NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-Eight

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem using Skeltonic verse. Don’t worry, there are no skeletons involved. Rather, Skeltonic verse gets its name from John Skelton, a fifteenth-century English poet who pioneered the use of short stanzas with irregular meter, but two strong stresses per line (otherwise know as “dipodic” or “two-footed” verse). The lines rhyme, but there’s not a rhyme scheme per se. The poet simply rhymes against one word until he or she gets bored and moves on to another.


Doctor Knowall
took a trowel
to the bowel
of Mrs. Powell:
“You’re full, you see,
of shit and pea-
nuts in the braintree.”
“That I get,
the trowel is met,
but why the net,
whip, and machete?
On a safari
in my colon-scree?
Expect a lion
in my intestine?
Fear an adder
Under my gallbladder?”
Doctor Knowall
said, “Let me show all
those who doubt
I’ll ferret out
a speckled trout,
a chicken with gout,
or an eagle scout
on a walkabout,
for in midlife
a mad housewife
is full of wildlife
grown from her strife.”
And so he cut
deep in her gut
when out of her bile
a crocodile
jumped from her glands
scattered bedpans
and bit off his hands.
“Well doc,” she said,
“Though you’re now dead,
get it thru your thick head,
Heav’n has no to-do
like love turned blue
Nor Hell a voodoo
like a woman who’s a zoo.

by m.j.smith


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