Thursday, January 24, 2008

Poetry Stretch Results - Macaronic Verse

This week's challenge was to write macaronic verse, a poetic form that uses more than one language. Folks really seemed to have fun with this one. Here's what we have so far.
Fiona Bayrock wrote a tasty verse entitled Lasagna, But Do You Love Me?

just paisley gives us a meditation on a photo, in English, English and Spanish, and back to English again. Do read the three versions of Sepia and weigh in on your favorite.

The Crafty Green Poet at Over Forty Shades (of green) gives us a verse entitled Untranslateable.

cloudscome at a wrung sponge also wrote from a photo, then replaced all the nouns with words from a made up language. Now if only someone would read it aloud!

Over at Things that make me say..., daisybug gives us Sub Ubi. That's underwear for you non-Latin types.

sister AE at Having Writ gives us a song and lesson in Yiddish with her verse Oy Vey, Tateh!

Sandy at Sensual Senryu has written a senryu in macaronic verse.
While thinking about this challenge I experimented with Latin (5 years in high school and college) and Yiddish (thanks to the very funny Yiddish with Dick and Jane and the head full of words my Jewish friends have taught me). However, I just couldn't get away from the snippets of various languages that are rattling around in my brain. Here's my verse.
The Necessary Linguist
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
Shall I un, deux, trois or
uno, dos, tres?

I can raise my glass
and offer a toast,
with sláinte or yasas,
gan bei or prost!

Traveling abroad
I say hello,
with Merhaba, Ni hao,
Shalom and Jambo.

I can please and thank you
in languages ten,
but I must beg forgiveness
again and again.

I'm a necessary linguist,
for I speak only English,
though I hope to know more
one day.
It's not too late if you still want to play. Read the rules and then leave me a comment about your verse. I'll add it to the others here.


  1. Ah, Tricia, I enjoyed reading the results of this challenge so much! I didn't take it up, myself---yet. But I will. Soon. It's too much fun to pass up.

    And you are both a necessary linguist and a very necessary source of inspiration.

  2. It's funny how all the snippets of languages I know jumble up in my head. If I start counting in one I suddenly code switch to another. Sometimes I forget which language I started in. It's not all that helpful but it amuses me. Your poem is clever and funny.

  3. I agree with cloudscome -- my students had Spanish class first trimester, and when they asked me questions in Spanish, my brain would formulate an answer in German!

  4. I enjoyed your poem very much. i also have similar issues with languages as do cloudscome and mary lee - i can't count in any language other than English and i often valiantly start out in French only to end up in Italian.