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by William Armstrong
4 Mar 2011
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Praise from the Pun Ditz
    by William Armstrong

Puns start life as tired clichés
Which the punster must rephrase,
Twist them into verbal plays
'Til the eyes of list'ners glaze.

Pun detractors speak of it
As the "lowest form of wit",
Ghastly sin that fiends commit.
I believe the opposite.

Henry Erskine's apropos
Statement was that puns are low,
Forming wit's foundation, though –
Like, to wit, an embryo.

If another view is sought,
Alfred Koestler said we ought
To call a pun "two strings of thought
Tied with an acoustic knot."

Charles Lamb declared that he
Never knew an enemy
Of puns who ever failed to be
Quite ill-tempered actually.

Still, some snobs pooh-pooh the pun.
They would never utter one,
So they can't enjoy this fun
"Medium rarely well done".

Accolades are not conferred
(Groans perhaps or chortles stirred),
But a good pun will, we've heard,
Always be its own reword.

Copyright © 2004 William Armstrong

Cats As Cats Can
    by William Armstrong

    As cats can
        hear a can opener running,
            they come running (cat call).

    When they see food,
        Even finest seafood, they respond
            with nonchalance (hither & yawn).

    Never let on,
        but they do climb on
            comfortable people (cat furniture).

    On the other paw,
        must move them to reclaim
            your favorite chair (catbird seat).

    They move us,
        with lithe moves, sparkling eyes
            loving purrs (cat ch'i tunes).

    Ow! Cloth frays;
        claws cause furrows and lines,
            a feline's instinct (from scratch).

    Never wear fur,
        except after cats sleep
            on the laundry (in the shed).

    Once deified,
        now in denial, they still
            demand worship (Bastet cases).


Copyright © 2004 William Armstrong

by William Armstrong

I’ve enjoyed my numerous years,
Collecting some rare souvenirs of astonishing night-sky displays.
From those sights with which I’ve been blessed,
Each season has given its best, which this partial recounting conveys:

- Winter -

A memory, faded over the years, of a trav’ler from outer space:
At four in the morning early in March, I was gazing at Bennett’s face.
A comet it was, a pleasant surprise, one that comes and then disappears.
A luminous, fan-like gossamer parchment – a stranger among the spheres.
Its head was a ball; its tail was a trace about seven full-moons in size.
It shone in the great celestial arch as a treasure for earthbound eyes.

- Spring -

A spring night in Utah’s wide, open range, on a lane far from city glare
My car’s headlights off, I stood in the dark where I slowly became aware
Of what ancient man might find commonplace, and yet I found it great and strange.
The Milky Way stretched across heaven’s arc, and I watched its intensity change.
A myriad pin points seeming to flare when our man-made lights don’t erase
That river of stars, that truly remarkable stream through the void of space.

- Summer -

On one moonless summer morning, a few hours before any hint of dawn
I cast my attention skyward – reclined, as I was, on the backyard lawn.
A meteor scratched a streak on the sky, just a fleeting flash passing through.
Then black stellar background oozed from behind to envelop the line it drew.
I watched for an hour the bright flaring spawn of debris that would fall and die,
A hundred stars shooting, more than combined what I’d seen all the years gone by.

- Autumn -

A few high clouds drifted silently by in the chill of an autumn night.
Distinct shadows traced on patio stone by the fullness of Luna’s light.
A blurred blue-white halo circled the moon like a loop around half the sky,
A ghostly round rainbow’s radiance shone as a glorious gift on high.
I wanted my wife to witness this sight, and she came to the garden soon.
Infected with awe of wonders unknown, we thanked God we were not immune.

Copyright © 2004 William Armstrong

Caution: Although the following poem is considered by some to be my best work, it is not humorous. In fact, it often invokes a strong emotional response. I will also answer a common question: It is not autobiographical,

by William Armstrong

In her living room I met the family, shaking hands.
She wore a strapless gown. I brought her flowers.
I held her close and felt the cadence of her heart.
We teased and chatted; our eyes locked for hours.
I kissed goodbye - the night was done.
And with that kiss, my life's begun.

- - -

In her dying room I met the family, hands shaking.
She wore a backless gown. I brought her flowers.
I held her close and felt the chaos of her heart.
She wheezed and chattered; our eyes locked for hours.
She kissed goodbye - the night was dawn.
And with that kiss, my wife was gone.

Copyright © 2005 William Armstrong

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