u_topn picture

Atlantic Unbound Sidebar

Wildcat Poetry Contest

This contest is now closed. But enjoy!

(Click here to go directly to the winning entries.)

The form of poetry featured in this contest was invented by Wildcat56, an 11-year-old visitor to our Word Games and Puzzles message board. In our Pass-the-Poem folder, Wildcat56 posted a verse in several stanzas describing his day at school. Each stanza followed the pattern set by his opening:

Mike Thwak

Sat on a tack

And can't sit down all day.

Tim Burke

Is a real jerk,

Cause he's not in the play.

A dozen or so adults (including ourselves) proceeded to play pass-the-poem with this form. We agreed that an official "Wildcat" poem should have six lines in an aab-ccb rhyme scheme, with the first and fourth lines consisting of people's names. While the goal is to be satiric, whimsical, or just nonsensical, a certain inner logic should connect the two people's names. For example:

Henry the First

Almost burst

From eating pancake batter.

Henry the Third

Strangled a bird

But le

In our pass-the-poem game (in which someone writes part of a poem and leaves it posted for another player to continue) several of us got on a painterly jag:

Paul Klee

Spent the day

Watching faucets dripping.

Paul Cezanne

Relied upon

Male bathers who were stripping.

Edvard Munch

Went out to lunch

And wolfed down sixteen taters.

Claude Monet

Was forced to pay

(He wouldn't tip the waiters).

Jan Vermeer

Did prefer

A snack of fruit and Brie.

Albrecht Durer

Felt securer

When sleeping in a tree.


Could eat a peck

Of apples in a sitting.


Would hog the john

For hours, never quitting.

Get the idea? We're now calling for a Wildcat festival in which you invent your own Wildcat poems and send them to CoxRathvon by e-mail. The people in your poems may be living or dead, real or fictional. Writers of the three funniest poems (in our sage and scientific view) will each receive 5 free AOL hours and a free book from the Atlantic. (Wildcat56 has been similarly rewarded for inventing this poetic companion to the limerick and the Clerihew.) You may send as many verses as you like, but for our convenience pack them into one piece of e-mail whenever possible, and please don't use attached files.

We will continue accepting entries to Wildcat Poetry through Friday, June 14. Contest results will be posted at the Atlantic on Friday, June 21.

--EC and HR

**PS** Please visit our Word Games and Puzzles message board and play pass-the-poem with us and other mad versifiers!

Wildcat Poetry Results

(All names without @ symbols are AOL screen names.)

Emily C.

Cried, "What a spree!

We've Wildcats in abundance!"

Rathvon, H.

Replied, "The page

Won't hold their teeming pundance!"

Which is lousy poetry and not even real English. But it's true--these crazy Wildcat verses jammed our e-box. They'd overflow this AOL document too, so to make life easy on all you downloaders, we've trimmed the field to our top favorites. They include a couple of personal jabs, such as the following from LeonardJK about our recent relocation from one house in Hershey to another:

Citizen Cox,

Unloading box,

Hates moving with a passion.

Rathvon chum

Sits on bum,

Does nothing, makes Cox ashen.

As to the accuracy of that portrait--no comment! While we're on the subject of personal poems, here's one written by Ottomic as a tip of the hat to Wildcat56, the young inventor of this verse form:


Isn't fat;

His poetry is lean.


Is rather thick;

His verses aren't so keen.

Which is patently not true--Ottomic's poems are quite deft and funny, as you'll see from the samples below. In fact, everyone who played the game gave us a smile--so thank you all! Let's do this again someday!

In the winner's circle this time around are jens@west.net, MattWard, and guy@research.att.com, whose verses registered highest on our personal Tickle Meter. LOL and congratulations, jens@west.net, MattWard, and guy@research.att.com!

***The Winners***

Chef Julia Child

Is really quite wild;

Remember her dropping that duck?

Well, chef James Beard,

Now he's REALLY weird--

He plays hockey with Wolfgang Puck!


Edgar Allan

Drank by the gallon,

A foolish expense if you're Poe!

Vincent van

The lop-sided man

Decided his ear had to Gogh.


Tariq Aziz

Was heard to sneeze

While at the grand bazaar;

Saddam Hussein

Did thus complain:

"Kuwait, and now catarrh?"


***And Lots More Favorites***

Betty Crocker

Took up soccer

To alleviate her tension.

Chef Paul Prudhomme

Can't leave his home

Without hydraulic suspension.


Famous Amos

Tried to shame us

By addicting us to his chips.

Mrs. Fields

Should sell us shields

To keep her cookies from our hips.


Arnaz, Desi,

Always says he

Only loved his Lucy.

Ball, Lucille,

Says "Cuban heel!

Your love life's much too juicy!"


Matthew Morgan

Had an organ

Fall upon his head.

Tim McGee

Stood under a tree

And lightning struck him dead.


Roger Maris

Left Athens for Paris,

Having studied his Homer with vigor.

Mickey Mantle

Did laps and he ran till

He came up with a ballpark figure.


Richard Rodgers

Loved those Dodgers.

He wept when they moved to LA.

Lorenz Hart

Would have been torn apart

To see his dear Giants at Bay.


Stan Laurel,

Undergoing withdrawal,

Ate ice cream and cake to excess.

Oliver Hardy

Ate brie and havarti.

He dined at another fine mess.


Winnie the Pooh

Has little to do

Since he lost the Pooh Corner plebiscite.

Wilbur the Pig

Has a new place to dig,

He's visiting Charlotte's new Website.



Wore a leotard;

His legs were svelte inside 'em.


Had knobby knees

And so she tried to hide 'em.



Was a zombie,

A merchant very strange.


Made them both rich,

Withholding customers' change.



Shook his pelvis

And TV cameras wouldn't let us see.


Gyrates on a

Dozen beds an hour on MTV.


Macaulay Culkin

Went to sulk in

(By coincidence) the room

Michael Jackson

Keeps his snacks in,

Stacked atop John Merrick's tomb.


Oliver Stone

Ate out alone,

And Brooke was seen with Corey;

Oliver Platt

Declawed his cat,

And *People* broke the story.


Richard Nixon

Put the fix in.

Deep Throat leaked it--which is why

Gerald Ford

Briefly soared.

(Now he's called "that golfing guy.")


J. Danforth Quayle

Started to wail

In debate, but in counterattack,

Congressman Bentsen

Put his two cents in

And told Dan he didn't know Jack.


Ed McMahon

Had a plan

To raise "Tonight Show" ratings;

Johnny Carson

Had some stars on,

Broadcasting their matings.


Connie Chung

Became unstrung

Trying to breed with Maury;

Dan Rather

Got in a lather

And made her very sorry.


Barbara Walters

Wears tight halters

Hosting "20/20."

Hugh Downs

Never frowns

Because he's seeing plenty!


Beaver Cleaver

Has a fever

And missed his school rehearsal;

Marcus Welby

Says that he'll be

Fine by the next commercial.


Helen of Troy

Wasn't coy

And launched a thousand ships;

Katharine of Aragon

Was a paragon

But never took any trips.


Henry VIII

Rejected his faith

And became Church of England, instead.

Anne Boleyn

Couldn't win;

Lost her heart and, later, her head.


Steven Jobs,

He made gobs,

And the world has been changed, therefrom.

John Doe,

Now we know

As JOHNDOE@aol.com.


Jean Paul Belmondo,

Ugly, beyondo,

Though his acting is often first-rate.

Gerard Depardieu,

Mon dieu, but it's trieu,

Is the homeliest heartthrob to date.


Commander Worf

Can't morph

Like Odo the shapeshifting cop.

JadZia Dax

Can morph to the max,

But the Klingon, at morphing's a flop.



You may recall,

A resemblance to us, he portended.

Cro-Magnon Man,

On the other hand,

Is the guy from whom we're descended.


Moe Howard--

What a coward,

Rained blows on the other guys.

Curly Joe

Took every blow,

Then poked Moe square in the eyes.



Ate Manila

Like it was a cocktail wiener.


Ate Japan

To prove he was even meaner.


Gene Krupa,

Really super,

But his life was really a bummer.

Ringo Starr,

Went really far,

Though not nearly as good a drummer.


Bud Abbott

Had a bad habit;

With the gift of confusion was cursed.

Lou Costello,

Dimbulb fellow,

Never found out who was on first.



Who's that?

One of two first-named blokes.


You like?

They're the butt of the best Irish jokes.


Colonel Mustard

Can't be trusted.

Whodunit? He doesn't know who.

Professor Plum

Is equally dumb;

Like the Colonel, he hasn't a Clue.


Dennis Rodman,

Tattoos-on-his-bod man,

Was as bad as he wanted to be.

Michael Jordan,

Rarely scored on,

Is far more appealing to me.


Vincent Van Gogh,

Would paint just so,

Starry nights and sunlit afternoons.

Grant Wood,

Thought he, too, could,

But his trees all looked like balloons.


Hannibal Barca

Put on a parka

Crossing the Alps on an elephant's back.

Publius Scipio

Thought it too nippy, so

Hannibal's elephants gave him a thwack.


Rock Hudson,

No curmudgeon,

Liked a night out with the boys.

Doris Day

Knew he was gay,

But told neither hois nor pollois.


Julia Child

Went hog wild

Preparing pig flambe.

Graham Kerr

Combed his hair

As he knelt down to pray.


Tom Sawyer

Hired a lawyer

To help him mend his fences.

Huck Finn

Drunk on gin

Completely lost his senses.




She certainly should.



I wish he could!



Stocks so many

Wicker laundry hampers.

LL Bean

Has been seen

Chasing after campers.


Barney Fife

Had a wife

Who never ironed a shirt.

Don Knotts

Had ten shots

Then tripped on Aunt Bea's skirt.



Does not want us

To climb her totem pole.


Moved to Berea

And cast her vote for Dole.


Cole Porter

Had a boarder

Who could not carry a tune.

Arthur Fiedler

Married a needler

At his Mom and Pop's in June.


Venus de Milo

Lived in a silo

With her fodder and her mum.

The Thinker

Was a drinker,

Usually favoring rum.


Tom Cruise

Could not lose

On his impossible mission.

Kevin Cline

(Wish he was mine!)

Took Wanda deep-sea fishin'.


Tom Kite

One night

Had a ball at the TPC.

Davis Love

Bought a glove

Which fit him to a tee!


Dr. Katz

Went quite bats

Each time he was berated.

Sigmund Freud

Was overjoyed...

His ego was inflated!


Joe Montana

Ate a banana

But passed up another snack.

Jim Kelly

Loaned money to Telly

Then asked for a quarter back!


Calvin Klein

Handed women a line

And fashioned himself quite a rogue.

Donna Karan

Was caught, once, wearin'

Rags on the cover of Vogue.


Edward Albee

Smiled the night he

Won a shiny Tony.

Julie Andrews

Said "No thank you's...

The whole affair's baloney."


Old man Euclid

Wrote a booklet--

Said that lines are straight.

Bernie Riemann

Cried "No, see, man--

They're all over the plate!"

(Abu Amaal)


Focussed beady

Sights on water leaks.

Mister Lister

Said, "That blister's

There because you reeks."

(Abu Amaal)

Mohammed ibn Musa al-Khwarismi

(The damned name is elusive and still worries me)

Liked to solve equations on the fly.

Jemshid ibn Mesud ibn Mahmud, Giyat ed-din al-Kushi

(Called "Jem" by friends) was nice, not very pushy,

Liked calculations, specially of pi.

(Abu Amaal)

Dr. Faustus

Really loused us

Up with his gunpowder.

Chris Columbus

Wasn't dumb--jus'

Loved New England chowder.

(Abu Amaal)

Carl Linneaus

Spent his day as-

Sessing plant taxonomy.

Nick Copernic-

Us, in turn, ex-

Celled at his astronomy.

(Abu Amaal)


Tried to see how

Falling bodies fall.

Johnny Kepler

(Full of pep, Sir)

Didn't care at all.

(Abu Amaal)

Isaac Newton

Sure as shootin'

Saw that apple fall.

Einstein (Albert)--

Whom we call "Bert"--

Said "Not so at all!"

(Abu Amaal)

Charles Darwin

Went too far when

Preaching evolution;

Thomas Huxley's

All a-chuckle, he's

Sure it's the solution.

(Abu Amaal)

Samuel Finley

Wheezed and thinly

Said "Can't talk--too hoarse".

Bill Marconi

Said "Bologna,

Let's have no remorse."

(Abu Amaal)

Baker Eddy

Quite unsteadi-

Ly revised religion.

Jean Champollion

Told Napoleon

"Rosetta, she's no pidgin."

(Abu Amaal)

Francis Crick

Looked pretty sick

And couldn't find his genes.

Till young Doc Watson

Joined the dots on


(But Linus Pauling

Was left bawling -

He knows what I means.)

(Abu Amaal)


Was hard to please

But slept in Peter's bed;


Annoyed Bernard

Who cut him not quite dead.


When John Locke

Made complex talk

Concerning Understanding

David Hume

Expressed his gloom

In language less demanding.


Rene Descartes

Is known to start

At *cogito ergo sum*.

But CS Peirce

Is fairly fierce

That such a view is dumb.


Elizabeth II

Is very blue

At Charles's marriage fizzle;

While Di and Charles

Repeat their quarrels--

Divorce turns reign to drizzle.


Diana Spencer

Still resents a

Bird fate tried to flip her.

Camilla Bowles,

Though, still controls

The Prince of Wales's zipper.


Ken Griffey

Will be president if he

Continues to hit the ball deep.

Jay Buhner,

A good friend of Junior,

Is also running--for Veep!


Jose Canseco

Collects a new Seiko

Whenever he answers an interview question.

Cal Ripken Jr.

Would have skipped a game sooner

If only someone had made the suggestion.


Albert Belle,

Has a corked bat that's swell,

He calls it his "designated hitter."

Gaylord Perry,

Had a curve that was hairy,

Most batters thought it was a spitter.


John Astor

Had a bust of Plaster

But it got broke.

Mary Astor

Caused a disaster--

She kissed a bloke.


Bob Dole

Bit into a roll:

His tooth fell out.

Newt Gingrich

Thought work a cinch.

He's no boy scout!


Sid Vicious

Was sinfully delicious

And now, he's dead.

Debra Harry

Wore a revealing sari,

The color red.


Alan Alda,

Getting balda,

Wears his hat a lot.

Marlon Brando

Cannot stando.

Thin this man is not.


Lon Chaney

Told a trainee;

"Publicity is good."

Bobby DeNiro,

Never the Hero,

Hid in the neighborhood.


Burl Ives

Had many wives.

He sang at many weddings.

Michael Jackson,

Features waxen,

Lives with awful dreadings.


Froggy Kermit

Got a permit,

Learned to drive a car.

Pepe LePeu

In Kalamazoo,

Drank in a darkened bar.


Groucho Marx,

In many larks,

Gave Dumont quite a beating.

Leslie Nielsen

Eats his meals in

Rooms with central heating.


Margaret O'Brien

Without really tryin'

Could empty a room in a trice.

Gregory Peck

Would say "What the heck?!

Her anger is just a device!"


Anthony Quinn

Had some sauce on his chin

From a meal he had recently eaten.

But Rinny Tin Tin

With a big doggy grin

Took a lick and proceeded to neaten.


A Thurman, Uma,

Bought a puma.

Sent it back. It scratched.

A Price called Vinnie

Spent a fin, he

Bought an egg. It hatched.


Jack Webb

Became a Deb

And loves to go to dances.

Bushman's "X"

Was short for Rex.

And F. was short for Francis.



Threw a shower.

Mamie was surprised.

Gerald Ford

Slipped on a board.

His wound was cauterized.


Captain Kidd,

He stole and hid

Big booty in his trunks.

Jean Lafitte,

Need I repeat,

Thought Englishmen were skunks.


Karl Marx

Was fond of parks.

That's why he lived in London.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Got too preachy,

Saying God is un-done.


Brave Ulysses

Kisses sissies

Dressed in womens' undies.

Pancho Villa

Likes to see ya

Dressed in tights on Sundays.


Lech Walesa

Playsa chessa

In Italian towns.

Malcolm X

Reurns his checks

And hardly ever frowns.


Ian Kenney

Found a penny,

And put it in his ear.

Brother Brett

Called the vet

Who thought it rather queer.


Father Ed

Grabbed Ian's head

And held it very near.

Mary Jo

("Mom," you know)

Said, "Let's all have a beer!"


Professor Plum

Looking glum

In library with a knife;

Mr. Mustard

Stole the custard

And gave it to his wife.


Liza Minelli

Eating jelly

At a picnic for the stars;

Barbra Streisand

Chasing flies and

Putting them in jars.




And age defying looks;


Prima donna

With dirty picture books.


Bo Gritz

Often fights

For rebels with a cause;

F. Lee Bailey

Smiling gaily

Seeks money and applause.


Jessie Helms


With views anachronistic.

Jesse Jackson

Hears attacks on

Poor and goes ballistic.


Miss Dorothy P

Opined to be

The sage of the Round Table,

While FPA

In his curmudgeonly way

Walked off with the label.


Timothy Leary,

He grew weary

Of waiting for the Reaper.

His demise was set

On the Internet,

But the natural way proved cheaper.


Jerry Garcia,

This could free ya!

I know it'll make you merry.

Just pull the copyright,

In friendship, not in spite,

From those fellas Ben & Jerry.



Caught her fella

Just by wearing tiny shoes.

Sleeping Beauty

Was a cutie;

All SHE had to do was snooze.


A. McPherson,

Semple person,

Vanished, said she'd been abducted.

So did Crater

Four years later,

He was never reconstructed.


Newton sat

Without a hat--


Franklin's kites

Reached awesome heights--



J.S. Bach

Worked round the clock

Making babies and cantatas.

Chopin had

No little lad,

But ladies fell for his sonatas.


Janet Reno

Doesn't own a casino

No matter what her name connotes.

Mark Twain's

Favorite terrain

Is dammed by gaming boats.


James Joyce

Has a distinctive voice

Some call stream of conscious;

Vincent Van Gogh

Has an angle that's low

'Cause he painted from his haunches.



(With madam)

Had angst.


(I believe)

He thanksed.


Sonny Bono

Did a no-no:

He went into the House


(Who's fair?)

Then shafted her ex-spouse.


Harry Truman

Ain't Paul Newman,

But then again who is?

Joanne Woodward

Said a good word

Because she's got who is!


Heidi Fleiss,

That wasn't nice:

Now you're going to jail.

Hugh Grant

Didn't rant

Because he got out on bail.


Harvey Korman

Was a poor man

Until he became a star.

Carol Burnett

Flew on his jet

And both went very far.


Lady Di

Began to sigh

Before the royal breakup.

Prince Charles

Lost all the quarrels

And therefore will not make up.


Abraham Lincoln

Had been a drinkin'

And went staggering through the house.

Mary Todd

Said, "Oh my God,

Get out, you drunken souse."


Xaviera Hollander

Uncovered all of her

Bimbos from heads down to toes.

Anais Nin

While baring no skin

Achieved the same end using prose.


Rabindranath Tagore

Was a hit in Lahore

With poetry written in Hindi.

Satyajit Ray

Directs films in Bombay

With scripts inexplicably windy.


Mark Twain

Rode no train,

He rowed a boat instead.

Samuel Clemens

Wrote no lemons;

Still the two are dead.


Sigmund Freud

Filled a void,

Freeing man for sex.

Joyce Brothers

Cited others,

Making things complex.


Captain Kirk

Was somewhat of a jerk

When it came to being discreet.

Mister Spock

Was not much of a jock

But could pinch you right off of your feet.


Hillary Clinton

Gave no hint on

Her Whitewater legal affair.

Alfonse D'Amato

Thinks we ought to

Keep looking everywhere.


Jules Verne

Had to earn

His living as a writer.

Henry Thoreau

Couldn't, though,

So he worked as a prize fighter.


Robert Dole

Had a hole

In his political sweater.

Daniel Quayle

Had to fail

At trying to go one better.


Peter Piper

Was a griper

Because peppers he had to pick.

Mary, Mary

Was contrary

Because pollen made her sick!


Bill Gates

Tempted the Fates

By appearing in Triumph of the Nerds

Steve Jobs

And the rest of the nabobs

Didn't mince any words.


Emily Cox

Is a fox

With words used to ensnare.

Henry Rathvon

Sees the fun

And joins to make a pair.


Gertrude and Alice

Built a fine palace

And repeatedly said its name.

Jacqueline Bisset

Stopped by for a visit

And decided to learn a new game.


Stephen Hawking,

Unaccustomed to knocking,

Rolled through the gates with panache.

J.P. Gautier

Came right away

To prevent the faux pas of clash.


Erica Jong

Brought some friends along

To relieve anyone's fear of flight;

And Senator Dole,

Taking a poll,

Was sent screaming into the night.


Chris Cornell

Is doing swell.

He is a singer.

Kurt Cobain

Is insane.

Now he is a dead ringer.


Captain Kirk

Had to work

So the boys took a spin in his Caddy.

Mister Spock

Jimmied the lock

(With his mind, not being your typical baddie).


Engineer Scott

Wired it hot

But he time-warped the Caddy, me laddie.

Doctor McCoy

Muttered, "Oh, boy

We're on our way back to be Daddy."


Emily Cox

Sat in a box

Rereading *Martin Chuzzlewit*.

With Henry Rathvon,

Polymath, (Von

Braun of crossword-puzzle wit).


John Donne

Had a son,

And fed him cakes and ale.

Oscar Wilde

Had a child,

And spent two years in gaol.


Bubba Bill

Ate his fill

Of burgers, shakes and fries.

Hillary C.

Exclaimed, "Dear me!

He'll need a larger size!


Ogden Nash

Made a splash

By extending his lines of poetry indefinitely with no regard

whatsoever for meter;

e. e. cummings

couldn't rhyme;

nor could he find the "shift" key.


Mother Duck

Ran out of luck

When she lost her little darling.

Father Duck

Ran amuck

Till he came home with a starling.


King George

Would gorge

On everything put before him.

Queen Lizzy

The Dizzy

Did utterly adore him.


Mother Goose said

Get out of my bed

I'm giving you this warning.

Father Goose snored

Pretended to be bored

And found himself outside in the morning.


Old man McLoan

Left his contacts at home

And chose the spot where Sparky released his adventures.

Old woman Byle

Watched him sit in the pile

And laughed so hard that she swallowed her dentures.


John and Yoko,

New York locals,

Presented the peaceful dove.

Tricky Dicky,

Known as Ricky,

Said NO! to their words of love.


Ginger Jones

Who always ate bones

Hit Bob with her books.

Bob started to cry,

So embarrassed he could die.

Now he gives her dirty looks.


Herbert Hoover,

While in the city of Vancouver,

Got stuck in the tub!

Beverly the Maid,

Fortunately, came to Herby's aid

By smashing the bath with a club!


Soarman Beagle

Went up real high

And flew with the birds one day.

Swinsom Kipper

Went down real low

And swam with the fish in the bay.

(Ed itor 77)

Copyright © 1995-96 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.