Category Archives: musings

Saturday Morning Humour

A young man named Hogg
Owns a very bad dog.
It stole the stocking
Of poor miss Hocking,
And Hogg he stole her clog!

A young lady dressed in pink
Gave me a knowing wink
And said to me, “come and see
What lies behind that fine old oaktree”,
And her hair it had a kink.
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Famous Writers and their Pets

A fascinating review of a book about authors and their pets, https://interestingliterature.com/2019/11/08/alex-johnson-famous-writers-pets-review/. I knew about Edward Lear’s cat Foss, but had no idea that Byron took with him to university one bear (and not the kind of bear one buys in a toy shop)!

I grew up with dogs and still remember with great affection my first dog, Jet. Jet was a black lab/alsatian cross and loved people. He was though not fond of other dogs and (if he got out of the house) would chase cars!

I am now working with my fourth guide dog, a brindle lab/retriever called Trigger, who has just reached the grand old age of 10.

Trigger has featured in several of my poems, including “The Hungry Hound”, https://kmorrispoet.com/2016/02/03/the-hungry-hound/, and “Dog and Ball”, https://kmorrispoet.com/2019/02/18/dog-and-ball-2/.

Kevin

I have Heard the Tick Tock of the Clock

I have heard
The tick tock
Of the clock
And thought
That I ought
To become
A better man,
Ere the clock’s word
Is no longer heard
And the sun
Does, forever set
On my regret.

Marvell was right,
For, oft, at night
I fancy I hear
“Time’s Winged chariot hurrying near”.
The year
Will soon close.
No man knows
How many more he has got,
Therefore heed the tick tock
Of the clock
For it’s word
Will, one day
Pass away.

The reference to “Time’s Winged chariot”, can be found in Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress”, http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/his-coy-mistress/.

My review of 2 Alexa skills: Poe Reader and Poem A Day

Below you will find my reviews of Poem A Day (both the web based version and the Alexa Skill), and a review of Poe Reader, an Alexa skill enabling the user of an Amazon Echo to listen to the poetry of Edgar Alan Poe.

I was pleased to come across Poem A Day from the Academy of American Poets. On it’s website the Academy describes Poem a Day as follows:

“Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by today’s talented poets each year. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is distributed via email, web, and social media to 500,000+ readers free of charge. The series highlights classic poems on weekends, and weekday poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary and audio by the poets. The series’ weekdays are curated by twelve poets from across the country who have wide-ranging expertise and editorial perspectives. Poet Sherwin Bitsui serves as guest editor for November 2019”, (see https://poets.org/poem-a-day).

As the owner of an Amazon Echo, I thought that I would give the Alexa skill of the same name a try, particularly as the information on Amazon’s website indicates that the poems are voiced by the poets themselves, (see https://www.amazon.com/Academy-of-American-Poets-Poem-a-Day/dp/B07HRGCGH6). However, on asking Alexa to launch Poem A Day, a message is generated stating that the Echo is unable to launch the skill. Having tried to use the Poem A Day skill (without success) for several days, I am unable to recommend the Alexa version of this product. I can, however recommend the web based alternative, available on the Academy of American Poets website.

Being a fan of Edgar Alan Poe’s work, I also tried the Poe Reader, which is available as an Alexa skill from Amazon, (see https://www.amazon.com/worldengine-Edgar-Allan-Poe-Reader/dp/B077KJR5ZP). The Poe Reader enables the user of an Echo to request a random Poe poem or, alternatively a specific poem can be requested.

Whilst I was successful in being able to listen to several Poe poems, including A Dream Within a Dream, on attempting to enjoy The Raven Alexa stopped speaking only a few lines into the poem. This happened several times (and not just with The Raven), which indicates to me that there is a problem with Poe reader.

In conclusion, I would recommend the web based version of Poem A Day from the Academy of American Poets (but not the Alexa skill of the same name). As for Poe Reader, my readers may wish to try out this skill, however, from my experience it is likely to cease voicing mid sentence.

Can Kisses Cold as Gold

Can kisses, cold as gold
Bring joy
To the sorrowing
Boy?

Can borrowing
A pretend
Friend
For the night
End
In anything other
Than temporary delight?

And can a man
Change his “lover”
As easily as the cover
On his bed
Where a myriad heads
Have been,
Praying for the morning to be seen
So they may depart
Carrying in their heart
The secret of an ancient profession
That, through discretion
Or shame
Few will name?

My review of Poem Reader, an Alexa skill

This review is of Poem Reader, an Alexa skill which can be accessed using the Amazon Echo.

Amazon’s website describes Poem Reader as:
“Poem Reader is a random collection of poems for the whole family. Enable the skill to ask for today’s poem or the daily rhyme. Alexa will say the poem, not sing it. This skill is meant to help teach you the words to some popular poems and rhymes.”

Having used Poem Reader, it is, in my view more of a vehicle for having nursery rhymes recited than a means of accessing poetry more generally. Each time I asked Poem Reader for a poem and/or rhyme, it produced a rhyme more suited to young children than the family as a whole.

Amongst the rhymes voiced by Alexa was Hickory Dickory Dock, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Little miss Muffet and Goosey Goosey Gander.

This skill does, perhaps possess the potential to amuse young children and those with an interest in nursery rhymes. However, from my use of Poem Reader, I believe that the description is somewhat misleading in that it implies a broad selection of rhymes/poems, when what is in fact included is largely (perhaps exclusively) a collection of nursery rhymes.

For anyone interested in checking out Poem Reader, it can be found here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poem-Reader-Poems-for-Everyone/dp/B01LFXD2LY/.