Friday, August 28, 2015

August DMC Wrap-Up + Giveaway

Welcome to a feast   ...but not just any feast.

A feast fit for a dragon!    ...but not just any dragon.

Welcome to our feast for the old dragon who swallowed a knight ...and just about everything else he could stretch his jaws around.

"Can I get some ketchup with that?"

Today's luncheon celebration is a buffet of couplets: a cumulative poem that resulted from Penny Parker Klostermann's DMC challenge to come up with things we might feed the old dragon to avoid being swallowed ourselves.

I didn't quite know what to expect coming into this month, but what a terrific turnout! Dragon's belly may be bottomless, but it's not for lack of rhymed verse. The couplets were imaginative and all over the map. Wrangling more than a hundred of them into one story arc was a dragon-sized struggle all its own! I think you'll agree, though, it was worth the effort.   

Special thanks to Penny for feeding our muses with such a delectable challenge. And, if you were one of the many writers who participated, THANK YOU for joining in the lighthearted fun. Please know that I tried to keep contributions "unmolested" (only minor editing), but sometimes I did need to juggle the couplets around a bit to ensure that the story made sense.

Did I succeed? You be the judge.

All couplets are copyright 2015, and published with permission of the authors, who control all rights.

There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed . . .

                    Things from my refrigerator.
                    Albert Allen’s alligator.

                    Mr. Tobin’s fresh grown squash.
                    Edamame succotash.

                    Bacon, sausage, juicy steak.
                    Pudding, pies, and birthday cake.   (Penny Parker Klostermann)

                    Peanut butter mixed with jelly
                    spread on slices of pork belly.   (Patricia Podlipec)

                    Gold Rush apples, heirloom beets.
                    Free-range eggs, organic meats.   (Mary Lee Hahn)

                    Mashed potatoes, lima beans.
                    Guacamole, garden greens.   (Pat ...last name, please?)

                    A little salsa fiery and red
                    to fuel the fire inside his head.

                    Then gallons of sweet, sweet southern tea
                    to soothe the beast, and a smile for me?   (Martha O'Quinn)

                              Er... maybe not. Forget the smile.
                              This dragon will be here a while.   (M. H. Barnes)

                    Spinach-flavored ice cream treats.
                    Pizza topped with pickled beets.

                    Foot-long hot dogs swallowed whole.
                    Caesar Salad with the bowl.

                    Fresh-picked corn, cob, husks and silk,
                    and gallon jugs of chocolate milk.   (Vivian Kirkfield)

                    Sardine cookies topped with cheese.
                    Sixteen cups of black-eyed peas.

                    Baked Alaska, mincemeat pie.
                    Fifty flapjacks stacked up high.

                    Deviled eggs with okra bits.
                    Prunes complete with stony pits.

                    Chowder thick with chewy clams.
                    Salty, fat Virginia hams.   (LeeAnn Blankenship)

                    Maple syrup, really thick,
                    and a hot dog on a stick.

                    Peanut butter, black-eyed peas.
                    Old bananas, holey cheese.

                    Chocolate sauce, bacon strips.
                    Mustard and potato chips.

                    Green onion dip, sardines in tins.
                    Pepperoni, plump raisins.   (Joy Acey)

                    A mug of noodle soup to slurp
                    and cucumbers to raise a burp.

                    Some cookies sporting chocolate chips.
                    Maine lobster roll and New York strips.

                    A bit of burnt marshmallow stuff,
                    dark-roasted by a dragon's puff.   (Donna JT Smith)

                    Fizzy currant lemonade.
                    Magic pudding mother made.   (Maria Marshall)

                    And then some goodies so unique,
                    he tried to make them last a week:

                    Chocolate double-dipped rainbow.
                    Sunshine pie, topped with snow.

                    Baby giggle-glazed cupcakes.
                    Unicorn snort-frosted flakes.   (Tabatha Yeatts)

                    Spaghetti straps, Par-cheese-y and
                    Pool noodles and sweet Candy Land.   (Donna JT Smith)

                    Gravel candy, mud pudding pies.
                    Bushels of leaves that fall from the sky.

                    Lighting bugs that made his breath glow,
                    Then some roller-skates and he rolled down the road.   (Jessica Bigi)

                              Dear readers, I'll let you deduce
                              WHAT WAS IN THAT MAGIC MOUSSE?!!

       Just as he was was slowing down,
     a deep-fried feast from outside town
     wafted in on summer's breeze,
     bringing Dragon to his knees.

     With newfound vigor, pep, and zeal, 
     he winged his way to his next meal.   (M. H. Barnes)

                    Bacon-wrapped turkey leg.
                    Lemonade, corn dog, a keg.

                    Coke and deep fried butter balls...

                    (quick stop at the restroom stalls)

                    funnel cake, chocolate éclair –

                    I really think he liked our fair.   (Christine Rodenbour)

     Then all at once it dawned on me,
     we need a different strategy.
     Instead of food that satisfies,
     let's feed him ones that he'll despise!   (M. H. Barnes)

                    Moldy cheese and stale bread.
                    Cauliflower by the head.   (Rosi Hollinbeck)

                    Droopy lettuce, dressing on.
                    One half eaten slimy prawn. 

                    Chocolate covered pancake stack.
                    Stinky cod fish on its back.   (Ellen Leventhal)

                    Leftover green rabbit stew.
                    A fat vole, or maybe two.   (Maria Marshall)

                    Fermented juice, sour milk.
                    Moldy bits of months-old elk.   (Laura Law)

                    Pumpkinseeds and dragonflies.
                    Fishy eggs and froggy eyes.

                    Muskrat pie and rattlesnake.
                    The broken dock from down the lake.   (Buffy Silverman)

                    My dirty clothes and stinky socks,
                    and mudpies made with chocolate rocks.

                    My grandma's old refrigerator.
                    The rocket of a space invader.   (Gayle Krause)

     Suddenly, the rocket fired!
     Now he's hungry AND inspired...   (M. H. Barnes)

                    My keyboard letters - gulp- oh my!
                    He's burping words and I know why.   (Janie Lazo)

                    All my precious picture books!
                    And all the world’s untasty crooks.

                    Barking dogs and cozy cats.
                    Cowboy boots and tall straw hats.

                    And to slow that pony down,
                    a pony-riding circus clown!   (Sandy Lowe)

                    A sack of toys, the Naughty list.
                    An irate elf with shaking fist.

                    The Grinch, The Lorax, and a Who.
                    Dr. Seuss, Things One and Two.   (Carol H. Crane)

                    Mary's little lamb in stew.
                    Little Muffett's spider, too.

                    Characters from fairy tales.
                    Even Jack's full water pails.   (Kristi Dee Veitenheimer)

                    Concrete, bricks and silverware.
                    Sweet Rapunzel’s golden hair.   (Kathleen Mazurowski)

                    Damsel dumplings in distress,
                    rescued from an Eton Mess.

                    Rattlesnake and python stew,

                    rubbery and hard to chew.   (Suzanne Olivante)

                    A golden horn from Little Boy Blue.
                    From Cinderella, her dancing shoe.

                    Leaves from a bean stalk that Jack grew.

                    Red Riding Hood's cape and basket too.   (Joy Acey)

     Dragon hungered for adventure –
     overseas, the villain ventured...   (M. H. Barnes)

                                        "I’ll scour ye water's tasty treats.
                                         Octopi eye, such lovely sweets!

                                         Come hither eels don’t be afraid.
                                         Slurrrrrp, an anemone parade.

                                         Rrrumble tummy, yes! Feed me more...
                                         Napoleon wrasse I adore.

                                         Mola mola yum, slip right in,
                                         love your chewy pectoral fin."   (Michelle Kogan)

     He reached the shores of Italy
     (though still as famished as could be).

     Whose door should Dragon knock upon?
     Our friend, Renée. Please do tell on...   (M. H. Barnes)

                                       "The first thing he did was study each nook–
                                        and then began swallowing book after book.

                                        I shooed him outside where he went all berserk.

                                        He swallowed my tools and disrupted my work.

                                        He swallowed my sander; ’twas truly grotesque.

                                        Then he swallowed the whole of my grandmother’s desk.

                                        He singed my hydrangeas, my daisies and quince.

                                        He swallowed hot peppers and didn’t once wince!

                                        We tried to entice him with pizza and sauce.

                                        But that only made him more snappish and cross.

                                        He flew down the street, where he swallowed a field.

                                        The people protested, the sunflowers squealed.

                                        What happened next I am loath to disclose…

                                        he swallowed a boy from his head to his toes!"   (Renée LaTulippe)

          Poor Renée's had quite enough,
          so I'll report the other stuff:   (M. H. Barnes)

                    Some extra dill pickles, the jar and lid too.
                    Leftover lasagna, and Tiramisu.   (Leane Gill) 

                    Some chocolate pie, banana fritter
                    (he spared the family babysitter).

                    The TV and the cottonwood tree
                    (both certified to be fat-free).

                    A moonbeam and the setting sun,

                    then Dragon said, "Oh my, what fun!"   (George Heidenrich)

                    A snack before he hit the hay…
                    in one fell swoop, HE ATE RENÉE!

     Then into bed, at last he parked,
     and dragon dreams soon popped and sparked.

     Next morning he recalled the feast
     we offered up to quell the beast.
     His hunger roared; his belly rumbled.
     "I'm going back," the dragon mumbled.

     But this time when he came to town,
     no one fussed or hung around.
     Sullen and a bit bereft,
     he helped himself to what was left:   (M. H. Barnes)

                    Grandma's huckleberry jam.
                    A dozen eggs, a can of Spam.   (George Heidenrich)

                    My cat’s canned food: Macaroni Mixed Grill.
                    Nana’s dragon soup and fish oil pills.   (Linda Mitchell)

                    The cupboard was bare as he took the last bite,
                    but he still hadn’t sated his big appetite.

                    He tasted a toaster, which was so delicious,
                    he ate the appliances, flatware and dishes.

                    The rest of my house was his luncheon buffet.
                    He swallowed the sheets and the bed and duvet.   (Mindy Gars Dolandis)

                    The pants, the overalls and shirts,
                    then socks and undies, blouses, skirts.

                    Sheets and towels, the clothespins crunched.
                    In goes the line; the wash - all munched.   (Linda Baie)

                    He chewed up the couches, recliners and tables.
                    Computers, TVs and electrical cables.

                    He snacked on the bathtub and, quick as a wink,
                    he savored the shower, the toilet, the sink.

                    He feasted inside the utility room
                    on washer and dryer and vacuum and broom.

                    He flew out the door but he didn’t get far,
                    ingesting a bicycle, trash can and car.

                    He gobbled the grass and the trees and the roses,
                    the patio furniture, sprinklers and hoses.

                    And after his dragonly pig out fiesta,
                    he lay in the sun for a noon time siesta.   (Mindy Gars Dolandis)

...or is it???

Here's an alternate ending, provided by Alayne Kay Christian:

                    And with a giant dragon smile
                    he ate my dirty laundry pile,

                    and greasy, grimy, dishes stack
                    along with clean ones in the rack.

                    This dragon maid could eat and eat.
                    I took a seat, put up my feet,

                    forgot the housework for a while,
                    and smiled a giant dragon smile.

 (I may have to hire Dragon to swallow my household chores!)            

Carol Varsalona gives Dragon the last word:

                    "You think I'm done but stick around
                    I haven't touched your luscious town."

Another fun ending, from Donna JT Smith:

                    Belching, burping bits of flame
                    Dragon felt no spark of shame

                    He doused the heat with Pepto Bismol
                    So he wouldn't feel so dismal

                    Vowed to forego those tasty fritters
                    And next time try some babysitters.

And this just in... 
          from Penny, our fearless ringleader dragonmaster: 

Just so you can rest easy at night and not worry that dragon may be lurking in your kitchen, I leave you with these reassuring couplets:
I just spied my dragon. He’s wiping his chin.
He has no restraint. I must rein him in.

He’s swallowed all month with hearty August-o—
each mouthful, each morsel, each crumb, and each crust-o.

So thank you fair writers—ye poets, ye sages
for plenteous bounty outside his book’s pages.

And as for you, Dragon, “Get back here, forthright!
Your story’s beginning. Here comes the knight.”

Phew! That was a lot of om-nom-nomming! 

If you'd like to add your couplet(s) to the story, you have until Monday, August 31st.  Send your lines to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

Participants in this month's challenge will be automatically entered to win a personalized copy of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle. (One entry per participant, not per couplet.)

Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below.  If you contribute a couplet and comment below you will earn two entries in total. Comments must be be received by Tuesday, September 1st.

The winner will be determined by and announced next Friday, September 4th, when we reveal our new Spotlight ON interview and ditty challenge.

Good luck!

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by the incomparable Sylvia Vardell at Poetry For Children.


  1. Thank you for such an entertaining challenge, Penny. You did a great job making the narrative flow, Michelle. You turned it into quite an epic tale!

  2. Michelle,
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This was a delish month for dragon and celebratory month for me.

    Just so you can rest easy at night and not worry that dragon may be lurking in your kitchen, I leave you with these reassuring couplets:

    I just spied my dragon. He’s wiping his chin.
    He has no restraint. I must rein him in.

    He’s swallowed all month with hearty August-o—
    each mouthful, each morsel, each crumb, and each crust-o.

    So thank you fair writers—ye poets, ye sages
    for plenteous bounty outside his book’s pages.

    And as for you, Dragon, “Get back here, forthright!
    Your story’s beginning. Here comes the knight.”

    1. Phew! I do feel better now. Thanks Penny. Though my house is a bit of a shambles with or without Dragon's help... also need to pick up some groceries, actually.

      I've added your wonderful lines to the post– love that last one, especially. You're so clever! :)

    2. I only intended to relieve any angst you might have over Dragon raining on future DMC parades, but thanks for adding it, Michelle.

  3. I can't even imagine trying to put all of that together as seamlessly as you did, Michelle. You are a rock star!

    1. Thanks so much, Kristi. You should have seen me shuffling around all my little bits of paper. In the end, it was just a big ol' puzzle. Luckily, I like puzzles. :)

  4. Thanks for the post-script, Penny! Whew :-)
    I'm glad he spared the babysitter.
    You did a great job with the transitional stanzas, Michelle!

    1. Thanks, Tabatha. I'm glad about sparing the babysitter, too. Though for the life of me, I can't imagine why.

  5. I loved your words at all the transitions, Michelle. This is wonderfully done, so many "cool" things to say, and no Alka Seltzer for that gluttony dragon! I loved ""I'm going back," the dragon mumbled." He just wouldn't quit, but happy to see that Penny reined him in! Both endings are fun.

    1. Thank you, Linda. Alka Seltzer would have been a great addition! And aren't Penny's final couplets great? I find it hard to believe she wrote them at 6 am this morning, so I think she was holding out on me. ;)

    2. I wrote them at the crack of dawn! Your compilation of the couplets inspired me and brought my muse a-running!

  6. Michelle, your talent for blending a tale to make sense is awesome in light of the epic nature of this story. This post was loaded with fun to start my morning.

    Dragon Fun continues:
    You think I'm done but stick around
    I haven't touched your luscious town.

    1. Thanks, Carol. Fun's always good on a Friday morning! I like to start my weekends early. :)

    2. And thanks for your couplet too! I've added it to the post.

  7. Great fun! Thank you Penny and Michelle for putting this together, and thank you to all the poets who contributed such zany lines.

  8. OMG! What a torturously delightful FEAST! Brilliant couplets, brilliant job of stringing them together into a narrative arc, Michelle. Such fun! (But poor Renee!) Penny's ending couplets are perfection too.

    Bravo!!! **thunderous applause**

  9. Bravo Michelle for stringing together Dragon's treacherous tale, and Penny, for reigning in that dastardly dragon!

    1. Poor dragon's not treacherous, just misunderstood... until he finds my chocolate stash. Then he's in BIG trouble.

  10. Oh that was a humongous list! So much fun to read! Awesome challenge and awesome way to pull it together.

    Belching, burping bits of flame
    Dragon felt no spark of shame
    He doused the heat with Pepto Bismal
    So he wouldn't feel so dismal
    Vowed to forego those tasty fritters
    And next time try some babysitters.

    1. Thanks, Diane! Thanks for that spelling correction! I had dismal on the brain!

    2. It's always fun having you take part, Donna! :)

  11. It's made my head spin, and my stomach a little queasy, but I'm glad I went along for the ride!

    Pepto Bismol all around--my treat!

    1. I may have to take you up on that Bismol, Diane. Dragon already guzzled mine. ;)

  12. That was amazing. Michelle, you did such a good job of making a story out of it. It should be a picture book--or several! Kudos to everyone who played along.

    1. Thanks, Violet. What do you think, Penny, does DRAGON need a sequel? ;) I think it's pretty safe to assume we exceeded the standard 32 page limit. though.

    2. I think Dragon will probably forego the sequel. He will just start over every time a knight on an annoying steed comes clippity-clopping by.

  13. This is SO FUN! I love all the contributions and how you've woven them all together in such a fun way. I bet this is a hoot to read aloud, too! Thanks for coming to play for Poetry Friday, too. Thanks all around for all you do!

    1. Thanks, Sylvia. It's amazing what can happen when folks work together... but you know all about that! :)

  14. Wow! An epic feast. An epic poem. Thanks to Penny for setting such a fun challenge and to Michelle for weaving her wordy magic through the great dragon menu. I loved reading everyone's flavoursome contributions

    1. "Flavoursome contributions" – love it! Epic thanks for taking part, Suzanne. :)

  15. That was just exhausting in the way a roller coaster ride exhausts you, full on exhilaration!

  16. I Loved all the poem the one with all the old fairytale was so clever it is amazing how they all fit together wonderful and fun :) I remember making mud pies when I was little that way I thought of that line

    1. Thanks, Jessica. Making mud pies is a happy memory for me too. Well, they were actually more like sand cakes (made in a sandbox), but just as much fun!

  17. This was fun - and I love the way you have tied it all together. Bravo!

  18. I love the way you wove these all together! What a puzzle for you...I'm imagining you with each one printed on an index card, spread out all over the living room floor! Your interjections and segues were fabulous.

    1. Thanks so much, Mary Lee. You're not far off with your imaginings! (I used the dining room table.)

  19. I can't believe how this turned out. Everyone offered such fun couplets. And wonderful job linking the various couplets, Michelle. This was an excellent idea, Penny. I loved getting to hear you read THERE WAS A DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT yesterday. I've said it before, but I will say it again, it's a great book!

    1. Thanks, Alayne. How I wish I could have been there! I hope Penny takes her show on the road to Florida. :)

    2. Thanks so much, Alayne. It was great to meet you :•)

  20. Wowser! What a lot of fun that was. And, I suspect, a lot of work for you to sort out and put together in such a clever way. Thanks, Michelle.