Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Poetry Stretch - Macaronic Verse

The Handbook of Poetic Forms defines macaronic verse in this fashion.
Macaronic verse is a peculiar, rare and often comic form of poetry that sometimes borders on nonsense. It is a mixture of two (or more) languages in a poem, in which the poet usually subjects one language to the grammatical laws of another to make people laugh.
You can read more at Wikipedia and learn a bit about the history of this form. I was interested to note that the Carmina Burana (which I sang eons ago in high school) is a fine example of this.

So, your challenge for this week is to write a poem that uses more than one language. If you don't know another language, make one up. Pig Latin, anyone? Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Subject is Matter

    Subject is matter,
    And matter is verse.
    The one can be versatile,
    Or something worse.
    Verser and verser,
    Berserker we go
    Into the mental
    And magical flow.

    Floe is the answer,
    A berg of real choice,
    When verse is much better
    Than verbiage or noise.
    And so burgermeister
    Come sell me some rhymes
    That I can take with me
    In virtual times.

    ©2010 by Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

    By Steven Withrow

    Mother of merci
    and grazie mille
    and muchas gracias.

    Estranged relation
    of vielen dank
    and mange takk,
    among many others.

    You grace—you gratify
    my philologist’s heart
    with your Latinate

    Gratias tibi ago,
    Thank you so.

  3. Fairly sadistic, Tricia! Even though I'm bilingual... Here goes:


    I cannot make a telephone calle
    or cut the abundant grasa.
    I will not shoot the revolver
    or lift the heavy masa.
    I won't congratulate the champú
    or buy a movie pasa.
    Nor will I pet the cat's furia
    or polish up the brasa.
    Don't ask me to drink a cola
    or shelve books in a casa.
    And no matter how fast I can run,
    I'm not going to win the raza.

    —Kate Coombs, 2010, all rights reserved

    calle = street
    grasa = grease
    revolver = to turn
    masa = dough
    champú = shampoo
    pasa = he/she passes
    furia = fury
    brasa = live coal
    cola = tail (of an animal)
    casa = house
    raza = race, lineage
    ("No" is the same in Spanish and English.)

  4. I am trying to decide whether I like you anymore. Actually this was fun...once I stopped sticking pins into my Tricia voodoo doll.

    Econd-say Anguage-lay

    Igs-pay are riendly-fay.
    Igs-pay are mart-say.
    If you ike-lay igs-pay
    Ou'll-yay do our-yay art-pay
    to isten-lay ell-way
    to peak-say in wine-say.
    Irst-fay etter-lay ast-lay
    Add ay
    You'll e-bay ine-fay.

    (If is-thay is oo-tay
    ard-hay or-fay ou-yay,
    igs-pay peak-say
    Glish-enay oo-tay.)

    © Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

  5. Song in Macaroni

    Just south of Rigatoni
    is the city of Bologna
    and for a pocket full of pennes
    you can get into the fair.

    Where Ms. Elizabeth Rotini
    Signs her book on Ditalini
    Who painted Acini de Pepe
    with the long spaghetti hair.

    --Barbara J. Turner

  6. Not Lost In Translation
    By Liz Korba
    English can bee sew confusing.
    (How can “says” be said that way?!)
    I am walking. I am running. I am sading… (No? Can’t say?!)
    I walk slowly. I run quickly. I work hardly… (Not that way?!)
    Every rule we know gets broken. My pants ARE?! Shirt IS! (Ok…)
    You my teacher good and friendly. Gracias for help and tries.
    Here’s a card – “In Sympathy” – What?! It’s for when someone dies?!
    Read my note, then you will see…
    “Thanks for all you did to me.”