Fun With Pikus

Ballot Disillusionment

Vote for a
elect a thief.

Forgetful Old Age

Note for the
eject the teeth.

An Englishman’s Castle

Moat round the
protects the weak.

Bridget Jones Knew It

Doting love
you abject grief.

More Money Than Sense

Haute Couture
French Fashion Week.

Rural Idyll

Goats will roam
graze on the heath.


Tote pays bills
the bet is won.

Questionable Taste

Mirrored walls
reflect the sun.

Personal Philosophy

Task for the
have fun with puns.


Today is Pi Day, celebrating mathematics. I suspect the day is American in origin because it plays on the date March 14th and not the 14th of March. We won’t say any more about that because, as my regular readers know, my head will explode.

In honour of Pi Day, I have posted these pikus (or piku; I’m not sure what the plural of piku is, as it’s a little used poetry form).

The piku is a blend of haiku and the first three numbers of pi:

Three lines
Eight syllables: 3-1-4

So, three syllables on the first line; one syllable on the second line; four syllables on the last line.

It doesn’t have to rhyme but you can write a chain of pikus as I have done here, and make them rhyme for fun. You don’t need to include individual titles, either; I have included them for clarity (aka: cheating).

If you fancy having a go, the easiest way is to write a prose sentence and then whittle it down to its bare essentials. Please do share in the comments if you try it.

By the way, anyone who says maths and poetry shouldn’t mix has clearly never read a Fibonacci poem. I’ll post one soon.




Fun Poetry Fact #4

The poet George MacDonald wrote a poem with just two words:

The Shortest and Sweetest of Songs

Come. Home.


As far as I can recall, I don’t have a poem made up of two words; but I do have a three-word poem, a one-word poem, and a poem with no words at all.

Here’s how we do it: we cheat. We use the title to do half the work. Consider MacDonald’s title:

  • He warns us to expect a short poem.
  • The words ‘Sweetest’ and ‘Songs’ soften our view of what comes next.
  • ‘Come. Home’ just screams love and yearning because of the title.
    The poem could work with alternative titles, but would it be as good?

Mother Screaming On Her Doorstep For Her Kids

Come. Home.

Every Football Team to the FA Cup

Come. Home.

Reluctant Split

Come. Home.


You get the general idea.

To answer my own question: no, the poem wouldn’t be as good with an alternative title. MacDonald’s skill is in being somewhat vague, because he leaves the reader to fill in the gaps. As all good poetry should,



When I Am Dead: A Poem That Made Me Think A Little

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When I am dead,
think only this of me:
there is a corner of
some kitchen drawer
that will be
forever mingled.

I know I’ll leave a mess.
I’ll be dead.
I couldn’t care less.


I read When I Am Dead, My Dearest by Christina Rossetti, and my brain went, You should parody Rupert Brooke’s The Soldier, because that makes no sense, being inspired by one poem to write a pastiche of another (a pastiche is a text that imitates/is in the style of another text).

Here’s the thing about any writing: each mind is unique and makes connections that other minds don’t.

Here’s another thing about writing: it’s okay to write what you like; don’t ever feel obliged to write something just because someone says you must (creative writing classes excepted, of course, otherwise you’ve wasted your money).

Yet another thing about writing is that you should always write your truth; hence this poem about my sloppy housework.

Beach Box

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On the beach
At the spring equinox
A box
A brown box
A drowned box
A bashed box
A stoned box
A locked box
Had taken hard knocks
Pounded by waves
Or perhaps pounded by rocks
Yes, rocks must have been chucked
By a bunch of drunk jocks
I take stock
It is locked
I pound the lock with a rock (o the irony)
What a shock!
Inside the box
The locked box
The bound box
The pounded box
The damaged
Tattered box
Is a pair
Just one pair
One pair of men’s socks


This is a nonsense poem. Nonsense poems are great fun to write: simply choose a word and find as many rhymes or near-rhymes as you can, then try to weave it into some sort of story or logical progression (think Dr Seuss). But it doesn’t matter if you can’t; just have fun with the words!

You can also repeat words as often as you like, as I have done here.

Here’s a great website to help you: Rhymezone.



It’s All Greek to Me

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Peer juries
The Olympics
Alarm clocks
Safe doctors
Swears Hippocrates
Maria Callas
Clock towers
Vending machines
Alexander the Great
The Spartans
Stories for movies
El Greco
Nia Vardalos
Cheap holidays

It’s all Greek to me


If you haven’t come across one before, this is a list poem. List poems are exactly what they sound like – a poem in list form. I have some rhymes and half-rhymes in this one because it’s a bit of fun.

A half-rhyme (also known as a near-rhyme or slant rhyme) is when two words sound similar but are not proper rhymes, such as elk/milk or (from the poem) cartography/geometry.




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The science
of misunderstanding an appliance.

The groan
accompanying a new phone.

The cry
as an elderly computer dies.

The ache
for a simpler age,
when a book had a page.

Techneptitude –
technological stupidity
with a hint of decrepitude.


This poem was first published in English Pen‘s The Dictionary of Made-Up Words, 2013


Tell me I’m not alone in being stupid with technology? Just this week, my eldest son had to talk me through sending a text message, even though I’ve had a phone for about twenty years. I became confused because I didn’t have the other party as a contact and had to type in their number…but no space appeared in which I could type my message.

Turns out, you have to hit the ‘Enter’ button after typing a number.
Who knew?*

*Not me



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I place the child’s opticians’ test glasses on the cluttered table and turn to my dead mother in a South African house that is not hers. ‘Here’s a cheque for £15,’ she mutters; ‘it must last you for two weeks. There’s £45 to cover your six weeks here.’ Even in my dreams, I’m poor.


If you ever struggle to write, keep a notebook and pen next to your bed and jot down your dream as soon as you wake. Dream poems are fun to write. And not just poems: Stephenie Mayer famously had the idea for Twilight in a dream and – crucially – WROTE IT DOWN.

I’m not saying you’ll have a future best seller on your hands if you jot down your brain’s weird ramblings; but you never know…


I have some musings on Twilight on my Laughing Housewife blog, if you’re interested:

  1. In which Linda succumbs to peer pressure like a teenage girl
  2. In which Linda contemplates hair


Influences 1

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I thought you might like to know some of my influences; every writer has them – those writers who appeal to us more than any other, and so we try to emulate them.

One of my first influences was Ogden Nash. According to Wikipedia,

Frederic Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971) was an American poet well known for his light verse, of which he wrote over 500 pieces. With his unconventional rhyming schemes, he was declared by The New York Times the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry.

I can only dream to have a career like his because,

When Nash was not writing poems, he made guest appearances on comedy and radio shows and toured the United States and the United Kingdom and gave lectures at colleges and universities.

And here are a few of my favourites of his poems:

The Cow

The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk

The Canary

The song of canaries
Never varies,
And when they’re moulting
They’re pretty revolting.

Reflection On Babies

A bit of talcum
Is always walcum.

Most of you won’t head over to Wikipedia for more information, so I’ve lifted this section for you:

Nash was best known for surprising, pun-like rhymes, sometimes with words deliberately misspelled for comic effect, as in his retort to Dorothy Parker’s humorous dictum, Men seldom make passes / At girls who wear glasses:

A girl who’s bespectacled
May not get her nectacled

In this example, the word “nectacled” sounds like the phrase “neck tickled” when rhymed with the previous line.

Sometimes the words rhyme by mispronunciation rather than misspelling, as in:

Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I’ll stare at something less prepoceros

Another typical example of rhyming by combining words occurs in “The Adventures of Isabel”, when Isabel confronts a witch who threatens to turn her into a toad:

She showed no rage and she showed no rancor,
But she turned the witch into milk, and drank her.

Nash often wrote in an exaggerated verse form with pairs of lines that rhyme, but are of dissimilar length and irregular meter:

Once there was a man named Mr. Palliser and he asked his wife, May I be a gourmet?
And she said, You sure may.

Nash’s poetry was often a playful twist of an old saying or poem. For one example, in a twist on Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees” (1913), which contains “I think that I shall never see / a poem lovely as a tree”; Nash adds, “Indeed, unless the billboards fall / I’ll never see a tree at all.”

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I think you’ll have noticed Nash’s direct influence on my writing. I do hope you’ll check him out for yourself; if you like light verse – which I assume, as a regular visitor, you do – then you’ll love Ogden Nash.

To finish, here’s a poem I posted in the early days, directly influenced by Ogden Nash:

Geese guard 
        a stricken 
            comrade until 
            it dies or 
      flies again 
– how neece.

Friday the 9th is International Sudoku Day

This post was scheduled for last Friday, as you can see; I postponed it, for obvious reasons.

1, 2: a puzzle for you
3, 4: you’ll want to do more
5, 6: once you’re in its grip
7, 8: don’t make a mistake
9, 9: this game is designed
for logic, not maths
nerds have the last laugh

If you add up the numbers 1 to 9, the total is 45. There are 45 syllables in this poem (seven is pronounced ‘se’en’) (yes, that’s a thing poets can do: you put a little hat over the word and two syllables magically become one, which is what, I’m convinced, the Spice Girls were really singing about).

I originally had nine lines in the poem but that took the syllable count up to 57, so I cut the last two.

Incidentally, self-confessed nerd here (in case you hadn’t worked that out for yourself).