The Iron Poet will judge and adhere to the parameters of an Ode set forth in the link above.
Explanation of Theme: Your favorite musician – rock, country, classical, etc, – and the instrument they play most. Create and write an ode to that instrument.
“Ode to B.B.’s Lucille”
Oh, Delta Bluesman’s wood and steel,
Rest easy in the lap of that old man, King,
He will play you, electric, like a woman, Lucille
Make you groan, moan, whine, tremble and sing.
He will hold you straight, through The Thrill’s fugitive night
Through Stormy Mondays, Rock Me Baby and Sweet Sixteen
Oh, everyday you may be shaken blue-buzzed and bent
But when the midnight vibe comes down and the sound gets tight
Burst forth you!, with notes so dark blue heavy, so light blue lean
Oh, slay the cost to be the boss, spike that whine, pay that rent!
“Ode to Mozart, a prodigy pianist”
Piano, how I love to hear to hear you sing!
Your harmonies and melodies delight.
When one with skill and talent, self does bring
To work their hands on keys of black and white.
Their soul through fingers coming fourth in song,
Portraying feelings from all parts of life,
Bringing fourth dancing and perhaps a smile
In little airs of grace or works quite long
Rousing my heart or cutting like a knife
My listening ears will longer for awhile.
And one above the rest I’d love to hear
Hands of a child on keys so strong and sweet.
To witness talent many still revere
His prodigy and music to entreat.
Audiences of royalty clamor
To witness his piano skills first-hand.
His first concert at only six years old
Did he soak up any of the glamor
As kings and queens held him in high demand,
Or did he let his music love unfold?
Alas, that it should be that in your day
No device could capture your sweet sound.
And only others hands can try to play
Your sheets of written music that abound.
I wonder if our hearts come close to yours
Do we get all the different feelings right?
When hands not yours join keyboard to contrive
Translations of your music to restore
Sounds to staff and notes on paper, white.
To bring your soul and music back alive.
“An Ode to Alison Krauss”
Music, sweet music, is what I hold dear
Brings a smile, and calms any fear
I’ve never seen or heard any about
Sound as sweet, as sweet Alison Krauss
An angel voice backed with a bluegrass band
Dobro, banjo, bass and mandolin
And my true love is to hear that memory
Backed with a complementing harmony
The sweetest song in any and every key
Relaxes me from the day, and sings me to sleep
Thank you sweet, sweet Alison Krauss
For your music, and all you’re about
Michael Cottle, Christal Hanson, D Lee Cox, Mamie Pound
The 1928 Penny Farthing Race
Main Character is in Race
No dialogue between characters. Interior dialogue is allowed.
The Pig Farmer
“CJ will not steal another high wheeler race from me” John Hill thought. Today was the race, and he would become victorious.
John never entered a race to lose. He liked to win. It was in his blood.
He had spent half the night oiling down his penny farthing. Fine tuning it as a science. He had took every bearing out and greased them individually. He spun the big wheel, and it turned true. There was no wobble. He repeated the process for the rear wheel. He spent his last nickel on his penny farthing. It was going to make him famous. He would be somebody.
CJ had beat John last year, but this year would be different. CJ was going down- or if John had any say so about it.
It was the day of the annual penny farthing race. There were seven competitors registered to participate in the race. But to John, there was only him and CJ. CJ was the man to beat. The others were mere distractions. CJ was the racer and the antagonist- the epitome of all of his goals and aspirations.
John lined up in the middle with his spotter. CJ eyed John briefly and offered a warm smile. John returned one briefly, but it was fake. His thoughts consumed by winning. This was no time for friendly gestures. This was no time for doubt. There was only room for one thought in his mind when the race started, and that was to pedal faster.
And then, the whistle blew.
“Go, go, go!” John thought. “I’m already behind!”
But, he was right in line with Arnold Jackson. CJ was behind both of them. “This isn’t right” John thought. “CJ is supposed to be the man to beat!”
And the race went on, just like that. For three more laps, John and Arnold were neck and neck. CJ was a distant third with others still farther behind.
The final lap was upon them. All of the saving, all of the hard work, and all of the determination would pay off.
“I’m going to win!” John thought.
And then another entered the race without anyone’s knowledge. That is with exception to Arnold Jackson of course.
A giant insect of sorts popped Arnold Jackson in his right eye and simultaneously startled him and left him blind. His penny farthing wobbled momentarily like a gyroscope. And then the large wheel of his high wheeler caught the small wheel of John Hill’s high wheeler, and they both crashed roughly seventy-eight feet from the finish line.
John Hill never knew what hit him. He hit the track with a thud and was knocked unconscious for a brief twenty-three seconds. He awoke to C. J. Bowtle being crowned the winner of the race once again, retaining his title for the second year in a row.
John Hill sold his broken penny farthing, and went to work up north for a pig farmer. He found that he liked the quieter, slower pace of the country.
A Good Day
“It is a hot day today,” I thought to myself as I approached the Penny Farthing Race track. I was walking my bike to the track. It had a huge wheel, nearly as tall as I was with a seat on top, handles close to the seat, pedals in the center, and a tiny wheel that dragged behind it. “Who knows why that is there.” I couldn’t get on it by myself because I needed someone to hold the bike and to help me to scale it (my bike jockey helper—Horace). “I hope he made it here today and that he didn’t stand me up again like last time. I sure did look like quite a fool!” I thought again. “Oh, good! I see Horace now! He made me worry. Today is going to be a good day!”
“Wait! What is he doing? Oh, here he comes again. I thought he was going to run off. Good help is sure hard to find.” Horace walked up to me with his long stride that reminded me of Goofy. He was standing right beside me as we headed to the starting mark in the dirt track. He was really quiet today and he wouldn’t even utter a word to me. “I wonder why he hasn’t said anything to me. That is strange.”
“Okay, are you going to help me up?” I thought to myself. “Looks like he is going to finally help me. I’m so nervous! Just calm down, everything will be alright. It will all come together and work out. Nothing to be nervous about. Oh no! How do I climb this thing?! Just nerves. It will be okay. It’s just like when you forget your name when you have to write it on a test before you take it.” I scaled the bike with the help of Horace. I steadied myself and waited to hear the gun shot.
Then came the sound of thunder. I felt a little resistance as I realized that Horace had not immediately let go of my bike. “There we go. I knew I could catch up.” I eased effortlessly past my competition. I began to pedal feverishly around the track.
“What was that?” Gross an insect hit me in the face, bounced off and rebounded back into my mouth. I promptly spat him out. “Everything is fine,” I reassured myself. I felt more at ease when I realized that my competition had fallen back. Only one rider remained behind me, trying to pedal more feverishly than I. “Nope! I’m going to do this! I’m going to win this time! You got next, buddy.”
“I did it!” There I sat huffing and puffing as Horace caught my bike. There he stood rather proudly with a million dollar smile and a wide stance as the camera filmed us both. It was really quiet, though. Nobody said a word. I thought someone would want to interview me, but nobody approached me or asked me for one. It was still a good day.
Let Mr. McGuire Sit Down
D. Lee Cox
Breathe deep, Jerry. That’s it. Deep breaths.
Hi, Janie. You should look like you’re excited to see her. Hi!
Oh, good lord, there’s her mother. Don’t make eye contact.
Deep breaths. Pay attention to the line judge.
Okay, Jerry. This is it.
In nominee Patris, et Filii, et Spritus Sancti
I’m ready St. Christopher
This is for you Dad, I’ll show that Blevins
sonovabitch steals our customers, lies about our services
yeah, that’s right, Blevins, I’m taking you out
DAMN that pistol’s loud!
Pedal pedal pedal
Where’s my line, gotta get my line
Dammit he’s making headway
dammit dammit dammit
Pace yourself Jerry
It’s okay, let him wear himself out.
One length isn’t too bad
First turn coming up
He’ll wear himself out
I’ll get him, Dad, I promise
best bicycle shop in town my ass
I’ll win this Dad and we’ll turn the shop around
breath, pace yourself
Good tires with good tread, Dad, just like you always said
You worked hard, taught me everything you knew
Second turn, we got this
Dammit he’s pulled ahead a bit
I wont let you down
arragh, get up out of that, you imprudent brat and let Mr. McGuire sit down
Johnny, get up from the fire, get up and give the man a sate
Can’t you see it’s Mr McGuire and he’s courting your sister Kate
Ah, you know very well he owns a farm a wee bit out of the town
Arragh, get up out of that, you impudent brat, and let Mr McGuire sit down
nice, works well with the pace
A bit of a stretch to that third turn, isnt Blevins you sonovabitch
WHOOP! Damnable rock! You should be paying attention Jerome!
“The smallest rock” you said Dad, “and that Penny Farthing will take you for a ride you wont soon forget! Good tires, good tread, best defense.”
Good tires, good tread
Pace yourself, Jerry
Ha! Gaining on you, you lying, cheating
OH MY LORD
What is that pain in my hip?
Cant stop, straighten up
is my thigh on fire? What is that pain??
Put it out of your mind, Jerry
Was I shot? What is that fire?
my GOD the fire! What, what is that, a bee??
Doesnt matter, pedal harder
Gaining on him
Get that inside line before the fourth turn
Blevins, thats the pain you have to beat, Jerry
For Dad and mum
Thats right, Blevins, its me on your left, ha ha!
I got the inside
What is wrong with my breathing?
What the heck is going on with my eyesight?
Sweat, must be sweat in my eye
Put it out of your mind
its a straight-away
point the bike straight and pedal
I cant seem to catch my breath
just a little further
Good tires, good tread
finishline tape on my wheel
is that the sky?
Wow thats a bright light
pavement feels warm
Hi Dad, did I win?
by Jacob Stalvey O’Neal
The great oval lamps of the velodrome at Bath glared and the atmosphere breathed with the hum of a thousand holidaymakers, buzzing and cheering as the cyclists rounded the earth track below. Lord Asquith paid the throng no heed. Inside his head echoed only the sound of his own breathing, both pairs of his rear legs pumping steadily on the pedals of his penny farthing. His carapace was hunched down, his forelimbs gripping the handlebars with steely determination. His compound eyes were fixed ahead of him, and his antennae trailed freely behind him in the breeze.
Before him were the leaders, veterans of a hundred races, the outsize wheels of their cycles glittering as the spokes turned furiously, each of them attired as he in riding pumps and suspenders.
All except for one.
Somewhere in the cluster of spinning wheels, obscured by the dust, she was holding her own. Her delicate wings would be folded beneath her racing corset, her boots peeking demurely from beneath her heavy cycling skirt. The only one of her kind, ahead of her time, a busybody poking her feminine sensibilities into the world of sport, the world of men.
He’d show her a thing or two.
He allowed himself slightly to perspire as he coaxed from deep within his thorax a burst of speed, overtaking the pack and entering the cloud of dust and confusion.
Where was she?
He couldn’t tell. All was dust and noise and chaos. And somewhere, up ahead, a laurel. His laurel.
He was never certain, later on, what exactly happened. But suddenly he felt himself tumble head over heels, his cycle skewing drunkenly from beneath him, and the breath knocked from his body as he found himself on the ground, all six of his legs entangled in someone else, his head enveloped in a cocoon of angry taffeta.
Coughing, recovering his wind, he waved his hand before his face to clear the air, preparing to lambast the clumsy oaf whose inattentiveness had cost him the race. He roused himself to one knee and turned to berate the fool–
and found himself staring into the loveliest, deepest compound eyes he had ever seen.
Her antennae were disheveled, her riding bonnet at a hopeless angle. But in her eyes, all he saw was a fleeting moment of hopes dashed, then the resurging determination of a soul he recognized as kindred to his own.
And before he knew it was happening, her eyes met his. And for the first time in his life, Lord Asquith knew the perilous abandon of love.
Never saying a word, he reached his hand out to her. Doubtful at first, she rebuffed him. But then, trembling, yet proud, she took his hand. And he lifted her to her feet.
His chelicerae parted to speak; but, smiling, she covered his mouth with her claw.
And then, with a rush of air, she spread her gossamer wings and bounded, laughing, into the sky.
He knelt in the dust, watching her wend her way heavenward.
And the race forgotten, the crowd obscured, her perfume lingering in the air– Lord Asquith smiled too.
by Mamie Pound
He considers himself a Renaissance Man.
One black eye, one cerulean blue. And a smile like a pirate.
Most days he just feels a little off, an introvert, burdened with an overwhelming desire to write.
He awakes from deep sleeps with a start, as if he’s just landed on earth after sailing through the atmosphere. Sometimes he can’t quite catch his breath.
His therapist says it’s mild anxiety, perpetuated by a great imagination and a fear of women. A fondness for bourbon doesn’t help anything. Neither does the ease at which he attracts women.
They make eyes at him. Sometimes whole groups of women, at tables in bars.
He just smiles, and strokes his beard, feigns nonchalance. But there’s always one woman, braver than the rest, that’ll come to his table and linger a while.
She’s never the one he wants. The girl he wants doesn’t know he exists. She doesn’t even look in his direction. Maybe that’s why he wants her.
It’s hard to say.
But he’ll never approach her, the one that ignores him. Because, despite his gleaming, white teeth, wolf-handsome grin and his sparkling blue eye, on the inside, he’s still thirteen-year-old Hubert, offering Esmerelda a dance and her refusing.
This makes him overly cautious and therefore, irresistible.
So, when the eager girl, with her brave heart, saddles up to his table and asks, above the smokey strains of saxophone, if he’s new in town, he just nods, his black eye on the other girl.
He introduces himself as Robert William Steed, Penny Farthing Champ. She laughs, takes the seat next to him, although uninvited. She assumes him to be an actor from the movie filming in town.
He’s so magnetic. It confuses and thrills her that she can’t see both his eyes at once, the way she can hold a pair of same-colored eyes in her gaze. It’s as if he’s two things at the same time, a wolf and a fantastic, pipe-smoking dandy, with a great, wavy, almost too-beautiful beard and hipster boots. Something about his wandering eye is malevolent and curious.
He seems so otherworldly to her.
He imagines what she’d say if he told her that he’d crashed his Penny-Farthing through a blip in time, landed in the roaring Chattahoochee, space shuttle style. But he decides against it.
These fantastical stories play in his mind like background noise. They’re his every dream;
he’s free-falling through a crack in the universe, past things left unwritten, The Ramones, blasting through car stereo speakers, unfolded laundry and lost trains of thought. Eons of glittering space dust surround him like a hundred-thousand lightening bugs. Faint, almost imperceptible light shines through his murky subconscious, guiding him along. Diffuse sound, like whale song, warbles and recedes, ebbs and flows, like the ocean under the benevolent curse of the moon.
Coming on, it’s like sand shifting beneath his feet, fleeting deja vu, a flicker of terror, until finally, he surrenders and melts from one world to the other, time nothing more than a destination, no more predictable than a jazz guitarist, and all the more fantastic.