Photo Friday and #NaPoWriMo Mashup.

Today’s Challenge:

write a parody or satire based on a famous poem. It can be long or short, rhymed or not. But take a favorite (or unfavorite) poem of the past, and see if you can’t re-write it on humorous, mocking, or sharp-witted lines. You can use your poem to make fun of the original (in the vein of a parody), or turn the form and manner of the original into a vehicle for making points about something else (more of a satire – though the dividing lines get rather confused and thin at times).

So here’s the original, a famous poem.

The Chambered Nautilus


This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
   Sails the unshadowed main,—
   The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
   And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.


Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
   Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
   And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
   Before thee lies revealed,—
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!


Year after year beheld the silent toil
   That spread his lustrous coil;
   Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
   Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.


Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
   Child of the wandering sea,
   Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!
   While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—


Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
   As the swift seasons roll!
   Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
   Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

In 7th grade, I had the choice of memorizing this, or “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”  I chose “Revere,” even though it was longer.  For one thing, it told a story, for another, I loved the rhythm.  Still “Nautilus” stuck firmly in my head.  Maybe it was 28 other students reciting it.  “Nautilus” plays a major role in my novel, A Ship of Pearl. Today, I give it a new twist.


War on Slugs

You O tiny fiend, are no friend of mine.

Unending source of sickly stringy slime.

Silent in the night, hiding shell inside a mantle.

Slinking under leaves, sliding under earth, you ramble.

You’re wicked and you’re creepy on one big massive foot.

Years alone you travel, chomping gardens as your loot.


Narcissistic loner, mating with yourself.

You’re humorless and surly, no cheerful garden elf.

Two years to be a grownup, leaving 80 offspring in your wake.

My Hostas can not bear it. You really take the cake.

Eyes and ears on tentacles above guillotines of horror.

Ugly and destructive? Or just a midnight explorer?


Poison, cremate, vise, or capture, I’m not sure what to do.

I hesitate to murder, but I’m really sick of you.

Transfer to the neighbor’s? Now that’s an ugly trick.

Dry you out and leave you? Stab you with an icepick?

Self-absorbed persona, there’s one thing you hold dear.

Left out as if mistaken: the siren call of beer.