Louise Glück calls the Poetry Crisis Line

PATIENCE (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
LOUISE GLÜCK (caller): You’re stepping on your father, my mother said.
PATIENCE: Has he fallen and can’t get up?
GLÜCK: and indeed I was standing exactly in the center of a bed of grass,
mown so neatly it could have been my father’s grave,
although there was no stone saying so.
PATIENCE: Uh… I’ll take that as a yes.

Ms Glück’s lines excerpted from the poem “Aboriginal Landscape

Lawrence Ferlinghetti calls the Poetry Crisis Line

In memoriam of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, March 24, 1919–February 22, 2021. May his memory be a blessing.

ROSIE (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, What is your emergency?
LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI (caller): Don’t let that horse eat that violin.
ROSIE: Again? I sent the fiddler on the roof so the horse couldn’t reach. Are you sure it’s not a giraffe eating that violin?

Edna St Vincent Millay calls the Poetry Crisis Line

Happy 129th birthday to Edna St. Vincent Millay, who had something to say about being housebound.

KIM (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
EDNA ST VINCENT MILLAY (caller): It’s little I care what path I take
KIM: I’ve heard it can make all the difference.
MILLAY: And where it leads it’s little I care
KIM: As long as you can stay 6 feet away from people?
KIM: I hear you.

From “Departure” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

You wanna buy a duck?

PATTI LA BELLE: Voulez vous acheter un canard?
LIL’ KIM: Un quoi?
LIL’ KIM (to Pink): Voulez vous acheter un canard?
PINK: Un quoi?
PINK (to Christina Aguilera): Voulez vous acheter un canard?
MYA: Canard à l’orange marmalade.

PATTI: You wanna buy a duck?
KIM: A what?
KIM (to Pink): You wanna buy a duck?
PINK: A what?
PINK (to Christina): You wanna buy a duck?
MYA: Duck à l’orange marmalade.

Abraham Lincoln calls the Poetry Crisis Line

Happy Presidents Day from the Poetry Crisis Line!

PATIENCE (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
ABRAHAM LINCOLN (caller): My childhood’s home I see again, and sadden with the view.
PATIENCE: These are difficult times, sir. Many people have had to move back home. There’s no shame in it. And if watching The View makes you sad, you can change the channel.

From “My Childhood Home I See Again” by Abraham Lincoln.

Poetry Crisis Valentines 2021

This year’s Poetry Crisis Valentines:

Roses are red,
Mushrooms are crude.
I saw your great mind
starving, mad, nude.

Roses are red,
violets are blue;
This is the oppressor’s language,
but I need it with you.

Some roses are red,
Some roses are pink;
We’re surrounded by water
With nothing to drink.

Roses are fed
by insects and worms.
Does Man love Art?
Man visits, but squirms.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
I told not my Love
& how my Love grew!

Roses are dead,
Violets are through.
I told you my love.
I no longer love you.

Roses are red,
Shakespear’s a hack.
The hair on your head
Is under attack!

Roses are red,
violets are blue.
Competent leadership
should not seem so new!

Click here to see Poetry Crisis Valentines from past years.


Elizabeth Bishop calls the Poetry Crisis Line

Happy 110th birthday to Elizabeth Bishop!

From “The Map” by Elizabeth Bishop

MARIA VON TRAPP (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, Maria speaking. What is your emergency?
ELIZABETH BISHOP (caller): Mapped waters are more quiet than the land is.
MARIA: Yes. Land can be loud. (singing) The hills are alive, so stay on the flatlands.

KIM: Maria is quite a problem solver.
ROSIE: Yeah. How do you solve a problem like her?


Jacques Prevert calls Poetry Dial-A-Joke

The poet Jacques Prevert was born 121 years ago today.

232 years ago, George Washington was elected the first President of the United States of America.

I haven’t looked into whether any notable events occurred 343 years ago today. This one got away from me enough already.

Based on “Quartier Libre” by Jacques Prevert

LUCKY (operator): Poetry Dial-A-Joke, what can I do ya fer?
JACQUES PREVERT (caller): I put my cap in the cage and went out with the bird on my head.
LUCKY: Did you go to a doctor’s office with a duck on your head and—
GENERAL WASHINGTON (commanding officer, as quoted by PREVERT): “So one no longer salutes?”…
LUCKY: You could run it up the flagpole and see.
PREVERT: …asked the commanding officer.
LUCKY: To salute?
DUCK (as quoted by PREVERT): “No…”
LUCKY: To get this guy off your butt?
DUCK: “…One no longer salutes”
PREVERT said the bird.
LUCKY: I’m confused.
DUCK: “Ah good.”
LUCKY: If you have to explain a joke…
WASHINGTON (quoted): “Excuse me I thought one saluted”
LUCKY: That’s what she said.
PREVERT: …said the commanding officer.
LUCKY: What are you, some kind of prevert?
DUCK: You are fully excused; everybody makes mistakes.
PREVERT: …said the bird.
LUCKY: I’ll give you a bird, buddy.



NOTE: One may wonder, of course, why a French citizen would have an American commanding officer, but I once heard a historian on the radio explain that the reason people see George Washington rather than Ben Franklin as the hero of the American Revolution is that if we see General Washington as the hero it means we won because God was on our side, whereas if we see diplomat Franklin as the hero it means we won because France was on our side.

But honestly, if that’s all you’re wondering about this post, then you’re doing better than I am.



Priscilla Jane Thompson calls the Poetry Crisis Line

From “Emancipation” by Priscilla Jane Thompson

On this day in 1865, Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery in the United States.

PATIENCE (counselor): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
PRISCILLA JANE THOMPSON (caller): Bring your harpers, bring your sages.
PATIENCE: Got ’em! Are we smudging the White House?