Poetry Monday: “The Bitter Snits”

So a few weeks ago I was sitting in chorus rehearsal, and it wasn’t going well. I won’t name names, but a certain section comprised of males with very low voices just. wasn’t. getting it, and this for a song we’ve been singing for two years. Now, I know that the choristers are hobbyists and practically none of them read music and most of them have seen the better part of a century, and I know that we always get it together and do well at concerts…but still, it drives me bonkers.

What’s ironic about this is that, for just about my whole life, singing has been the one little miracle that can turn a bad mood around for me. There’s just no case of the grouchies that a good outburst of show tunes can’t cure.

And yet there I sit twice a week, almost invariably having at least one fit of pique per rehearsal. It’s come to the point that when bad stuff starts going down, the other sopranos start looking at me askance, fanning the air to rid it of the steam coming out of my ears.

Pretend these sheep are the soprano section. Guess which one is me.
Sheep in a snit
For the love of Pete, just SING. IT.

On this particular night, however, I decided to channel my temper flare-up into something constructive. Eschewing the usual eye rolling and heavy sighs, I flipped over my sheet music and started furiously scribbling a poem called “The Bitter Snits,” patting myself on the back for such an awesome title. Unfortunately, the poem was beyond awful, which did nothing to improve my mood. So I doodled a man in a sailboat about to get chomped by a shark instead.

Anyway, that title stuck with me, and the poem that goes with it finally showed up a couple days ago. Good thing, too, because I was getting pretty huffy about it! So you better enjoy “The Bitter Snits” now, you hear?

The Bitter Snits

When you hunker in a sulk,
and you slouch and you skulk
like a heaving, huffing hulk
of mad

That’s when the Bitter Snits
slither in and steal your wits–
oh, my dear, I will admit it’s

A Bitter Snit’s a wormy thing,
a niggling, wriggling, squirmy thing
that plants a nagging germy thing
deep inside your brain.

And then you start the sniveling,
your surly head goes swiveling,
your common sense starts shriveling —
oh, it’s inhumane.

If you blubber, if you bawl,
beat your hands against the wall,
Bitter Snits will come to call,
it’s plain.

So when your temper’s on the fritz
and you sink down in the pits
of your snicky-icky fits
of mope

Just remember that a smile
for a Snit is something vile
and if you do it for a while…
there’s hope.

[heading style=”1″]Just for Fun: Anger Expressions[/heading]

Writing this poem made me think of all the fun ways we have to express anger and being angry. Here are my top five favorites and a whole bunch more:

get my knickers in a twist
in a snit
fit of pique
sticks in my craw
get my dander/hackles up
gets me steamed up
ruffled feathers
makes my blood boil
hot under the collar
go on the warpath
bristle with rage
gets on my nerves
have a bad hair day
fly off the handle
have a cow/conniption fit
bent out of shape
give a piece of my mind
burst a blood vessel
blow a gasket/fuse/my top/my stack
hit the roof
stare daggers at
ticked/teed off
drives me bonkers/crazy/up the wall
foam at the mouth
go off the deep end/through the roof/ballistic
rant and rave
see red
jump down my throat
had it up to here
be up in arms
have a bone to pick
fit to be tied
gets my goat
spit rivets

And here’s one in Italian:
avere un diavolo per capello = to have a devil in the place of each hair (that’s really mad!)

 Is your favorite on here?

[heading style=”1″]Extension Activities for “The Bitter Snits”[/heading]


Video Location: Bitter Bluster Road, Snitsville, Italy.

See more poems in my poetry video library.
“The Bitter Snits” copyright © 2012 Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved. 

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  1. I love your description of chorus rehearsal and your picture of the black sheep! And the poem is wonderful – worth waiting for, don’t you think? Great list of mad – and I have been known to say, “That really ticks me off!” – but anger’s not really my thing 🙂

  2. Renee, this is priceless. I can just hear the low grumbling, under the singing of course. I love the list too, & I have another, maybe it’s from my grandmother or someone of the early 20th century. She used to tell me not to have “a hissy fit”. And I think I’ve heard, or read, someone say “don’t get your underwear in a knot”. Hm-m! Don’t get that one exactly. Thanks for a good, good laugh today!

    1. Well, Linda, I am ashamed to say that sometimes the grumbling ain’t so low. 😉 An “Don’t get your underwear in a knot” is the Americanized version of the British “Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” which is my personal favorite.

      And yes — hissy fit!! I remember that one from high school.

  3. Brilliant poem, Renee! Such snippy, snappy sounds and I love the format! I laughed at your description of the chorus. When I sang in a chorus a few years back, the director was always saying to us, “sopranos, you need to back off!” (but he was referring to our volume-not attitudes :-))

    P.S. I am re-subscribing as I am not getting your posts via e-mail.

  4. Wow, Renee! Didn’t know we had so many expressions for anger! This is an appropriate poem as I have 2 kids on summer break now who are already mad at each other!

  5. OH! Renée, you made me smile despite myself! You’re poem is the cure to the common bitter snits. Thank you! And your list is great; my faves are there: blow a gasket and fit to be tied. That’s me! 🙂

  6. Oh that little black wooly chorus has a right snitty attitude! This is so a phrase and adjective I am not going to use.

    ‘If you plan on having the bitter snits all day, you can stay in your room.”
    This is darn funny and I love the poetic format you have chosen!

    Of course I never, nope, not once have had a snick-icky fit of mope! (NOT!)

  7. You had me laughing at your description of the choir practice! I’m a stickler for singing, too. When we were growing up, my sisters and I cleaned cabins at my grandparents resort and we sang hymns as we cleaned. To this day, my sisters still give me a hard time for making them start over-at the very beginning-each time they messed up one little word, or one little note! Perfection is what I was looking for!!!!

    Wonderful poem! I will be glad to add the “bitter snits” to my descriptions of MAD! And I do tell my husband not to get his boxers in a bundle.

  8. HA HA HA! I love the poem and your ture story!
    Poor, poor black sheep, have you any calm? No sir, no sir, I feel like a bomb.

  9. Great poem Renee! The “BITTER SNITS” sounds very Roald Dahl-ish.
    Loved the rhyming pattern too!

    I think my favorite expression would be “bent out of shape”. I like the visual that comes along with that one.

  10. Oh, you’re a soprano. That explains so much. 😉 This from a bari/tenor married to an alto.

    Love the poem, and Eric is spot-on with the Roald Dahl comparison.

    I say “cranky pants” a lot. It gets used as a verb, noun and adjective.

  11. Bravo, fun poem, great reading! Those sheep are priceless. I applaud your putting up with this nonsense twice a week with mere eye rolling and muttered asides. I would have bopped someone on the head with my soup pot long ago. 🙂

  12. Love your poem and especially hearing you read it! It’s my first visit to your site, Renee. Lots of wonderful components. Here in New England where I grew up, we said “Don’t have a cow over it!” Other expressions are familiar, as well. Great post.

  13. This is the kind of poem I need near my desk on a “Bitter Snit” kind of day to get me laughing again! Loved it and love your suggestions for students. Since mine have grown up to be first graders now I may just need to try some of them out myself until Fall hits! Thanks for the great post.

  14. How wonderful is that–your poem out of a choir practice snit. (I’ve been in my share of choirs and know whereof you speak.) Speaking of snit favourites, I loved the rolling eyes and steaming ears of your rehearsal self. (And I picked up a show-tune rhythm in your poem. I think it would make a great performance piece, with the right music and a little choreography.)

  15. I hate to have a laugh at the expense of your snit, but I can so totally relate to your grumpy grumbiings over folks who just can’t seem to get it right…just a little close to home…

    LOVE the poem and the classroom extensions. Way to put your anger to good work!

  16. I lovelovelove this poem, Renee! Only you can turn something so irksome and immensely frustrating to a beautiful work of art. I was actually thinking that this would be a great illustrated picture book. Think of the many expressions that a little girl can take as she sulks and skulks, huffs and puffs! 🙂 Nicely done!

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