Ode to Joyce Kilmer

Ode to Joyce Kilmer

A Poem by FlatDaddy

If JK is your favorite poet, or you are, perhaps, a relative of him, go no further: I really don't need the hatemail. If, on the other hand, you enjoy satire -- read on!


You were my first formal introduction to poetry.

Me: so young and impressionalbe,

You: the quintessential poet,


    "I think that I shall never see

    "A poem as lovely as a tree"

  the purported perfect poem.

And now, as a man who has lived long enough

  to see through so many of the truths

  I was taught as a child,

  I must ask you:


Just who the hell do you think you are?

Do you have any idea the extent of the damage you

  and your pansy-assed little poem have caused?

In two lines you convinced whole generations

  of potential Shakespeares

  that their efforts would be wasted.

You said,

    "You might as well give it up, folks,

    "'cause you'll never do better than this!"


Well, listen, you smirking ego-bloated self-appointed

  guru of the short sighted,

  don't you know that man invented God?

And if gods are all powerful, all knowing,

  then we can do anything!


Hey, I've got nothing against trees!

But show me a tree

  that can suck you inside itself

  with the sweet scent of its blossoms,

  that exposes to your eye the beauty beneath the bark,

  that pulls you, gasping,

  through the twisting structure of its roots

  and shoots you straight up the middle

  and pushes you out to the end

  of each of its mighty, gnarled limbs

  and lets you see the world from its lofty height --

a tree that can make you laugh and lust

  and scream and cry

  all in the same breath,

  a tree that strips you bare,

  a tree that reveals the very nature of the universe,

  a tree that bears more succulent fruit,

  morsels of truth and beauty forever ripe

  dangling from a thousand boughs

  and each within reach of a single outstretched hand!


I've had your miserable little poem locked in my head

  for thirty years or more,

  enshrined as some great irrefutable truth --

  but no more!

I call on all the poets,

  the bards and balladeers,

  the living and the dead,

  the famous and the bathroom scrawlers,

  the coupleteers and dactyl doers,

  the blank versers, the rhymers, the limerickites,

  the eliptical and obvious,

I call upon them all to rise up!

I call them to come howling, with pitchforks and clubs,

  to come screaming to your grave

  and rip you from the earth!


We will tear your mangy corpse into ribbons

  and pound your bones into dust

  not even the wind can find!

We will piss into your coffin --

Stripped naked, we will dance wild, unnameable

  frenzied jigs upon your stone

  and spin and twirl to mad stentorian tunes

  beneath a blazing poets' moon!

We will sing holy and insane songs,

  holding hands as one,

  and we will skip and laugh and weep for out freedom!


And when, at last, we have emptied the world of you,

  we will sit around the massive crater where you were, and

  one by one

  we will cast tiny nuggets of stars into that great hole,

  and we will cover it tenderly

  with the rich soil of our minds,

  and we will water it with tears,

  and weed it with imagination,

  and we will stand back slightly with proud, mad grins

  plastered to our faces,

  breathing like freight trains --


And we will see the birth of a great and mighty

  endless forest,

  the likes of which

no god has ever seen!

© 2011 FlatDaddy

Author's Note

Okay, let the hatemail come. I know I go overboard sometimes -- okay, most of the time. I would never actually disturb the grave of anyone, much less one of our own kind. Besides, I would probably get arrested. My apologies, JK: mea culp, mea culpa, mea culpa. But there is a point here, and I think even Mr. Kilmer would see it. Perhaps he wouldn't applaud, but I think he just might smile -- a little.

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Added on December 20, 2011
Last Updated on December 26, 2011
Tags: Joyce Kilmer, trees, satire



Austin, TX

Former performance poet, actor and singer. I was injured in 2004 and no longer perform. I have written for many years, mostly performance oriented material. My injuries have caused me to be restri.. more..

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A Poem by FlatDaddy