The Shrimp

The Shrimp is a weird sort of creature
that alien look – its best feature;
The legs, there’s five pair,
4 antennae like hair,
solitary-ness much like a preacher.

Appendages all are segmented
You may think he’s disoriented
Swimming backwards he goes
when escaping his foes;
This reaction- is death circumvented.

This crustaceous creature has stalk-eyes.
As a decapod, he’s not in disguise,
as a prawn-(2 less claws)
with a few other flaws,
and his thorax, an edible size.

After peeling the carapace- de”vein.”
From this job you may want to refrain,
if you think it’s a “vein”
then you’re really insane
if I tell you, you may just abstain.

This ditty of Shrimp, so delicious
may have been much too ambitious,
but with strong shrimp cocktail
(horseradish to prevail),
is an alien dish quite auspicious.

Mixed metaphors

“I did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday”,
which may or may not mean I get it.
but “if I eat my p’s and q’s, I’ll get my way”,
doesn’t really mean one wit.

It may be that you are “green behind the ears”,
a funny way to say, you are very new at this
only to say “take a flying hike” would be
to, without working hard at it, just dismiss.

If you can “read someone like the back of your book”
or if we could “stand here and talk till the cows turn blue”
you may want to take another look
and to think deeply, your metaphors through.

“Like a wolf in cheap clothing”, it can fool you some.
but let’s try for sense to it-so our sensibilities don’t ache
so our writing does not, make others’ minds numb
It’s “as easy as falling off a piece of cake”.

When carelessness tempts you, you think to yourself,
“I wouldn’t eat that with a ten foot pole”.
Those metaphors that don’t work, put them back on the shelf.
“they stick out like a sore throat (or a black hole)”

It may mean that you end up like some of the greats,
“burning the midnight oil from both ends”.
They worked all their words till they had the right mates.
And those metaphors worked, still they checked with their friends.

So I’m “sweating like a bullet” as I try to explain
A way to use metaphor that would not be unfit
for text that is sensible, correct and quite plain.
Don’t wait “and burn that bridge when you come to it”.

There are those who “abandon ship at the first sign of a bump in the road”,
saying “you can’t change the spots on an old dog”.
But rather I say we can all crack the code-
“it’s our turn at bat so let’s make a touchdown for the log”.

We must “wake up and read the coffee on the wall”-
many do not understand what we say.
Let us be as clear as “a moth eared page” and all.
Ideas will be nicer and more helpful that way.


Throw off your Clichés

I’m not on the same page as you
but, I might agree.
I don’t want to catch your drift
yet I might see.

My mind will not be boggled
but I may
need just a minute to adjust
to what you say.

Do not say this to say that,
I’ll close my eyes….
You can’t get right to your point
I will surmise.

My heart won’t be on my sleeve-
it goes inside,
where it functions best,
the lungs beside.

And while I may indeed be
out of my comfort zone,
I’d rather just be an uncomfortable
that is my own.

And if you’ve been there, done that
enough times,
your lack of original sayings
are like crimes.

But before you claim that
we won’t even go there,
I’ll have stopped listening and with you-
won’t go anywhere.

Please say what you mean,
so I can stop with this tedious

©P.Johnson 2015

The Toad not Taken (life of a homeschool mom)

Two Toads diverged in a greenish wood,
And sorry, I could not hold them both
And be one amphibian lover, long I stood
and looked at one as far as I could.
To where it got squished in the undergrowth;

Then I looked at the other, just as fair,
Its skin had for sure the better claim,
Because it was spotted and shaped like a pear;
The children said, “touch it”, on a dare
But they’d squished this one, too…about the same,

Now, both, that morning equally lay
in state, near the dirt I then dug, quite black
Oh, I kept the first for another day
In the jar of formaldehyde Toadie did lay
I doubted its life would ever come back.

I shall be dissecting this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two Toads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less damaged by,
The “squishing”, and *that* will make all the difference.

© Pam Johnson 2005

~Posthumous apologies to Robert Frost

The Ballad of Kudzu

                (did I say Kudzu? I meant geraniums)             


2013-07-16 14.07.31

When I think of heading south,
my interests change their venue.
I leave off thinking of my flowers
And I start thinking “Kudzu!”.

For years now I have sought the precious
plant with all its virtue.
To own a potted vine so specious
or topiary statue.

Each year I gently excavate
to transport and replant it.
Up here it won’t proliferate,
it simply would get frost-bit.

For such a plant that’s covered so,
it won’t survive my efforts.
Each year I get it home and -oh
The lovely vine it subverts.

I know I’ll try again because
My hope it springs infernal.
So wish me well and pray it does
Live long and prosper, vernal.

I do not hold out too much hope
But that has never stopped me.
I know that I must look the dope
when digging -I’m not touchy.

This vine that I must have someday,
Potted Kudzu of my dreams:
A different propagation way
like seeds, or other means (?).

Now I shall leave off this my ballad
Of enchanting Kudzu.
It likely would be good in salad
…but not at all in Haiku…

(DNR employees need not read any of this)


The Problem with Pockets

The problem with pockets you’d see
if living at my house with me.
When leaving the room,
quickly causing my doom;
and the tear you could easily see.

They caught on door handles (past tense).
In recent years I have learned sense.
To be knocked on the floor,
as I’m leaving the door;
The embarrassment’s very immense.

My dignity’s under repair,
since the days of my pocket’s despair.
Sketchy, on a good day
ignominy at bay
“no more pockets” I simply declare.

So pocketless I must go on.
Where to put my Kleenex and crayon?
That is what capes are for.
Don’t catch *that* on the door!
I’ll put stuff in my purse, thereupon.


I totally need my face clean
from eating my lunch, rice and bean
it gets on my face
and in collar lace
and my fingers and all in between

You want me to wipe my face off
I listen and here’s why I scoff
I need my dear face
to stay in its place
I’d rather, my face, not to doff

So let’s make a compromise please
I do want to your wishes, appease
let me carefully clean
just the rice and the bean
and leave my face on here, at ease.

©1/28/14 P.Johnson

More or Less

It is a quandary common to
My age and gender and if you
Will hear between the lines.

My anxious thoughts go round again
Decisions should be just so plain
I weigh the options mine.

To gain will stretch the wrinkles well
To lose -with distance-may look swell
All is ancient must not whine.

excess adipose tissue will
Very cheaply wrinkles fill
A Trojan horse.

The losing of much weight
May make me feel great
Difficult of course.