This blog is getting eco-friendlier and eco-friendlier. No longer content to recycle my own content, I’m now recycling other people’s content from five years ago. I hope Wendell Berry is reading this.

In 2006 Sally Apokedak (yes, that Sally Apokedak) ran a Feechie Love Poem contest on her blog. She suggested that we reprise it around here. I like that idea, except that this contest will not have prizes. Or, in any case, your prize will be the satisfaction of knowing that you have contributed to American letters, which is a heap better than a signed book any day.

If you know much about feechiefolks, you probably know that they are a poetic bunch. Always composing and reciting and singing. In The Secret of the Swamp King, Book 2 of the Wilderking trilogy, Branko sings a love song that goes like this:

My sweet feechie girl is the swamp’s finest pearl —
A treasure, and man don’t I know it.
And I really do think that she loves me too,
Though she don’t always know how to show it.

Her brown eyes are dark like a loblolly’s bark.
Her skin is as smooth as a gator.
The one time I kissed her, she knocked me cold, mister.
But nothing could cause me to trade her.

She smells just as sweet as a mud turtle’s feet.
Her hair is as soft as a possum.
Once I walked by her side, but she knocked me cross-eyed.
It took me a week to un-cross ’em.

Her voice is as pleasin’ as swamp lily season
She talks kind of froggy and crickety.
Once I give her a rose, and she busted my nose.
My sweetie can be right persnickety.

I’ll give you this warning: you mess with my darling,
I’ll whop you a right, then a left.
And if that ain’t enough, or if you’re extra tough,
I might let her whup you herself.

As you can see, a feechie love poem follows a very regular pattern of four-line stanzas: two lines praising the beloved’s appeal (in feechiefied terms). One line about how the narrator tries to show his love. A fourth line which the beloved misunderstands and beats him up. As for meter and rhyme, it’s 12-8-12-8, internal rhyme on lines 1 and 3, end rhyme on lines 2 and 4.

In the above poem, the first and last poems are bookends, their content not quite conforming to the format. But in between, the stanzas are accordion-like; the stanzas are easily replicable, and the poem can expand to fit as many stanzas as you like.

Your assignment for Audience Participation Friday is to add to the body of feechie love poetry by composing a stanza of your own. It’s a great way to honor someone you love; I think you’ll find it addictive.

  • Sally Apokedak
    1:09 PM, 10 June 2011

    Ha. I love that picture of Aaron. And the girl (his daughter?) is such an impressive actress. 
    Yee haw, let the games begin. I’ll be wasting time all day coming up with feechie love poems now. 

    I don’t understand the 12-8 stuff, but hey, not knowing what I’m doing has never stopped me before, so I shan’t let it stop me now.

    • Aaron Roughton
      5:06 PM, 10 June 2011

      Yes, one of my daughters, both of whom are gifted actresses.  I have had my eyebrows waxed and my teeth fixed since this picture was made, however.

  • Becca
    1:57 PM, 10 June 2011

    Oh my goodness.

  • Anonymous
    3:13 PM, 10 June 2011

    I let out a whistle for my cuddly thistle;A wink to my whiskery lass.
    But instead of a hug, I got whapped like a bug,
    And told she’ll take none of my sass.

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:46 AM, 11 June 2011

      The whiskery lass…a classic trope in feechie love poetry. 

  • Mbrown
    3:27 PM, 10 June 2011

    I told her she’s sweet as Canadian peetand her hair hung like gray Spanish moss
    I tried to tell her, I’d be her feller
    but had to run from the rock that she tossed

  • Jonathan Rogers
    3:30 PM, 10 June 2011

    Yes! These first two are great. Keep them coming.

  • mistasila
    4:07 PM, 10 June 2011

    Beauty, my beauty smiles pretty as a butterfly,Eyes, eyeing me make me warm within,
    Before, I could smile she turned and looked away,
    Even, my touch she frowned upon as sin.

    • Sally Apokedak
      7:06 PM, 10 June 2011

      I don’t know…I think one’s just a little too sophisticated. It’s good, it’s good. But maybe not smelly enough…or something. 

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:49 AM, 11 June 2011

      Sally’s right, mistasila. This is perhaps the most sophisticated feechie love poetry ever written.

  • Sally Apokedak
    4:25 PM, 10 June 2011

    OK here’s my first try…not nearly gross enough, but I’m trying to do some work in between feechie love poems. I can’t wait to see what brilliance Becca comes up with. Und wo is Jess?
    My swamp sweetie’s cute, as a horse’s patoot.

    Her feet are as big as canoes.

    I promised my love, and she gave me a shove

    And a punch that left a nice bruise.

  • Sharon
    5:01 PM, 10 June 2011

    My darlin’s so lovely; her beauty’s above me

    The bugs love to come for a whiff

    I drew her a picture, her essence to capture

    But I just couldn’t do scratch ’n ’ sniff

  • mark sims
    5:37 PM, 10 June 2011

    My Toadie, she’s bigger’n a potbellied pigger,Her mane is as fine as a fork.
    When I purse up my lips, then she breaks both my hips,
    But, man, how I love me some pork.

  • Drew
    6:12 PM, 10 June 2011

    Ah, I remember reading this passage to my kids when we were tackling book 2. I have no idea what tune you had in mind, JR, but it didn’t matter, because my kids were begging me to stop singing anyway.

  • Anonymous
    6:35 PM, 10 June 2011

    I flat told her, “Your eyes are as purdy as flies;Your skin like a salamander.”
    As I awaited a smooch, she sicked on her pooch,
    For she cared not for me candor. 

  • Winterwrens
    8:23 PM, 10 June 2011

    To the grime and the slime of our sweet courtin’ timein my head do I often refer.
    The rest of our life has been nothin’ but strife,
    as, sweet darling, you surely concur.

  • Loren Warnemuende
    8:31 PM, 10 June 2011

    Where do you find your photos? This is classic! (Or-a-hem!-pure feechie….)
    My love has a nose that can curl a man’s toes,
    Her nostrils compete with a gator’s.
    But when I admired it, she plowed me aside with it;
    Now I’m cryin’ amidst the potaters.

    Hmmm, I just realized gators have already been referenced. No plagiarism intended!

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:43 AM, 11 June 2011

      Loren, of course there will be multiple references to alligators. That aint plagiarism. What else are you going to talk about? Gator nostrils…that’s good stuff.
      That photo, by the way, is a still from Aaron Roughton’s entry in the Feechie Film Festival. You can see the cinematic masterpiece in its entirety by clicking the “Feechie Film Festival” link at the top of this page. 

  • Mbrown
    8:59 PM, 10 June 2011

    Her gaze is like magic, though our love is tragicHer beauty, my eyes it forsakes
    it turns me to stone, plum through to the bone
    her coils are not curls, they are snakes

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:39 AM, 11 June 2011

      I’m quite sure this is the first time Greek mythology has been introduced into the feechie love song tradition. Perseo and Medusu. I love it, Mbrown.

  • Winterwrens
    9:51 PM, 10 June 2011

    My guy is as grand as they comes (you’ll see):from his boogers right down to his bums (hee-hee).
    His toenails like daggers, his breath makes me stagger,
    And his notions are wild and free!

    (this is fun…)

    • livingoakheart
      10:18 PM, 10 June 2011

      very gilbert-and-sullivanesque.

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:37 AM, 11 June 2011

      Nicely done, Winterwrens. As for the flouting of the rhyme and meter conventions, the civilizer in me is a little concerned, but the feechie is saying ‘Hawweeee!’

      • Winterwrens
        1:05 AM, 11 June 2011

        Oh, I know, I know… didn’t really intended to flout the rules, but I have two outrageous young he-feechies to run around after whilst composing poetry in my head about my beloved husband.  (He liked it.)  We do what we can… brought a smile to this whole tribe today in the midst of our chaos.

  • Sally Apokedak
    10:23 PM, 10 June 2011

    Her hair is scraggly, her teeth are snaggly–

    She’s the picture of perfection.

    Once I called her a dear, then she boxed my poor ear–

    a show of feechie affection

  • Fellow Traveler
    11:19 PM, 10 June 2011

    Branko’s love song makes me think of “My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun,” funnily enough. 🙂

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:34 AM, 11 June 2011

      Fellow Traveler, you have hit the nail directly and squarely on the head. When I sat down to write that poem, it was the express intention of writing a feechiefied version of “My Mistress’ Eyes.” Good call. 
      My first effort in this line was called “My Darling wears curlers to the K-Mart, but I do love her so.” Not feechie, but headed in that direction at least.

      • Fellow Traveler
        12:50 AM, 11 June 2011

        Ha! So you WERE stealing from the bard. I thought so. 😀

        • Fellow Traveler
          3:11 PM, 11 June 2011

          By the way, is there always a delay before our comments show up in the sidebar?

          • Jonathan Rogers
            12:09 AM, 13 June 2011

            Yes, FT, there’s a delay before comments appear in the sidebar. There is for me, anyway.

  • livingoakheart
    11:33 PM, 10 June 2011

    My dirt-ridden cutie, she’s really quite snooty,She only likes croc-wrestlin men.
    So when I implored her, she said that I bored her,
    And kicked me in both of my shins!
    My green-moss-toothed lass is so filled up with sass
    She hogtied a panther last spring.
    I gave her a bear claw—she called me a cats’-paw
    And then gave me a busted-up spleen.
    Though she bickers and fights almost every night,
    Our love is as sure as the dawn
    Though she growls and she yells, my life with her’s swell,
    So I’ll keep singing feechie love songs.

    • livingoakheart
      11:34 PM, 10 June 2011

      Confession–I’m such a civilizer that I wrote this on microsoft excel, with a column for each syllable.

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:30 AM, 11 June 2011

      Wow, livingoakheart, that is truly some of the best feechie love poetry I’ve ever seen. This is fantastic.

  • Mikebates
    12:35 AM, 12 June 2011

    I would like to send my feechie girlfriend,a token of love and esteem.
    But the last time I tried it, she took it and fried it,
    and that turned my innards all green

  • Becca
    3:33 AM, 12 June 2011

    I wrote my Feechearta purty haiku love poem
    But I run outta…

    • Jonathan Rogers
      12:08 AM, 13 June 2011

      Becca, a civilizer do-gooder once ventured into the swamp to teach creative writing classes to wee-feechies. It was going pretty well until he had them write haikus; they  fed him to an alligator, and nobody was sorry.

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