Monday, February 23, 2009

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. You can also read something by an academic (c'mon, don't let that stop you). 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 comment about your macaronic verse and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. This was fun and I actually like my poem. (Though it may be song lyrics.)

    Carrying On Carrying On

    When life is a blevit of failure and grief
    We carry on carrying on.
    When life is so tres, even nothing’s relief,
    We carry on carrying on.

    When things of the future are things of the past,
    When death is before us and first is the last,
    When everything comes as a TNT blast,
    We carry on carrying on.

    When all the mananas are dwindling down,
    When slips on bananas are tattered and brown,
    When it’s too hard to smile and much simpler to frown
    We carry on carrying on.

    I’ll carry on you, if you’ll carry on me
    On a tres filled with sorrow, and crackers and brie.
    And the only thing tres-er is so tres jollie
    That we carry on carrying on.

  2. Oh heavens, Jane. That made me smile.

    Tricia, this is very tempting. I love your poetry stretches, but I hardly consider myself talented enough to pull them off. But, you know, I should write one with my four-year-old, who likes to make up words. And her imaginary friend, Rosie, has her own language, too. Maybe Rosie can join us.


  3. Wow, the Orff is macaronic? Huh. Interesting...

    I love how Jane can just whip them out! I really like the tres thing. (And now I want crackers and brie.)

    Jules, I'm not actually a poet, yet occasionally I wrestle through these. I don't always post them -- but I do try, and I am POSITIVE you can do it, too. The Poetry Princesses have made me a poet, seriously, by dint of getting the technical details down. It's doable. And Rosie sounds like great company.

  4. I should just leave a link and post this over at my own blog, but it's late, time for bed, so I'll just post my Stretch here. Great assignment this week!

    El Dia de la Wedding
    (for Fernando)

    We were just kiditos,
    babycitios, me
    in my wedding dress,
    you looking so Si,
    Senor! in that tuxedo
    and white tie, your hair
    jet black, your face blanco
    and your eyes scared. Muchacho,
    I loved you mucho (still do) but
    what was the hurry, me
    wet behind the ears, and you
    just this side of a wetback? How
    did we know what it meant, "I now
    pronounce you"? Did we think wishes
    were horses? Sure, we knew how
    to kiss in Spanglish. And maybe
    that was enough, baby mio,
    but for el love of God,
    que idiotas, riding roughshod
    over common sense, our day
    scented with orange blossoms,
    our parents praying for rain.

  5. Whosh--that is one fine love poem, Julie, whatever stretchy thing you just did.


  6. Jane, thanks - hmmmm - I thought I was doing a macaronic -- did I miss the mark? BTW: that word (macaronic) is really nice, isn't it? Sounds a bit like "moronic," which the poems definitely could be, and like "harmonic" - and also like Marconi - Nobel physicist whose discoveries led to the telegraph. My next poem is going to be "Macaronic with Cheese" - work in progress.

  7. Casa dia,
    one day with cheese,
    perhaps macaronic,
    smelling like old shoes,
    zapatals and sandals,
    ripe from walking in the sun.
    I like the blander, blender kind,
    but sometimes a soft brie
    blowing through the hair
    is just the thing to make the day
    a little bit cheesy.
    Am I crackers?


  8. Not sure how I managed to post as you, Julie---or as Danaus. Sorry.


  9. Jane - Are you going incognito? Thanks for letting us know this is your poem!

  10. Ah, Jane, that was great. Especially love "a soft brie blowing through the hair." Very cheesy, and how would we have fun if we weren't a bit crackers? Nice, nice.

  11. I have finally thought of a title for my second poem:

    Casa Dia: A Big Macaronic Poem

    So there.


  12. Too much fun. Here is mine:

  13. I have a lingua for lengua.
    I got a schwa for bar mitzvah.
    But not even I
    Can use mein old eye
    For decoding Joyce's Worte.

    (Note: Please visualize an umlaut over the "o" in "Worte." I didn't know how to put it in.)