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
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?