Fractured Verse
{A Bumbershoot Special Feature}

Elizabeth Barrett & Robert Browning

How Do I Love Thee? As fractured by Robert Schechter

How do I love thee? My list:
up down and sideways. The gist
        is “every which way.”
        What more can I say?
I’ll love thee when I don’t exist.


How (Soon) Do You Retire? A parody by P. S. Cleary

How (soon) do you retire? Let me count the days.
You last through every class and quiz and test
Your soul can take, when feeling not your best
For the End of each Week is ideal Grace.
You last through the level of every day’s
Most crazy need, by caffeine and meager rest.
You last quite firmly, at your own Behest.
You last quite poorly, with your paltry Raise.
You last with a passion put to use
In your old briefs, and with your students’ faith.
You last with a love you seemed to lose
With your lost patience,—each breath that you expire,
Smiles, tears, of all your lectures! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after thou retire.


The Duke, Less Subtly As fractured by Jan D. Hodge

“In her portrait she looks like a saint,
but I found much cause for complaint.
        Should I marry your daughter,
        she’ll do as she aughter,
or she too will live but in paint.”


Johannes Revisited As fractured by Jan D. Hodge

Glorious misery!
Heavenly Patriarch,
grateful am I that with
Thee will I dwell.
May I, a meek little
show no compassion for
those doomed to hell.


Porphyria’s Lover As fractured by Jan D. Hodge

Always I’ve known that she
loves me, despite him. The
storm could not stay her; to
us it was kind.
Here is the proof of love’s
See? I have strangled her.
God didn’t mind.