Fractured Verse
{A Bumbershoot Special Feature}

The Bard

Nothing Like As fractured by Chris O’Carroll

My gal is human, not divine.
Her eyes delight me, but don’t shine
Like suns. Nor do her voice, hair, skin
Live up to all that nonsense in
Some other poems. Nuts to such stuff.
She’s real, I love her, that’s enough.


Harping on Discord A parody by Anne Bryant-Hamon

Shall I compare thee to a thorn-webbed grave
or more unloveliness? And shall I grate
these teeth against my tongue to help me wave
my sore displeasure at thy obstinate
and stubborn ways? What of the walls I climb
each time thy voice doth whine? Thou dost complain
about the cost of oil and how each rhyme
evades thy pen and of this world of pain!
Lo, thy eternal harping never fades.
Unmatched in measure, garish groaning clings
to thee, thou queen of starts! An ace of spades
shall be the death of thee, yet I must sting
until thy fretful lips are blue and frayed.
I would to God thy vocal chords be splayed!


Let Me Not To The Marriage, etc. As fractured by Robert Schechter

To the marriage of true minds admit
no impediment; no, not one bit!
        Prove that I lie
        and you’ve also proved I
never loved, and what’s more, never writ.


The Taming of the Shrew As fractured by Jan D. Hodge

The story’s familiar:
a blackguard in search of
a fortune is courting
an ill-tempered shrew
whose father deplores her
behavior towards all who
might otherwise woo.

Her sister Bianca
has too many suitors
to count, but her father
will not let her wed
until, he remonstrates
his Katherine is married
and taken to bed.

Petruchio senses
much more than a fortune
and sets out to win her
despite her repute,
for he is convinced the
depictions of her are
uncalled-for and moot.

He holds up a mirror
reflecting her actions,
denying her dresses
and food and repose,
apparently acting
but it isn’t brutal,
it’s right on the nose—

a strategy rooted
in fondness, and proving
more winning than when she
was humored and bribed,
and when she discerns his
intent, it is just what
the doctor prescribed.

She finds her true selfhood
in loving and serving
a husband who dotes on
a spirited wife,
since, rightly considered,
behavior’s a sauce to
the gusto of life.

Forget all that fuss of
Bianca, her suitors,
her father’s frustration,
and even the gold,
for they are the keenest
of well-suited lovers
we’ll ever behold.

The husbands’ last wager
provides us a further
and fitting reversal
confirming this view;
the contest makes clear the
we’d always suspected—
Bianca’s the shrew.


Originally published in The Bard, Double Dactyled,
though this one is written not in dactyls but in amphibrachs