A tribute to the inauguration poem

For Tuesday’s afflicted:

From Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine:


SOMEWHERE A POET scratches out a line.

Somewhere a teacher says Take up your pencils.

Somewhere a secretary says Ow my wrist hurts.

Somewhere a clerk says Welcome to Burger King how may I help you.

Somewhere a chicken waits to cross the road because he says I must see what is on the other side,

Stands on the brink on the brim on the cusp on the edge on the side on the border.

Praise the poet for speaking with the voice of the people.

Praise the poet for writing a poem that speaks as the people speak.

Praise the people for speaking in the words of poets.

Praise the people for standing still politely.

Praise the poem for avoiding rhyme and rhythm.

Praise the poem for being written in prose.

We shall have no poetry here.


I dare say most of us could use Prof. Alexander’s poem as a great inspiration.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Joe says:

    I have introduced my students to Amanda McKittrick Ros (she of Holy Moses!, have a look! fame), and now Dr Alexander. Somewhere a poem is aborning, a breathing-in-and-out pain of life….

  2. Kudos, Father Z! It is always the sure sign of a great Priest who not only knows his philosophy and Sacred Theology, but who is a devotee of all the arts, including poetry. This is a hilarious and much needed criticism of what passed so sadly for poetry yesterday. I add my own criticism:



  3. Mike says:

    When I was a kid in elementary school back in the Stone Age (~1955) the good sisters taught us about poetry and they also taught us about something called “free verse.”

    The difference was rhyme and meter. The former had it, the latter did not.

    While I don’t believe it was ever explicitly stated, I certainly got the impression that they much preferred the former, since to do it well required a richer vocabulary and much more work.

  4. ckdexterhaven says:

    There once was an amateur poet
    alas sadly, she didn’t know it
    Her prose for the prez
    was an embarrassing mezz
    All America now woes it.

    Thank you, thank you very much… I’ll be here all week.

  5. Aelric says:

    Vesanum poetam qui sapiunt fugiunt.

    Horace, Ars Poetica 455

  6. MargoB says:

    Not to mention that good/true Art enchants the mundane…and Alexander’s poem merely enumertaed it.

    Sigh…may she have her sight cleared in a Mooreeffoc soon, and then begin to enjoy real poetry.

  7. MargoB says:

    Whoops! “enumerated”…

  8. The better poem, of course, was Rev. Lowery’s little ditty, er, benediction. I present the closing stanza:

    Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around … when yellow will be mellow … when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

    Hey, it rhymes, man!

  9. chironomo says:

    Doc Alexander’s poem proclaimed
    “I know there’s something better …”
    She then went on, quite unrestrained
    By either rhyme or meter

    “Praise song for every hand-lettered sign”
    She voiced, so proud and tall
    “to see what’s on the other side…”
    Caused half to leave the mall

    “In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air…”
    A line contrived, gratuitous
    She blathered on, without a care
    Of what this poem could do to us….

  10. JohnE says:

    Sounds like we’ve missed out on some of her finer poetry:

    No Poetry Controversy?

  11. Derik says:

    Just for fun

    I don’t care. If it doesn’t rhyme, it isn’t a poem.
    Non curo. Si metrum non habet, non est poema.

  12. Regina says:

    Of course, this was a reflection of the literary mediocrity afflicting our culture. No doubt, most of you, like me, thought we could have indeed penned something more relevant.
    Did we expect the finesse of a Sara Teasdale? An individualistic renegade ( most appropriate, no?) of Emily Dickinson? Gone.
    And Obama’s speech? He’s no Churchill, but I doubt McCain would have done any better with his Political Barbie at his side. There are no statesmen anymore, only politicians.
    And I am surprised no one took issue with that charletan generic preacher Rick Warren. He was truly a waste.

Comments are closed.