The Rhino at the Tricycle Shop


Well, today is Shakespeare’s birthday and possibly also the day he died, give or take fifty years, and in honor of the Bard of Avon, I am offering this poem written for Mike Allegra over at heylookawriterfellow for kindly drawing this picture for me. Some of the words even rhyme. And because this day also marks the beginning of Write a Love Poem Fortnight, it is a love story. As one of my sister’s exes used to say, “It’s spring. Love is in the air. If you’re not in love, you’re not breathing hard enough.”


Rudy the rhino was cycling to Judy’s house,

Planning to ask her out for a meal.

Rudy was psyched. He would wine her and dine her!

But all of a sudden he heard his wheels grind.

(Now before we go on, we should point out that Rudy

Was kind, eco-conscious, aware of his duty

To avoid fossil fuels: hence the red trike.)

But for all of his virtues, our friend is a rhino,

A big, heavy fellow. His trike was quite small

And all the wheels bent, both before and behind.

As he pulled into the tricycle shop and he stopped,

The squeal of the metal brought out Bertie Bunny.

“Oh, Bertie!” said Rudy. “Money’s no object!

Please fix my trike. I am late for my date!”


Bertie, laconic mechanic, wiped oil off

His paws with a rag as he paused to consider

The mangled Turbo Triangle detritus.

He sighed, “This will take me at least until Tuesday.”

Said Rudy, “Oh no! But my need is quite dire!”

Bertie pulled out his pliers and wires and a hammer

(His canvas workbag was really quite full)

And finally a skateboard with very thick wheels.

“Rudy,” said Bertie. “I hear you, my fine rhino.

But cry no more or your horn will turn red.

I’ll give you a loaner, my great lovelorn fellow.”

So Rudy skated off to his date with dear Judy

A little bit differently than what he’d planned.

And Bertie the bunny just sighed, “That was funny.

But I’m glad to do my small part. Ain’t love grand?”


Illustration by Mike Allegra.

Line Lengths and a Viking Bunny


So I have been thinking about line lengths lately. I am working on a set of poems loosely set in ancient Greece, which has led me to sorta kinda use iambic pentameter, which means ten syllables with an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable, times five. But sometimes for the sake of either a conversational sound or to end a line on a solid word (generally not a preposition, although I am not opposed to that), I add or take away a few syllables. The Alexandrine line, so called because it was frequently used by Alexander Pope, the misogynist bastard, is twelve syllables, and I recall my English teachers saying that he chose it because twelve syllables is about the maximum you can say on a single breath. But the poem I wrote today about the Roman criminal punishment of crucifixion (you have remember that all this has been inspired by Xena: Warrior Princess) has lines of fifteen or more syllables and I think the breath is fine. It might be that shorter syllables take less breath, I suppose, which would make sense if you set a poem to music and hold some notes longer, probably frequently the longer syllables.

I guess for the most part, I am looking for a line of three to four inches in Times New Roman 12 point font, though how I got that line length, I have no idea. The writer of the blog Optional Poetry uses extremely short lines, sometimes only a few words. What kind of line lengths do you use in your poetry?

Also, this Viking Bunny appeared in my email inbox today, so I am doing you the favor of sharing. Pass it on.