It’s dogs and doggerel here at the Rover blog today in celebration of National Bad Poetry Day.
On this special occasion, we wax poetic on all things canine, featuring five of the most frequently abused poetry styles known to man or beast. We’re sure you’ll get a smile out of the questionable talent presented here.
Miriam Webster defines Doggerel as being “loosely styled and irregular in measure especially for burlesque or comic effect; also : marked by triviality or inferiority.” But to be honest, these humble couplets can be some of the most entertaining, thanks to the loose structural rules. Case in point: this amazing book of poetry:
An acrostic hardly seems like a poem at all, being simply a list of phrases or sentences where the first letter in each line spells out a word representing the theme of the whole. It doesn’t even have to rhyme–though it can. Advanced students of the form can also create the acrostic in the end of the word, or even somewhere random in the middle. It’s art, baby.
Baroo! Can you hear me? I hear you!
Ears so soft; button-eyed, too.
Always up to something.
Games or trouble hunting.
Looking for something requiring my digestation.
Every smell deserves my full investigation.
Don’t pretend you don’t know what this look means.
I‘m sitting here by the kitchen door for a reason, madame.
No, I don’t need a pee or a walk or a ball or a pat.
Nothing will satisfy me until I hear the rattle of kibble in my special dish.
Everything leading up to this point has prepared me for proper pleading.
Resistance is futile in the face of my patented puppy dog gaze.
This short poetic form is Japanese, but well-known here in the west. A haiku consists of three lines, with the first and last line being 5 syllables and the middle line consisting of 7. Traditionally, haiku are meant to be fleeting observations on nature, with a little twist or surprise in the end.
A limerick’s as easy as two rhyming couplets with a fifth line that rhymes with the first two in a sort of rhyme sandwich like so:
A limerick’s a heck of a thing
With a structure that’s easy to sing
Though the form’s a bit dated
And readers quite jaded
Why not go on and give it a fling!
A clever turn of phrase from Laetitia of Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours.
But it’s remarkably difficult to read one without rolling your eyes! Try these out and see if you can do it:
A toothless old dog from Japan
Had only tried fish from a can
She discovered that sushi
Was delectably mooshy
And required no blender or pan
There was a bad puppy named Strudel
Who’d do anything at all for a noodle
Once he snuck in the kitchen
When no one was snitchin’
And ran off with the kit and kaboodle!
Concrete or Shape poetry
Concrete poetry plays with the idea of laying out words in such a way as to inform the reader about the poem’s subject. Here is a bit of a cheat created with a web app that scans for tags in a website, and allows you to generate a tag cloud into any shape you like. We’ll call this “machine poetry.”
Create your own custom shape poetry / tag cloud with Tagxedo
This piece is from a lovely children’s book, and does a bang-up job of combining form and language into a compelling whole.
Emmett’s Ode To His Tennis Ball by Betsy Franco from the book ‘A Dazzling Display of Dogs‘
Top image source