Poetry Friday: Three Poem Parrot-ies after Herrick, Coleridge, and Parker

Happy Poetry Friday!

The thing I love most about writing this blog is that I get to meet so many wonderful and kooky characters…that is, poets. The latest to join NWR is David L. Harrison, who will be on the blog in all his wacky glory on September 10 — and you won’t want to miss it, because that guy is funny.

As part of his interview, I asked David to write a couplet on the spot. Hijinks ensued, in the form of a flurry of couplets on David’s blog, followed by a call for poem parodies or, as Pat Lewis calls them, “Parrot-ies” or “First Lines, Bowdlerized.” All sorts of great people — David, Jane Yolen, Pat Lewis, Robyn Hood Black, Joyce Sidman, Julie Krantz, Steven Withrow, Vikram Madan, Marilyn Singer, Charles Ghigna, and more! — contributed witty and imaginative takes on classic poems, all of which you can find right here at David’s blog.

Perhaps it was the pure silliness of the endeavor or the unfettered glee of the participants, but this challenge pulled me from the depths of a poetic slump, and I had a ball!

Today I’m sharing the three parodies I contributed to the mix, and I encourage you to go check out the others as well. I’ve put the parodies and the originals side by side for your viewing pleasure.


Feel free to leave your ditties in the comments here or on David’s blog!

Then head over to Sylvia Vardell’s place for the rest of the Poetry Friday stew. Oh, and I received my copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology, a marvelous tome edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, which has been such a source of inspiration to me this past week. Hie thee to a bookstore!

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–by Renée, after Robert Herrick

GATHER ye mollusks while ye may,
Old Crust is off and sailing:
And this same sailor that sings today
Tomorrow will be paling.

The wondrous power of citrus, the lime—
The god of Vitamin C—
Stands ‘twixt him and his waning prime…
(Nearer my god to thee.)

‘Tis time to seize the plumpest fruit,
While youthful vigor reigns;
Before the fever, nasty brute,
Makes oatmeal out of brains.

So be not stupid, but slice those limes
Lest your health be topsy-turvy:
Eat key lime pie a hundred times
Or you may die of scurvy.

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–Robert Herrick

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying :
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer ;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry :
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.


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–by Renée, after Dorothy Parker

Parsley pains me;
tomato paste smears;
egg yolk stains me;
and onions cause tears.
Garlic is sticky;
beef, I can’t carve;
leeks are icky;
I might as well starve.

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–Dorothy Parker

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp;
           READ the rest here


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–by Renée, after Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Spaniards, Spaniards, everywhere
And yo no hablo a word;
Signing, signing in the air–
theater of the absurd.

The very pangs began: ¡Jesús!
With hunger was I fraught.
Yea, did I cry and throw myself
upon the paella pot.

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(Two stanzas)
–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Water, water, everywhere
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

          READ the whole poem 


I’m officially back on Monday with a new video poem about pie. See you then!

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  1. Renee, I’m smiling all over again at your wonderful, witty contributions to the fun on my blog. It’s all your fault for asking for a quick couplet as part of our interview. You just never know where a couplet will lead you!


  2. Amazing how the mind travels into strange tales once you get going. I just spent a great deal of time reading those wonderfully funny poems via your link, Renee. Thank you. You started something big, I think! I like all your poems, but the one I laughed most with is the ‘Gather ye mollusks while ye may/Old Crust is off and sailing.’ The end with ‘Eat key lime pie a hundred times’ is so funny. I never thought of key lime pie as a healthy habit, & now I will! Yum!

  3. This is the post of my dreams! Limes, consomme, paella! What total fun — splendid job on all three parrot-ies, Renee.

    MORE, MORE! cry the masses. 🙂

    1. You can believe I was thinking about you when I put this post together and discovered that each poem had to do with food! I hadn’t even realized it until I put up the images. Glad you enjoyed the feast.

  4. I’m so happy that this post showed up in my mailbox this morning-I needed a good chuckle before bracing myself to clean the house. Amazing as always, Renee, and I’ll be checking out David’s blog a bit later.

  5. I love all three of those but Consomme is my favorite. So funny.

    Whose sock these are I think I know
    Lying under the couch, also
    Under the chair, behind the door
    Heaped by the bed like drifting snow.

  6. Fun stuff, Renée. I’m glad your out of your poetic slump– just in time for back-to-school. Looking forward to more on NWR! Hope you had a great summer & thanks for the bday wishes, ma belle!

  7. These are great, Renee! I stumbled upon David’s blog post just this past week, so I hadn’t had the time to devote to writing one myself, although I probably will at some point just for the heck of it. You must’ve really be inspiried to write three so quickly!

  8. Terrific, Renee! My special favorite is your Dorothy Parker send-up. You make me want to give them a try — they seem like such fun 🙂

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