick.
    Now the Doctor showed up every night
    Because Dick made his favorite just right.
    But one evening Dick changed up Doc’s pick.
    He had run out of Doc’s almond stock.
    Doc sniffed, “Almond Daiquiri, Dick?”
    Dick quipped, “Hickory Daiquiri, Doc.”
    The mouse ran up the clock.

    • Joe Tessitore

      Holy cow (that didn’t jump over the moon) – is that good!!!

      Bravo, Mike!

      • Mike Bryant

        Thanks, Joe, but I didn’t exactly follow the rules. 🙂

      • Joe Tessitore

        I don’t know exactly how to say it, Mike, but that seems to be in the rules and out of the rulers, maybe beyond the rules?

        In any event, some of the best writing I’ve ever read!

  22. Denniw

    With tools of power
    He forged a people
    Man’s red flower?
    Please, it pails under the steeple
    As a speaker with no equal
    Tells a tale to torment
    A sermon of hell
    Ode to fear and all its ferment
    With tools of power
    He built well

  23. Ryan Watch

    Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
    I baked a bread as best as I can.
    I rolled it, and beat it, and messed up with the yeast
    And put it in the oven for Baby and me.

  24. Ryan Watch

    Rain Rain go away,
    COVID COVID stay away.
    Little Arthur wants to play.

  25. Ryan Watch

    Ring-a-round the rosie,
    The air is full of CO-vies
    Achoo! Achoo!
    We all fall down.

    Here I go again writing another nursery rhyme about the pandemic!
    (Ha-ha. I can’t seem to stop myself though.)

      • Ryan Watch

        Thank you Mr. Tessitore! That just came out of my head while writing. This challenge is a brain teaser and witty at the same time.

    • Joe Tessitore

      Ring around the rosie.
      The air is free of CO-vie.
      Batflu, Batflu,
      Fauci’s a clown.

      • Mike Bryant

        Another brilliant rule breaker! Some rules just beg to be broken.

  26. David Watt

    Georgie porgie, pudding and pie,
    Kept growing fatter, and didn’t know why.
    Could it be pudding and pie every day
    Or his penchant for a takeaway?

  27. Maurice DeLivre

    Here we come gathering nuts in May,
    writing poems, poems in May.

    Here we come composing rhymes in May,
    on a warm and balmy day.

    “What is the theme for our rhymes today?”
    “We’ll have COVID for our theme today!”

    We’ll send doctors to fetch COVID away,
    fetch COVID away, fetch COVID away.

    We’ll send nurses to fetch COVID away,
    on a cold and frosty morning.
    Eenie, meenie, minie, moe,
    Catch the tyrant by election rows.
    If he wins then hear him say:
    “I’ll make it great, the USA!”

  28. Talbot Hook

    Baa, baa, black sheep,
    I’m in a state of mourning;
    The haberdasher ‘s lost my veil,
    The clothier’s are all too pale,
    And the funeral’s down in Corning.
    I’m at a loss and feeling frail,
    My head with worries full,
    So I’ve come to you with hope of sale:
    Have you any wool?

  29. Talbot

    Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie,
    Though highly pleasing to the eye,
    Had a strange diet,
    That caused ladies disquiet
    (For a regime of parfait
    Causes oral decay);
    His parents were lost
    (And the gals tempest-tossed)
    By a charge that he’d always deny:
    That he’d kissed the girls and made them cry.

  30. Ryan Watch

    “Will you walk into my parlour?” said the COVID to a guy;
    “I’m the nastiest little virus that ever you did spy.
    I’ll come in your parlour then you’ll catch me (yes, you’ll do!)
    And I’ll do many ghastly things, even fouler than the flu.”
    “Oh no, no!” said the cautious guy, “I won’t catch you like other men,
    For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

    This is my third poem about the COVID pandemic, only this time it’s taken from Mary Howitt’s poem “The Spider and the Fly.” In the opening line I’ve replaced the word “spider” with the word “COVID” and the word “fly” with “guy” to create a comedic effect on the entire poem.

  31. Ryan Watch

    Oranges and lemons,
    Says the doctor quite clement.

    Stay healthy and clean,
    Says the makers of vaccines.

    If you want a cure, pay me money then
    Says the vaccine business men.

    You must wear a mask,
    ‘Tis not a toilsome task!

    Then you’ll be safe from the CO-vie,
    Says the stern CDC.

    And as you happily saunter to bed,
    The COVID advances her dread widespread
    Cough cough sneeze sneeze some poor man is dead!

    Good gravy! This is my fourth poem about the COVID pandemic and I have no idea when I’ll stop writing about it! Like the previous poem, I altered the words of the last line to make the rhyme more comic.

  32. Mia

    The lion and the unicorn
    Were fighting for the crown
    The lion said to the unicorn
    Get out of town!
    So scorned he took his wife and horn
    To the land where the sun never sets,
    Where they dined and whined
    On their troubles and strife
    But could not agree on white bread or brown
    And sadly took to prattling for their sorrows to drown,
    Until all were fatigued with the impudent clowns
    And drummed them out of town.

    (To post or not to post,
    I hope you don’t drum me out of here..
    I love this site and all the glorious poems)

    • Gail

      At least you’re a poet. If they drum you out of here, you’re welcome to join me in the peanut gallery.

      • Mia

        Apologies for my unfunny joke. Everyone is much too nice to drum anyone out. It is me feeling guilty as I keep posting and I am not a member.
        But Thank you Gail for saying I’m a poet.

  33. J. Starkey O'Fallon, Missouri 63366

    Long Lives King Physics

    An egghead? Humpty Dumpty? Not at all–
    At least not by the law of dropping dead
    Since any downfall from a wall too tall
    Shall crack an egg or whack an egg yolk head
    When Gravity his countless gravy bits
    Commands in every bowl within the skies
    To shell each eggy bit in one big blitz
    Until a hardboiled matter plops and fries
    While yet in sync the king at once compels
    His saucy bits outnumbered in the earth
    Charge up against his untold gravy shells
    To proudly save intact an egg white girth–
    And all the horses still with all the men
    Eggs Benedict put not back in the hen.

  34. Emma J Nokes

    The Wheels on the Bus
    are turning
    we spot the things they pass
    landmarks we’re observing
    as the people
    walk en masse

    London town
    is glowing
    with sights and smells and sound
    and the bus we’re on keeps going
    as the wheels
    go round and round

  35. Patricia Redfern

    Ding Dong Bell.
    Nations not feeing well?
    Get shots of endless boosters!
    You will crow and be a sick rooster.
    Calling for death of those who don’t!
    Their choice stolen, by Mandate, the
    Power Goat!

  36. Morrison Handley-Schachler

    Little Miss Muffet
    Has told me to stuff it,
    ‘Cause Jack is a much better find:
    His life is not stressful;
    He’s rich and successful,
    Intelligent, handsome and kind.

    She’s packing her boxes.
    The trunk with her socks is
    Already locked up in her car.
    She’s slamming the door that
    Leads out to make sure that
    It isn’t left somehow ajar.

    Well, after I’d blubbered,
    I went to the cupboard
    To look for a crateful of ale
    But I only found dairy
    Leftovers and scary
    Green broccoli, cabbage and kale.

    I’m not making dinner
    For just one poor sinner.
    It’s dairy leftovers today.
    I’m going to rough it,
    Sat on a tuffet,
    Eating her curds and whey.

    (A break up from years ago, I should add, nothing to do with my present relationship)

  37. Jane Schulert

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Thinks Charon callously.
    Poor damned souls did not know
    Life is but a dream.


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