Friday, August 31, 2012

990. The Countenance of Humpty Dumpty

It's Poetry Friday today, being hosted over at the Poetry For Children blog. To celebrate, here's a new humorous poem featuring an all-too-familiar character in an all-too-familiar setting. Or is it?

The Countenance of Humpty Dumpty
              By Vikram Madan

As Humpty Dumpty, on the wall,
Sat in a cheerless slump
A passerby assumed the worst
And yelled, He’s going to jump!

An anxious crowd assembled and
Begged Humpty change his mind
The King's men and their horses came
(The Press shadowed behind)

They cordoned off the boulevard
Unfurled a safety net
A nervous chatter filled the night,
The tension, thick as sweat

Then Humpty shuffled in his spot
(The crowd shook with unease)
This isn't what you think, he said
I came here … for the breeze

You see, I haven't smiled in years
My countenance is skewed
I thought a dose of fresh air might
Invigorate my mood

For mirth lends me no company
I’m always feeling grim
And in my quest to lighten up
I sat here on a whim

But as he spoke he lost his poise
And toppled off the top
And treaded wind with flailing limbs
Down, down the few-foot drop

A solemn silence hushed the street.
All stared in stunned dismay.
Poor Humpty missed the safety net
(What more was left to say?)

The coroner, to close, declared
(As medics cleared the pile)
Humpty, our friend, is gone but look
At last, he’s cracked a smile!

Text and Illustrations Copyright © 2012 Vikram Madan

Ok, ok - don't twist my arm - I admit I wrote this poem backwards, starting with the ending in mind. Sometimes you just gotta do what you just gotta do :) .... Happy Poetry Friday!



  1. HAHAHA! Veeeeeery clever, Vikram. I cracked a smile, too. :)

    1. Thanks Renee. I think we're birds of the same feather so I'm not surprised you liked it :)

  2. Okay, I don't readily hand out poetry praise, but holy crap, this is great. Clever take on a classic story, vibrant language, and you nailed the pace and meter throughout. I've been out of the Poetry Friday loop for a little while; I don't recall seeing your links before. Glanced at your profile above -- we should definitely know each other. Thanks for visiting and commenting back on TKT. I'll reply to your comment there as well, specific to POEMETRICS data/visualization.

    -Ed D.

    1. Thanks for the praise Ed. I'm new to Poetry Friday and I hope to participate a lot more in the future. I've been enjoying your blog - you've got some pretty interesting things going on there so hope to be interacting with you more. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Very funny. Thanks for helping me crack a smile this morning.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Katya. Glad you liked it :)

  4. Did the horses lap up your cracked joke--I mean yoke?
    Great parottie. Keep writing them because I enjoy reading your fine poems.

    1. Thanks Joy. I was regretting not giving the horses a bigger role but the poem was already getting a bit long. Maybe in a future version :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Good job, Vikram! I like poems with a humourous sort of twist, and you nailed it...I'm looking forward to reading some more!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Matt. Yes, I plan to be posting many more. Come back again :)

  6. Hi, Vikram--

    Welcome to Poetry Friday! Although I couldn't see it coming, as soon as I read the last line I knew how the poem had begun. I do always try to feel where the seed of the poem is...for me it's often words that become the title, but I'm less good at punch lines myself.

    Enjoyed the writing, but aren't you lucky to be able to illustrate your own pieces! I dig your clean style and little references--is that Ollie's mustache I detect?

    1. Hi Heidi, I'm always surprised myself where poems originate from. Sometimes I'll just hear a word or phrase in passing, and it'll get stuck in my head till I write it out. This was one of those.
      The resemblance to Ollie is indeed striking - that part wasn't intentional ...I was just sketching in a shadow under the nose, and next thing I knew, there was Ollie, sitting despondent on the wall, so I left it like that. (Gave the drawing a little more character, I thought).
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. Hi, Vikram. This was so much fun. I love the line "tension, thick as sweat." But Humpty's erudite voice really got me. What a character!

    1. Hi Laura, Glad you enjoyed it. Humpty definitely sounds like a character you might want to meet again. Unfortunately the only way that's happening is if someone stitches him back together ... someone like Frankenstein?
      Franken-Humpty - now that's a thought I'm going to have to noodle on :)
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  8. Welcome to Poetry Friday! I'm with Laura -- loved Humpty's voice!!

  9. Your last line cracked me up! Well done, Vikram.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...