Per Contra Spring 2009 Light Verse Supplement


Back to Archives


Wiley Clements




How fortunate that I was hatched
a handsome wooly worm in
a tree with tender leaves to eat
and not some naked vermin
like that wriggler down below
whose life is but a term in
blindness, deafness, eating crud,
with only mud to squirm in.


The dryland toadís a dumpy lump
who uglifies the log
on which he plumps his stumpy rump.
Itís I that am the frog:
the undisputed prince of Jump,
the beauty of the bog!

Happy Birthday

In the restaurant I cringe
and my ribeye rare grows colder
when the waiters sing that song
to a diner one year older

Yet I tingle to remember
how the sultry Marilyn
sang the same to John Fitzgerald
making every word a sin.


Forma Poetica

Most villanelles are villainous,
sestinas supercilious.
Too often odes are odious,
epics too commodious,
triolets too literary,
limericks unsanitary.
Pindarics and Petrarchians
are not for us Ozarkians.
Better to rise and leave the room
than sit and suffer a French pantoum.

Ballads, whether said or sung,
better suit the Western tongue.
Some English sonnets assay well:
Jonson's and Johnson's (Lionel),
Spenser's and Shakespeare's. Twenty-four karats
each are Milton's, Keats' and Barrett's.
But formless poems are still the rage
I see, and sigh, and turn the page.


The traditional gravitational force equation is the product of two masses divided by the distance between them squared times "G," the universal gravitational constant. What we feel when standing is nominally this force. If the crust of the earth were not upholding us, we would free-fall toward the center of the planet.

The weight you feel on rising from your seat
is not your body only, but the planet.
Six sestillion tons pull at your feet
through forty leagues of sandstone, clay and granite
The ratio of your mass to that of Earth
still keeps you on the surface, but your menu
foretells a constant increase in your girth.
For now the laws of nature still defend you,
But stay as slender as you are, my dear.
A pudding more and you may disappear.




Wiley Clements lives in Lewisburg, PA, in retirement after a long career, first as a military journalist and later as a developer of health maintenance organizations (HMO's). Besides publishing in a good many print journals, anthologies and online magazines he published, in 2004, a collection of poems entitled Yesterday, or Long Ago.



© 2005-2009 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas