"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Poetry Bus will be leaving from Platform 7

In a moment of complete insanity, I volunteered to take the hallowed wheel of the exalted Poetry Bus for one week only. When I think of all the great drivers who have turned this great wheel in the past, I am filled with unworthiness and feel the urgent need to pretend to have fallen out of bed and to have become concussed
However, I shall be a brave little soldier and am currently checking the controls because it doesn't look a bit like the vans I drive in work. There are three prompts and I will permit boarding from Friday, even though we will officially pulling off next Monday. Please leave your link in the comments below and I will post them up in a new post.
1) Next week is one of the most important dates in the Roman Catholic calendar - Pancake Tuesday, named after the venerable St. Pancake. In homage to, or indeed, perhaps, in vilification of, the humle pancake, I would like you to compose an ode to the pancake (wait for it, Professor) in the persona of a poet of your choice. Please make sure you mention the name of the poet you are satirising, for the benefit of narrowly-read people like me.
2) Last week's prompt ellicited a wonderful poem from Emerging Writer, containing a number of images that I am finding hard to shake. I would like you to take your cue from Kate and write a poem on Stupid Things Done When Drunk. Or it may be just one stupid thing. Just bare your souls, your consciences and ...whatever...
3) In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The above poem, written about some farmer called Flanders (Ned?) is probably the best known example of a French rondeau. Please note the rhyming scheme and the fact that there are only two rhymes (hint - choose your end words carefully, its very hard to get 5 words to rhyme with penguin) Also note that the first half line is repeated in lines 9 and 15.

Your task, ladies and gentlemen is to write a rondeau.


  1. I have started to sweat just thinking about it.

  2. Ooh, my head is hurting and my cheeks are burning just thinking about number 2. I was an aggressive drunk.
    So, the rondeau for me! Oranges, anyone?

  3. I'm having a thunk - beyond that, I promise nothing. It's a wow of a challenge, I'll say that for it.

  4. OMG, you have made this a difficult decision-making exercise, dear Peter. I am one of those philosophical singing drunks and am ever so grateful for the benevolent works of St. Pancake, but a French rondeau challenge... Hmm.... maybe a combo plate is on its way from the 'kitchen.'

  5. Perhaps you can combine all three...
    (Can I use last week's poem as my ticket?)

  6. difficult ones, but interesting, looking forward to the results

  7. At first I thought, Ooh yes! Lovely pancakes; I can do that (in the style of...). Then you tantalize me with the option of a soul-baring drunkard's poem and THEN one of my favourite forms, the rondeau is offered up as an option. What to do? What to do?

    Maybe a rondeau about pancakes, in the style of a drunken poet? I'll have a think and get back to you.


  8. (I can feel the wheels starting to crank up already.)

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I put the wrong link in.
    Here's the right one:


  11. Oh I feel some drunk revelations willing themselves onto the page! Are the drunken tickets going to get seats at the back?

  12. Kate, forget it, your ticket is date-stamped! Many thanks all, combination tickets always accepted. Yes, Socks, happy drunks down the back, singing rugby songs.

  13. I took the suggestion of #2
    Now boarding- put the link wherever you would;
    I feel hungover from reliving the scene!

  14. Thanks Izzy! If you buy a second ticket, they become four!

  15. I'm on board/aboard?Either way it nearly killed me, but that's a really, really good thing.

  16. Interesting example of how history repeats itself, first time round as Tragedy (WW2), second time riund as Farce (Choosing and making fun of this poem as a prompt for the Bus.) Read the history of how it came to be written. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  17. Doctor FTSE. It was actually WW1 and I visited the poet's grave last year in Flanders which is why it is so close to my mind. First of all, I see absolutely nothing wrong in choosing this poem as a prompt, as I am only giving an example of the form. Secondly, I had hoped that the remarks about Flanders would have been seen as humour directed towards myself for being so obviously stupid, rather than a comment on the obvious tragic subject of the poem itself.
    It appears I was wrong.

  18. Hi Peter, on the bus at last, http://120socks.blogspot.com/2011/03/poetry-bus-poem-forget-about-beer.html

  19. Well, I couldn't do it for the Bus, but I did it for the Magpie. In case you're interested - here's my rondeau - it was HARD!


  20. P.S. Doctor FTSE is a piece of work. Really.

    (I said something saltier & then rethought myself)

  21. Hello,
    Found the Bus on 120 Socks site. Could I jump on for this week? I've composed a little poem about pancakes (sort of) in the stylings of Dorothy Parker (what fresh hell is this?!!) Here is my link:http://lolamousedroppings.blogspot.com/2011/03/pancakes-every-sunday.html