Three Literary Smiles


Hemingway’s Oopsy

“Up in my room the rain was coming down
Heavily outside on the balcony.”
I didn’t know if I should smile or frown
At such a dissonant cacophony.

It’s in Farewell to Arms by Hemingway
Right at the start of Chapter Twenty-Two.
It never should have seen the light of day.
As grammar goes, it needed a review.

But Papa’s mangled prepositions all
Escaped what should have been a red-flagged doom.
Which left the novel’s heavy rain to fall
Both on the balcony and in the room.

Such unintended literary gaffes
Turn dross to gold each time a reader laughs.


War & Peace

The greatest novel ever written was
Count Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Because
The plot’s as thick and heavy as the book
It clearly would reward a second look.
But one time through was all that I could manage
Because its weight caused neck and shoulder damage.



At birth, J.R.R. Tolkien’s parents named him
John Ronald Reuel—names that fit him well.
He shortened them, but not because they shamed him,
Most likely, ‘cause they took too long to spell.
Few people know what J-R-R betoken,
Except for being aware they go with “Tolkien.”



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.

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12 Responses

  1. Phil S. Rogers

    I agree with JD; very clever, and I had a good laugh with War And Peace. Thank you

  2. Jeremiah Johnson

    On the Hemmingway poem – of course, as Cervantes put it, “Even Homer nodded” sometimes 🙂

  3. Jeff Eardley

    James, a most enjoyable chuckle today. I agree with you particularly on, “War and Peace.” I recall a Woody Allen spoof movie that I think was called “Love and Death” and a line that read something like, “Here I am, due to be executed at 9.30. It should have been 6.30 but I have a good lawyer who got me leniency.” Thanks for these superb literary observations.

  4. Roy E. Peterson

    All three made me laugh. More than that, the first gave me hope my own grammar gaffes may become legend and well regarded. Three fun reads.

  5. James A. Tweedie

    Thanks all for the thumbs up comments. It was all about the smiles, and a laugh or chuckle is a bonus .

  6. Paul Freeman

    Apparently it was no fun going on a country walk with Tolkien. He would stop at any interesting tree and ponder its shape and feel for an inordinate amount of time, no matter the weather.

  7. David Watt

    Thanks James for three highly entertaining poems. I especially enjoyed the perils of heavy reading, and your choice of rhyme with Tolkien.


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