Crowetry Crisis Line

Based on “Crow’s Fall” by Ted Hughes, who would have been 90 years old today.

NEF (COUNSELOR): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CROW (CALLER): When Crow was white
NEF: When was that?
CROW: He decided the sun was too white.
NEF: Really?
CROW: He decided it glared much too whitely.
NEF: Oh, I’ve seen that glare.
CROW: He decided to attack it and defeat it.
NEF: Y’see, the media don’t report these white-on-white crimes.

J. Alfred Prufrock calls the Poetry Crisis Line

ROSIE (COUNSELOR): Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
J. ALFRED PRUFROCK: Should I part my hair behind?
ROSIE: What you do with your behind in private is your business. No matter how hairy it is.
PRUFROCK: Do I dare to eat a peach?
ROSIE: Wash your hands first.
PRUFROCK: I shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach.
ROSIE: If it makes you comfortable. But don’t be ashamed of your hairy behind.

Read the original here. Or check out this exquisite illustrated version by Julian Peters.

If All Poems Were Limericks: The Charge of the Light Brigade

Happy 211th birthday to Alfred, Lord Tennyson


If All Poems Were Limericks:
The Charge of the Light Brigade
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It isn’t our job to ask why
or make any other reply.
We do as we’re told
and it never gets old
if, after we do it, we die.

Katherine Riegel re-calls the Poetry Crisis Line (page 6 of 6)

Read the poem here.

Transcript of call:

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
KATHERINE RIEGEL: Once I complimented a poet, and he said, “It’s all lies.”
COUNSELOR: The poem? Or the compliment? Was he lying then?
RIEGEL: When one friend tries to sleep her mind is like my neighbor’s border collie.
COUNSELOR: Does it jump on the furniture?
RIEGEL: circling the yard looking for imaginary sheep.
COUNSELOR: I guess it has to find them before she can count them.
RIEGEL: I used to carry rocks in my pocket
RIEGEL: Because my often-angry father liked them.
COUNSELOR: Plain, or with scotch?
RIEGEL: Because he said, “See that stripe of red there? Isn’t it beautiful?”
COUNSELOR: Red like clay? Or like a red dog rounding up imaginary sheep?
RIEGEL: When I moved from a small town, my friend said, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re moving to a city!” as if that was a good thing.
COUNSELOR: Does city life make the sheep harder to find and count?
RIEGEL: I am so very tired of men taking up so much space on the sidewalk.
COUNSELOR: Don’t they leave enough space for the sheep?
RIEGEL: How the bully starlings swoop down on the bird feeder and all the other birds scatter.
COUNSELOR: Are you sure it’s not just the sheep jumping over the fence to be counted?
RIEGEL: How different we all are.
COUNSELOR: So if you count sheep at bedtime, then you dream about shearing them…
RIEGEL: as different as below and above water.
COUNSELOR: …would that be a dream de-furred?
RIEGEL: I do not understand you.
COUNSELOR: I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
RIEGEL: I understand you but I am not like you.
COUNSELOR: Why? What am I like?
RIEGEL: I like you
RIEGEL: But I don’t want to be like you.
COUNSELOR: Honestly, some days I don’t either.
RIEGEL: Every day the earth rotates
COUNSELOR: Like a collie rounding up dreamsheep?
RIEGEL: So only part of it is lonely at any given time.
COUNSELOR: So who’s better company–the sun or the moon?

See the full Poetry Crisis Line call below: