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In the war of my own succession

Corpr’l John’s the name
and I’m a whirlygig of fame,
I’ve fought right well and grabbed the pearl
and now I’m a great big earl!
But what?! (You don’t?) You don’t agree?
But even I (even I!) have heard of me!
Well now, ain’t that me up on m’own petards?

This poem is a commentary on fame by poking a little humor at a great man. The War of the Spanish Succession was waged in the early 1700s across the Low Countries of Europe between France and the rest of Europe over the right to control the Spanish succession. It is the war that saw England, already emergent as a sea power, emerge as a land power with a dominating voice in European diplomacy, thus firmly setting itself on the path of Empire.

The British success was solely due to one man, John Churchill (ancestor of Winston Churchill), 1st Duke of Marlborough and Prince of Mindelheim, who not only lead the allied armies in a series of brilliant land campaigns but was also known for his skillful diplomacy.  Such was his success that he was first made an Earl and then a Duke and then a Prince of the realm. Not too bad for the poor cousin of an impoverished branch of an old Irish family who had grown up on the handouts of relatives.

But fame is so fleeting, isn’t it? Famous in his day and affectionately called Corporal John by his men, the Duke of Marlborough is today a man known to historians only.

petard, by the way, was a small bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications. The term “hoisted on your own petard” came to mean “caught up in your own stratagems and deceits.”

Thank you for reading In the war of my own succession. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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True lessons

Dad! said Aaron (he’s five),
I bet I can beat you to the grocery store door!
What’s the use? I laughed, preparing,
knowing exactly what was written in the moment.
You always—WIN!

And on that ‘win,’ I dashed and he dashed
and in all that dashing together
the simple difference in our heights
added up to a tragic occurrence:
his fist smashed me in my crotch.

Calming him down afterward was the second hardest part,
It’s OK, hon, it was only an accident…
I’ll be able to breathe in a minute.

Which just goes to show you that,
1) you don’t always know what is written in the moment,
and that, 2) you’d do it all over again.
(But not so hard, and please God, not so soon.)

Sad to say, but this is a true story which played out exactly as I have described it. I hesitated posting it as I very rarely try to be funny in poetry.

Thank you for reading True lessons. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Tierney Tolar’s “Seasons”

My favorite season is winter and summer.
I like those two seasons because
summer is where you can do anything
and winter is where you can
build a snowman
and you can get into a snowball fight.

Having the greatest family

I’m having the greatest time of my life
and the greatest year, the funnest week ever
with grandma and grandpa and aunt Sasha
and my sisters and brother and parents.
I have the sweetest family ever.
Everyone cares about each other
and everyone even loves each other.
Family is important too.

Christmas trees

Christmas trees are fun to put ornaments on
(and lights of course)
and it’s pretty when you turn the lights on.
Christmas trees are to put presents under.
You can put the Christmas tree anywhere you want to.
I’m following Santa Claus tonight.
Santa is watching you…he loves cookies.

Cupcakes

It’s fun when you make cupcakes.
They are yummy, they are fun and they are cute
if you decorate them.
It’s just fun.
You can decorate them however you like
and you can even make a background too.
If you want.

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I get to introduce you to a singular, new and powerful voice in the world of poetry: my granddaughter, 8 year old Tierney. We, Tierney and I, but also her grandmother, father, mother, aunt, brother and sisters are together this Christmas.

Thank you for reading Seasons and all of Tierney’s poems. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed them and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2012 by Tierney Tolar; all rights reserved. These poems and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

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