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.