The High Cost of Low Prices

Poetry is what I treasure.
Books of poems give me pleasure,
but my grief’s been hard to measure,
since I did some shopping.

“50 Famous Poems”—nifty!
Now on sale for just $ 2.50.
I should revel, since I’m thrifty,
but my mood is dropping.

When great works cost just a nickel,
paying patrons will be fickle.
My career is in a pickle.
Bargains—I resent them.

I had hoped to be excelling,
penning rhymes that are compelling.
Now I fear they won’t be selling.
Maybe I can rent them.

There’ll be many poets frowning
when their verbing and their nouning
must compete with those of Browning.
They will learn their rhymes’ worth.

Dreaming large is sweet as honey.
Now my outlook’s bleak, not sunny.
Write two poems for the money.
You might have a dime’s worth.

Looks like I’ll be compromising.
Go ahead, be patronizing.
I will work in advertising:
spams and Twitter spamlets.

There is just one consolation.
Poets can seek validation
through a laureate nomination
in their humble hamlets.



Mark F. Stone grew up near Seattle, Washington. After graduating from Brandeis University and Stanford Law School, he worked as an attorney for the United States Air Force for 33 years.  He is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and a retired GS-15 in the Federal civil service. His poems have been published by SCP, Light, and the Ohio Poetry Association.  He currently serves as the Club Poet of his local Republican club.  He lives in central Ohio.

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18 Responses

  1. Anna J Arredondo

    An entertaining depiction of the poet’s plight, with a merry meter and rhyme scheme. I particularly like “rhyme’s worth” and “dime’s worth.”

    • Mark F. Stone

      Anna, I thought I should give trochaic meter a try. I’m glad you like the poem. Mark

  2. James Sale

    Amusing, witty and some very fun rhymes, Mark – overall, excellent!!! Of course, whilst it’s difficult to make money from poetry, as Joe rightly suggests, the qualifier is ‘real’ poetry; it’s not so difficult to make money from non-poetry posing as poetry. Heck, go on Instagram and see the manufacture of the ersatz and the synthetic and the troubled fools who follow and buy it!

  3. David Watt

    Highly entertaining Mark, and your frowning/nouning/Browning rhyme is wonderful.

  4. Jeff Eardley

    Most entertaining Mark and so true. To not make any money out of poetry means that we do it because we love it, and that is priceless.

  5. Talbot

    The “spamlets”/”hamlets” coupling brought a smile to my face. Thanks for the witty-and-sobering poem.

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Mark, I love this toe-tapping trochaic triumph of a poem – it spells out a poet’s worth (as far as the bargain bookshelf is concerned) humorously and beautifully. Just know that if smiles were currency – you would be a rich man, Mr. Stone. Thank you for the joy your poems bring.


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