Who am I?

Anglo-Saxon riddle

My mother and father forsook me,
While I was not yet breathing.
A kind mother covered me with clothes,
Kept me and looked after me,
Cuddled me as close as if I had been her offspring.
Under that covering I grew and grew.
I was cruel to my adopted brothers and sisters.
This loving mother fed me
Until I could set out on my own.
Because she befriended me,

Few of her sons and daughters survived.

This is tough.


A cuckoo will lay eggs in another bird’s nest. The cuckoo hatches and pushes the other eggs out of the nest.

Leaves of Grass

Poetry Month needs Walt Whitman, most famous of American poets. 1819-1892, he spent his life in the NYC area. Besides being a poet, he was a novelist, journalist, teacher, army nurse, office worker, and more. He is still one of my favorite poets. When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d, / And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, /I mourn’d and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Horse’s tail?

Horse’s Tale

Charles Suddeth

We raced through the night,

Larry’s Pontiac belching smoke,

His red hair always tangled,

Even sober he was drunk.

Good ole cheap beer.

Somewhere in Michigan we halted,

Headlights aimed at a barn.

My horse’s here, he slurred.

He led a nag into the pasture.

The fleas bailed out.

It didn’t have a saddle,

I figured he was lost,

We would be hanged,

The fate of horse thieves.

My neck itched.

You gotta ride bareback,

He handed me a rope halter.

Afraid to argue with a drunk,

I climbed on, held tight.

Yippy yi yay!

I was doing just fine,

The mare broke into a trot.

Larry belly laughed,

I wished I was drunk.


Eureka moment. I was subbing high school English for special needs kids, helping them with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet written in Blank Verse—unrhymed iambic pentameter. I hadn’t read Shakespeare in years and had forgotten how great his poetry is. Now I write my own blank verse. [Shakespeare and I are descended from Lady Godiva, so we are cousins, though I doubt he wants to be]

And, when he shall die, / Take him and cut him out in little stars, / And he will make the face of heaven so fine / That all the world will be in love with night / And pay no worship to the garish sun.


Jesse Stuart (1906-1984) is perhaps Kentucky’s most well-known poet. In 1990 my late wife’s family held a family reunion had a cousin’s farm across the road from W Hollow, Jesse Stuart’s farm. We were allowed to tour the farm, but his widow still lived in the house so we didn’t get to see that.

Kentucky is my land.
It is a place beneath the wind and sun
In the very heart of America.
It is bounded on the east, north, and west by rivers
And on the south by mountains.

The ancient Dumnonia (deep) lived in Cornwall and Devon. They both spoke Cornish. Cornwall calls foreigners Emmet (red)—Devon calls them Grockle (clowns). I salute Ann Southwoode Suddeth, my 8th-great grandmother, born in Devon. [Port Emmet is a Cornish joke] (both names may draw some anger)   


Anglo-Saxon riddle

My home is not silent, but I am not blaring.
The lord means for us to travel together.
I am quicker than he and sometimes stronger,
However, he keeps on going for longer.
Often, I rest, but he runs on.
For as long as I do live, I live in him.
If we part from one another
It is I who must die.

Hint: home is the river, lord is the current        

Rough one: river fish, trout perhaps

James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), the Hoosier poet, the originator of Little Orphan Annie. When I was in high school, a lady gave a reading of his poetry. She lived in his house as a child, and I never forgot his poetry.


When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,

And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,

And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,

And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence…

Poetry Month wouldn’t be complete without Robert Frost (1874-1963), born in California but spent his life in New England. One of my favorite poets, he was the winner of 4 Pulitzers.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth…

Anglo-Saxon riddle.

Even when alive I do not speak.
Anyone who wishes to, takes me captive, cuts off my head.
Folks bite my bare body,
I harm no one lest they cut me first.
Then I quickly make them cry.

Figure it out?


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