Friday, February 26, 2016

February DMC Wrap-Up + Giveaway

Photo: Larry and Teddy Page


Wouldn't that be awesome? But as much as I'd like to sit around a table with you all, we don't need to go to Kimball, South Dakota to satisfy our munchies. We've got an all-you-can-eat buffet of finger-lickin' ditties right here– home-cooked and hot off the griddle.

At the beginning of this month David L. Harrison challenged us to write poems inspired by the word "ditty." I learned more than I ever expected about these poetic morsels— what they are, how to write them, and oh, the stories these ditties can tell!
THANK YOU to everyone who contributed a poem this month and/or supported each other with comments and encouragement. Most especially, thanks to David Harrison who not only lit the burners, but also brought his own little ditty to the potluck.

We've got more ditties here than you can shake a fork at!
Tuck in your napkin and let's dig in...

All poems are © 2016 (unless otherwise noted) and published with permission of the authors, who control all rights.

     by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes (2013)

Hello! I am here
with the blog of the day—
another keen writer
with something to say.

I’m not much for rants
or lengthy tirades,
for tangents, or rambling,
or silly charades.

What I’ve got to say
can be said in a ditty—
brief and concise,
though it may not be pretty.

In fact, truth be known,
it may not make much sense.
“I yam what I yam”
is my only defense.

So welcome aboard,
glad to have you along
to this world I call life
chiseled down to a song.

Step 1: define your ditty...
     by Jane Yolen


(Too short to make an evening last.)


(Overthrow will set you free.)

Short poem
it seems,

(Very short and often sweet.)

“A short
or poem.”

(Verse soon over, bring it home.)

     by Jane Yolen

It’s not too deep
And seldom pretty,
Partly poem
And that’s a pity.

Takes a leap,
A high, a fall,
A lousy rhyme
Or two—that’s all.

Wont save the world,
Won’t change a mind,
Won’t move a mountain,
But you’ll find

An entertainment,
Sometimes witty.
Daft, and different.
That’s my ditty!

                                                  THAT'S NOT ALL, JANE.
                                                       by Kate O'Neil

                                                  And should a ditty
                                                  change a mind
                                                  and help someone
                                                  do something kind
                                                  you’d have to have
                                                  a second thought
                                                  for though a ditty
                                                  is quite short
                                                  it works just like
                                                  a butterfly
                                                  and might move mountains
                                                  by and by.
                                                  Simple words in
                                                  simple rhyme
                                                  can ripple to
                                                  the end of time.

                                                                                                   THAT'S NOT ALL, KATE.
                                                                                                        by Katie Gast

 And even if
                                                                                                   a ditty fails
                                                                                                   to move the world,
                                                                                                   that’s just details.

                                                                                                   For any ditty
                                                                                                   worth its salt
                                                                                                   will act just like
                                                                                                   a somersault

                                                                                                   will turn us over
                                                                                                   on our head
                                                                                                   will turn us back,
                                                                                                   upright, cheeks red.

                                                                                                   An exercise
                                                                                                   of mish-mash thoughts
                                                                                                   that might turn out
                                                                                                   to be ersatz.

     by Jane Yolen

It’s an ear worm,
A stitch
It’s a son
of an itch
It won’t leave you alone
For a minute.

You hear it
And then
It repeats
Once again,
It’s a dittyable

Makes you feel
And yet somewhat
Restating it
Gives you a

So you keep
On repeating
Your heart
Faster beating,
Each word in it
A surprise.

It’s surely an itch
You continue
to scratch
Till the blood
That you draw
Drowns the room.

And I tell you
That ditty,
Small, wicked
(not pretty)
will surely
lead you
to your doom.
                                                                                           MY LITTLE DITTY
                                                                                                by Martha O'Quinn

                                                                                           There's an itty, bitty ditty
                                                                                           that dwells inside my head,
                                                                                           it hangs with me the livelong day
                                                                                           then follows me to bed.

                                                                                           Come morning's light I do believe
                                                                                           it has returned from whence it came.
                                                                                           Then, oh no!  There's another itty bitty ditty
                                                                                           just a different tune and different name.

by Carol Varsalona

A short simple song
lingering tune
that makes my heart swoon.

Listen to this ditty sing (literally!) at Beyond Literacy Link.

     by Karen Eastlund

Little ditty
Why your verse
Feels so giddy
Why your tempo
And rhyme
Fill our heads

Though your bloodline’s
Perhaps some
Feel disdain
But most find you
On rerun instead

Little ditty
There’s no need
For pity
We love all your
Whimsy and bounce

When we hear
Your refrain
We don’t cringe
Or complain
We just join you for fun
That’s what counts!

                                                 SPEAKETH DITTY
                                                      by Michelle Kogan

                                                 Dainty ditty did you hear? 
                                                 Someone asked about your essence...
                                                 Dear ditty, do speak to me,
                                                 Shine on me your luminescence.

                                                 Take your shape within my thoughts,
                                                 No lollygagging, let’s advance.
                                                 I do declare it’s that time,
                                                 Perchance, please conjure your presence.

                                                 Are you light or are you dark?
                                                 Dearest, or ungrateful gadfly?
                                                 Climbing out of depths defied...
                                                 Critiquing now, I do decry!

                                                 What, you say, a bit louder,
                                                 Stand up tall. Begin. Be witty.
                                                 Take my turn, make it pretty...
                                                 Make my splash, speaketh My Ditty!

                                                                                                                     DAINTY DITTY
                                                                                                                          by Jessica Bigi
                                                                                                                     Dainty songs
                                                                                                                     Allusive voices
                                                                                                                     Interdentals melody
                                                                                                                     New songs
                                                                                                                     Tunes carried
                                                                                                                     Yodels pitches
                                                                                                                     Delightful harmony
                                                                                                                     Imaginative lyrics
                                                                                                                     Timeless favorites
                                                                                                                     Tranquil notes
                                                                                                                     Yesteryears remembered

     by Linda Baie

It might be a song
of rhyming words sweet,
or relaxing music
while rocking to sleep.
A to-and-fro sound
like love back and forth
takes time to go round
as a ditty.

Or it could be a rhyme
in the bright morning sun
for a dance in the kitchen
when breakfast is done.
We can sing it through chores
while we sweep and sway,
then we’ll skip outside
humming into the day
with a ditty.

Whatever you choose,
with your voice or a tap
the ordinary notes
fit a warm, cozy lap.
For a child getting sleepy
with words spoken low,
there’s no better thing
than a song that we know.
It’s a ditty!

                                                            GRANDMA'S DITTIES
                                                                 by Linda Mitchell

                                                            In the history of ditties
                                                            there’s none so silly
                                                            as those Grandma knows
                                                            from when she was young.

                                                                 Tap tap-tap tap tap, tap TAP!
                                                                 Shave and-a haircut, two bits

                                                            When running a bath
                                                            She makes me laugh
                                                            with a cheerful sea-side tune.

                                                                 By the sea, by the sea
                                                                 by the beautiful sea,
                                                                 you and me, you and me
                                                                 oh how happy we’ll be.

                                                           And what about
                                                           my first day of school tummy?
                                                           Full of butterfly nerves tummy?
                                                           Her wisdom in song
                                                           helps me along.

                                                                Make new friends
                                                                but keep the old
                                                                one is silver
                                                                but the other gold.

                                                           And sometimes
                                                           at bedtime
                                                           Gran is outrageous
                                                           as I pull on my PJ’s
                                                           and brush my teeth
                                                           she’ll call out a ditty
                                                           that no joke can beat.

                                                                Fatty and Skinny had a race
                                                                Up and down the pillow case
                                                                Fatty shouted it’s not fair
                                                                Skinny lost his underwear!

                                                           I giggle and wriggle
                                                           into bed for the night,
                                                           pull up the covers and
                                                           turn out the light.
                                                           Grandma sings a ditty
                                                           before I sleep:

                                                                I love you
                                                                a bushel and a peck
                                                                a bushel and a peck
                                                                and a kiss around
                                                                the neck.

                                                           If I’m ever a Gran,
                                                           it’s my plan
                                                           to be a little silly
                                                           with those I love.
                                                           Tapping, singing, rhyming too
                                                           If there’s ever time
                                                           for a little ditty or two.

Step 2: the finer points of ditty composition...

                            HOW TO WRITE A DITTY
                                 by Buffy Silverman

                            A ditty should be witty
                            And a ditty should be short.
                            If a ditty isn’t witty
                            then a reader will not snort.

                            When a Valentine’s a ditty
                            bake it sweet as chocolate torte.
                            (Leave the grime and gritty for a senate subcommittee–
                            it’s a pity when a ditty is an odious retort.)

                            But if your ditty starts to wander through a thicket, through a city
                            and you’ve lost your sticky wicket and you get a speeding ticket–

                            STOP! You must abort!

     by Rosi Hollinbeck

I tried to write a ditty
but it wasn’t very pretty.
When I read it to my kitty,
he howled and slashed the couch.

I tried to make in stronger
but it just seemed to get longer.
Tried to make it like a song or
something sweet, but I’m a slouch.

I try to make the words rhyme
and make the meter keep time
but it turns out when I don’t I’m
lashing out, a nasty grouch.

Fiddle dee and fiddle dum.
My meter’s like a broken drum.
Maybe I best just keep mum.
My poetic muse will vouch.

                                                                            DITTY LOVE
                                                                                 by Janie Lazo

                                                                            Inside my head- a poem- a song.
                                                                            Sometimes they're short; sometimes quite long.
                                                                            These ditties come and must be shared.
                                                                            A ditty here- a ditty there.
                                                                            They do the things that ditties do-
                                                                            They make us laugh; they make us blue.
                                                                            I jot them on the go a lot,
                                                                            Pull off the road - write down that thought.
                                                                            I fear I've caught a ditty bug.
                                                                            The tell-tale sign?  Pure ditty love!

                       THE SILENT DITTY
                            by Leane Gill

                       Keats wrote of a "silent ditty."
                       A ditty with "no tone."                                     
                       Is the unsung melody more splendid?    
                       The unspoken word exceedingly exquisite?
                       Beauty just outside our grasp, impossible to capture.
                       Escapes our voice
                       And becomes our silent ditty.

                                                                                                                    Wheelbarrow tracks
                                                                                                                    the soft, garden mud.

                                                                                                                    Having rained
                                                                                                                    three nights ago
                                                                                                                    the dirt
                                                                                                                    is like modeling clay.

                                                                                                                    Straight, simple
                                                                                                                    obtuse, acute, right angles

                                                                                                                    father would be
                                                                                                                    geometry in the soil

                                                                                                                    Wheelbarrow tracks
                                                                                                                    parallel lines
                                                                                                                    in which I compose a ditty.

                                                                                                                    – Jone Rush MacCulloch

DITTY (an acrostic of sorts)

dash dit dit
dit dit
dash dit dash dash

by:   dash dit dit   dash dash   dit dash   dash dit dash dash   dit dash dit

– Diane Mayr

– cbhanek

     by Kathleen Mazurowski

Play a little ditty.
Sing a little ditty.
Strum a little ditty, do.

Hum a little ditty.
Clap a little ditty.
Dance a little ditty, too.

Read a little ditty.
Write a little ditty.
Act a little ditty, boo.

Learn a little ditty.
Watch a little ditty.
Listen . . . This little ditty's for you.

                                                                 ITTY WITTY DITTY
                                                                      by Michelle Kogan

                                                                 Ditty dum, ditty dum, ditty dum dum dum
                                                                 Ditty do, ditty do, ditty do do do
                                                                 Itty ooo, itty ooo, itty ooo ooo ooo
                                                                 Witty wooooo, witty ditty tooo!

Step 3: every ditty has a story...

                        A PIRATE DITTY:
                FAR BETTER THAN GOLD
                           by Mindy Gars Dolandis

                     Well shiver me timbers
                     Ahoy Davey Jones
                     I’m in love with a pirate
                     Right down to me bones
                     He’s fit as a fiddle
                     Courageous and bold
                     A most precious treasure
                     Far better than gold

                     With sapphire eyes
                     Deep blue like the sea
                     And ruby red lips
                     Sweet honey they be
                     Long hair black as onyx
                     On top of his pate
                     He’s my Jolly Roger
                     And I’m his first mate

                     We sail through to sunset
                     When evening is near
                     I’m rich as a queen
                     Beside my buccaneer
                     Yon stars be like diamonds
                     Full moon is on high
                     The sea is becalmed
                     ‘Neath a dark violet sky

                     Yea shiver me timbers
                     Ahoy Davey Jones
                     I’m in love with a pirate
                     Right down to me bones
                     No luckier wench
                     On this earth I am told
                     For I’ve found a treasure
                     Far better than gold

                                                                               JENNY DUMP'D ME
                                                                                    [A paroditty of Leigh Hunt's "Jenny Kiss'd Me"]

                                                                               Jenny dump’d me when we met,
                                                                               Bolting from the store she walked in;
                                                                               Time, that burglar, stole my pet
                                                                               Seconds after I had clocked in.
                                                                               Say I’m happy nonetheless.
                                                                               Say that life has not speed-bump’d me.
                                                                               Say whatever. I confess,
                                                                               Jenny dump’d me.

                                                                               – J. Patrick Lewis

     by David L. Harrison

Hear them now,
carrying on like monkeys,
climbing those ropes,
singing their ditties, off key
as gulls squabbling over handouts.
Ah, the life at sea.

Me, I’m sung out,
my bones ache,
can’t walk straight.
Traded ditties long ago
for a ditty bag.
No home behind,
no wife waiting.
Gave up all that
for a life at sea.

All I own is on my back,
or in this bag –
leather punch, needles,
twine, tape –
the rich rewards
of a life at sea.

Wind’s up,
old hull is creaking
like it knows what I know –
all that’s left
is one more day,
and one more day,
and one more day
of a life at sea.

                                                  A DITTY
                                                       by Donna JT Smith

                                                  A ditty for my love
                                                  Who’s gone so far away
                                                  I’ll sing a pretty ditty,
                                                  Doleful ditty for each day.

                                                  He’s packed his bitty ditty bag,
                                                  And headed off to sea
                                                  'Tis such a gritty pity
                                                  For so long away he’ll be.

                                                  He’ll be singing his own ditty
                                                  As he rides the fearsome blue;
                                                  But hope that we will marry when
                                                  He says, “I’m back for you!”

                                                  He’ll open up the ditty bag
                                                  To show the wedding ring
                                                  He’ll put it on my finger and
                                                  A new tune I will sing

                                                  Our ditties soon will have to change
                                                  To kitties and to spoon
                                                  To Jack Be Nimbles and the cow
                                                  That jumped over the moon

                                                  For soon the sailor ditties
                                                  And my pity ditties sung
                                                  Will change to baby ditties,
                                                  And bitty didies will be hung!

                                                                                              PENELOPE'S DITTY
                                                                                                    by Catherine Flynn

                                                                                              A parrot named Penelope
                                                                                              grew restless, bored, and fluttery.

                                                                                              She longed to soar over the ocean blue,
                                                                                              not sit in a cage like a stuffed statue.

                                                                                              Spreading her silky feathers wide,
                                                                                              she caught the breeze and began to glide.

                                                                                              Above an island, volcanic and steamy,
                                                                                              she met her mate, oh so dreamy!

                                                                                              Now nestled on her balcony
                                                                                              in the lush rainforest canopy,

                                                                                              she primps, she preens and looks so pretty,
                                                                                              visits with friends, is charming and witty.

                                                                                              Happy to be footloose and free,
                                                                                              Always singing her sweet little ditty!

     by Suzy Levinson

King Kong (Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933)
Me gorilla and me pretty!
When me show up in the city,
all the peoples stop to stare!

Peoples screaming at my beauty!
So me bid them HOWDY DOODY
as me swingy through the air!

Me climb up this shiny thingy!
Look, a bird with metal wingy
want to touch my pretty hair.

                                                                              by Bridget Magee

                                                                         There once was a poet from Kalamazoo
                                                                         Whose poetry reading got a mixed review
                                                                         While performing a ditty
                                                                         This lyricist got spitty
                                                                         And the front row was wishing for tissue

     by Kristi Dee Veitenheimer

There once was a lady who wrote                                          
short simple rhymes in a note.                                                                   
Twas such a pity
that each little ditty
often got stuck in her throat.     

Whenever she tried to recite one,
whether fairy tale, fable, or pun,
the words that were listed
would always get twisted,
tying her tongue in a bun.

So one day the lady decided
the beautiful words she provided,
should only be read
in somebody’s head,
so no one would then be misguided.

The lady continued to write
each night until dawn’s breaking light.
Known to be witty,
each little ditty
brought children’s loud squeals of delight.

                                                                                   DITTY YARD DASH
                                                                                        by Brenda Davis Harsham

                                                                                   On your marks,
                                                                                   get set,
                                                                                   dash, Ditty, go,
                                                                                   Ditty, sprint!
                                                                                   Ditty know
                                                                                   You're the one,
                                                                                   You can do it!
                                                                                   Ditty won!

Frankly, I think we all won—
such a scrumptious batch of ditties!

"Roadside Ditty" by Andrew Taylor

How 'bout one for the road? 
                       Take two, they're small.

Newsflash! This just in from Matt Forrest Esenwine:

                    I could've written something dark,
                    mysterious and gritty.
                    I could've penned a couple lines
                    about a little kitty.
                    I could've shared a country song
                    I wrote for Conway Twitty,
                    or even just one stanza
                    all about the Windy City.
                    I could have spent some time composing
                    such a charming ditty...
                    alas, I never had the chance.
                    It's really such a pity.

Pity shmitty! You have until Monday, February 29th to send your "ditty"-inspired ditty 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 copy of NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON'T: Poems About Creatures That Hide, by David L. Harrison and illustrated by Giles Laroche (Charlesbridge, 2016). One entry per participant, not per poem.

Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below.

Earn an additional entry for the giveaway by contributing a poem inspired by the word "leaves" to David's Word of the Month challenge, HERE.

If you contribute a poem on Today's Little Ditty, on David's blog, and comment below you will earn three entries in total. You have until Monday, February 29th, to submit a poem here or on David's blog; comments must be received no later than Tuesday, March 1st.

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

Looking for your muse? S/he's likely hanging out at the Poetry Friday roundup, hosted this week by Liz Steinglass.

Tabatha Yeatts also has a celebration today at The Opposite of Indifference: a poem-match extravaganza!  (So happy to be included, Tabatha!)