(written 9/88; Webbed 10/96)

Broken bottle: light liqueur lies
drying in a little puddle;
Molly-doggy, in a muddle;
Sally-puppy, seeking trouble;
licking liquid, liking liquor
lapping at the dripping ichor
Molly lagging, lollygagging,
dilly-dally, shilly-shally,
roly-poly silly Sally
willy-nilly, tripping, slipping,
dropping; stopping; dizzy buzzing;
Sally soon is busy dozing.
Molly boggles; giggling, wobbles,
slowing, stopping, yawning, napping.


This was the first, and probably the best, poem I wrote in the “Metrical
Phonology of Poetry” seminar at Swarthmore, a combination poetry workshop
and in-depth linguistics seminar. I was just playing with sounds of words,
and it all came together rather nicely. I was chagrined to later learn that
“ichor” is pronounced “EYE-kor” rather than “IH-kor,” but I think it works
okay even with the long “i.”

Jed Hartman <>