A project I worked on for one of my anthropology classes has provided me with a great deal of material, some comic, some not so much. Ever since I scrapped the Drunken Poet’s Campout story last week, I have been unable to shake the ring and rhyme that has infected the muse who safeguards my sanity during the conflict inducing, merry making season that is upon us. So, this week’s Friday Fictioneer prompt seems a good reason to share some of my research on the history of human conflict.

How humans express what matters most to us is an important area of study for anthropologists. Art, in its many forms, attempts to help us understand ourselves as well as the rise and fall of civilizations throughout recorded time. I use writing and photography to make sense of the world around me, since Apple has pretty much ruined music for me.

Many art forms have been used to commemorate the conquests of great civilizations, dance, painting, photography, poetry. Cultural artifacts curated in museums around the globe, where acts of treachery and bravery are on display for all the world to see, give us a magnificent pictorial record of humanity’s triumphs and tragedies. The ancient war depiction at the Karnak Hypostyle Hall is the standard by which war scene art is measured.

The horrors of war are at our fingertips. So, why do we continue to ignore the warning signs? I don’t have an answer. I can only guess it has something to do with mediocre poetry.

Wrong All Along

Greedy and Stingy sittin’ on the sea


First came land

Then came chattel

Then came tribes with a sabre rattle

See what I mean? That is enough to instigate a playground scuffle.


King Alfred’s ships fighting marauding Vikings: Battle of Ashdown 8th January 871 AD in the Danish Wars: picture by Harry Payne


Copyright Lucy Fridkin


The commander commands, “Pillage the village! Plunder the town! Turn the world upside down!” Teams move out from the shoreline.

Beyond the buildings and parking lots there are miles of unexploited territory. Orders are to fill ’em full o’ lead and kill ’em good-n-dead. Players are motivated to show what they’re made of. They gouge the stoney ground and feed their bloody lust. They crush the citizens into dust.

It matters not the weapons at their disposal. They simply use what’s on hand for the grand proposal, until vulture and vermin victory spied. The battle is over and everyone died.


Thanks to Rochelle, who rallies the troops, and her childhood pal Lucy for this inspirational prompt. More Fictioneers are here.

Interesting Links:



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Battle of Ashdown


Credit: Bayeux Tapestry animation by David Newton
Music and sound design by Marc Sylvan

32 thoughts on “Side Effects Of Mediocre Poetry

  1. Hope the new year offers chance for poetry of less confict and more beauty.
    Wishing you miles of smiles, intriguing wanderings, and lots of wonder in the New Year! Cheers and onward

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Cheers to you as well, and yes, onward!

  2. Nicely and aptly expressed. Creative, lady!
    Merry Christmas 🎄

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      We have to make our own fun out here in the burbs! Thanks for your kind comment and Merry Christmas to you too.

  3. Nice job on the poetry! You’ve got some mad rhymin’ skills. AND you managed to include Pat Benatar. This post has real depth.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Hey, after an ode to the oyster cracker everything else is child’s play. Thank you for the generous compliment, Mr. Petruska.

  4. There must be some words rhyming with Aleppo.

  5. It’s all been said, but I’ll say it again: wow! Such powerful poetry, that flows effortlessly. I read and reread, for the sheer pleasure. Great job Steph!

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      It was easier to write than I would have thought possible. Maybe because the background work was already done. The topic of conflict oddly lends itself to artistic expression. There sure are plenty of examples of it.

  6. wmqcolby says:

    Good grief, Honie! You really can rhyme stuff. Pretty cool, I’d say. Great content.

    Pat B. was a great memory for me.
    1983-1987 were hot years musically.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      It was her shoulder shimmying, wasn’t it?

      1. wmqcolby says:

        haha! No, it wasn’t, it was just one of those trips down Memory Lane.

  7. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I love the rhythm and cadence of your 100-word story, Stephanie. Your theme reminds me of the old admonition: Remember, plunder THEN burn the villages!

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Yes, the Sherman plan, plundering is job one. You know, by today’s standards Sherman might be considered a terrorist.

      1. Allan G. Smorra says:

        Only south of the Manson-Nixon Line…

  8. Michael Wynn says:

    As already said well constructed, I’m particularly impressed with the rhymes as they are all acheived without forcing the words into unnatural orders

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Thank you Michael. Prose swirls around in my head and comes out like poetry sometimes.

  9. Dear Honie,

    You’re a honey of a poet. Wow. So much to say and so well said. Not many can rhyme intelligently. I’m impressed.



    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Dear Rochelle,

      There’s nothing to it. Dreamers were doing it long before me. They’ll be doing it long after I’m gone. You’re the multi-talented one. Singer, writer, illustrator, fashionista!


      1. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

        This is one of my all time favorite songs. Your poem was beautifully crafted and scary in its truths.

        1. HonieBriggs says:

          Nice of you to say. The animation may be a little “after-school special” but I think the simplicity makes it universal.

  10. acflory says:

    We never heed the wisdom of history. As you say, it’s right there, but all we see is the ‘glory’. Just Merveilleux is having a very interesting discussion around this topic: https://justmerveilleux.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/welcome-to-the-age-of-anger/comment-page-1/#comment-8855
    I hope to hell it’s a storm in a teacup, but I fear it isn’t. 😦

      1. acflory says:

        Dear…. -aghast- I’m literally speechless. 😦

  11. rgayer55 says:

    All the rhymes made me chuckle, especially F-U-S-S-I-N-G. I thought the construction of this post was quite clever. Well done, Honie.

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      My construction crew works ’round the clock. It turns out I do my best writing in my sleep. 😉

  12. neilmacdon says:

    Yup. A misplaced iamb will do that to you on a bad day

    1. HonieBriggs says:

      Today is one of those days. Twice this week I’ve received rejection emails from perspective (no longer perspective) employers. I’m one iamb away from fightin’ words.

      1. What fools to reject YOU!
        They have no idea how talented you are.
        You should send this link 😉

        1. HonieBriggs says:

          Dawn, I guess when the right opportunity does come along I’ll be grateful for these rejections. That’s what I’m choosing to believe anyway. 😉 Your kind words are appreciated. Thanks!

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