Toenail poems and more

Since this is National Poetry Month, it seemed only right that I include at least one post devoted to poetry. From a web page about National Poetry Month I linked to a page where I could look up poems on all sorts of subjects. Many are typical: love, death, seasons, family. Some are more surprising – how often have you wanted to find a poem about sharks?

I decided to look for poems on really offbeat topics. I thought of a few words that seemed unlikely interests of the Muse, and googled “poems” along with words such as “toenail,” “voice mail,” and “bifocals.” I suppose in this internet age of just about anything and everything available with a few keystrokes in a search engine, I shouldn’t have been surprised to get results. But I was.

Here is a toenail poem. It also is an example of a “square poem” (look there for the explanation). So I decided to try my own hand at a square poem. Trying to find a topic at random to write about, I found an interesting site that generates a random word, along with a definition of the word and the first image found that relates to the word. But with or without a random word to get me started, I found the square poem structure very challenging. If I succeed, I’ll make that my next post.

Perhaps I should have realized there would be plenty poems about voicemail. After all, it’s so common in our society that it makes an excellent metaphor for our replacing interpersonal connections with impersonal technology. It also offers lots of opportunities for humor (one could do a whole blog post on funny voicemail/answering machine greetings). Here is one about a teacher’s voicemail greeting.

I thought when I got bifocals I wouldn’t have to keep switching pairs of glasses, as my mother did, but after months of finding myself sitting at the computer with my neck tilted back so I could read the screen through the lower section of my bifocals, I gave in and started switching to a cheap pair of reading glasses. It is much more comfortable – but of course a nuisance every time I get up to leave my desk, or even to look at someone who approaches my desk. I don’t know how good this poem about bifocals is, but I very much like the title: Seeing Is Relieving.

I tried looking around my desk for an object that would not inspire poetry. The stapler? No, here are stapler poems. Hand sanitizer – who could ever write a poem about that? Teachers who want their students to remember to use it. An opened package of copy paper – now that’s really prosaic. No, blank paper is where poems start. How about a calculator? There’s one of those poems too.

I’m guessing that if there are poems about toenails, there must be some about earwax. Of course. And bellybutton lint (you’ll need to scroll down a bit to see the first one). I won’t even try looking for dog poop – I suspect the grosser the subject, the more it appeals to some people. It took me longer to find one a poem that mentions dandruff, but I found one by Robert William Service (author of “The Cremation of Sam McGee”).

I suppose, poetry being a near universal way to deal with the joys, sorrows, and frustrations of the human condition, it’s not surprising that just about everything ends up in a poem somewhere.


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