A Septet of Triolets

It has been almost three months since I have written a word. Hoping to create a spark large enough to get me scribbling again, I consulted The Complete Works of T. Harris (a disorganized heap of papers and a few Word documents) and found, among other things, the triolets that follow.

 I wrote these seven ,and twenty or thirty others like them ,when I was a member of Suzanne Byerley's writing class at the Conneaut Community Center for the Arts and later the Kingsville Library. Suzanne introduced me to the triolet form. One week I wrote two or three that had an off-kilter animal theme, and Suzanne and the others in the class kept encouraging me to write more. Which I did.

The class was a wonderful experience. Suzanne was a terrific teacher, so very knowledgeable and so very encouraging. Every class began with Suzanne going through our offerings from the previous week. Her critiques were always a blend of gentle criticism for everything from silly mistakes to flagrant grammatical and spelling errors, effusive praise for all that was done well, and wise, thoughtful suggestions to make the story, poem or essay a more effective piece.

Best of all, at least in my opinion, as she went through our writings, Suzanne would often read aloud a paragraph or two of the piece she was discussing. I loved when she read something of mine; not because it made me feel oh-so-special, but because she read so well. Each time she read something of mine, I'd sit there, listen, and think, "Damn, Tom, that's good stuff, much better than you thought it was." Then I'd read it when I got home and wonder why it sounded so good in Conneaut and like crap back in Ashtabula.

Mary got me involved in the class, and I am so grateful she did. She was also my chauffeur to class once my right leg and foot no longer moved with alacrity from the gas pedal to the brake pedal. Everyone in the class - Jeanne, Katie, Gitta, Nancy, Chuck, Wayne, Celia, and several more whose names I'm having trouble remembering - had class, and everyone had a ready smile. If memories of that class and all the people involved with it can't get me back to stringing words together, I don't know what will.

And now on to the poems I promised you a few hundred words ago.

Camel Lot


When you go to buy a camel,

Go to King Arthur’s Camel Lot.
To select a stylish mammal.
When you go to buy a camel,
Check his hump and tooth enamel -
You can’t return him once he’s bought.
When you go to buy a camel,
Go to King Arthur’s Camel Lot.

Jackal and Hyde


Did you know the well-dressed jackal

Gets his wardrobe from Mr. Hyde?
It’s enough to make you cackle,
When you see the well-dressed jackal,
Once a muscular left tackle
Now quite flabby and six feet wide.
Did you know the well-dressed jackal

Gets his wardrobe from Mr. Hyde?



Mammoth Melody


The huge, lumbering mastodon

Thought he was a pearl of culture.
But when he sang an opera song,
The huge, lumbering mastodon
Was much more frightening than King Kong -
Why, he even scared the vulture.
The huge, lumbering mastodon
Thought he was a pearl of culture.


Notes from a Porcupine


Too bad the prickly porcupine

Never learned to write with his quills.
When writing to his Valentine,
Too bad the prickly porcupine

Cannot write, “Will you be mine?”

Instead he makes scratchy squiggles.
Too bad the prickly porcupine
Never learned to write with his quills.


Rat on the Run


Life for the low down, dirty rat

Is not as easy as it seems.
Once the kitty knows where he’s at
Life for the low down, dirty rat
Becomes a battle with the cat,
Whose head is full of tricky schemes.
Life for the low down, dirty rat
Is not as easy as it seems.


The Cleaning Croc


Janitor Jim, the crocodile,
Worked every day cleaning the swamp.
The turtles had wild parties while
Janitor Jim, the crocodile,
Stood nearby – and never did smile –
With his dust rags, broom and his mop.
Janitor Jim, the crocodile,
Worked every day cleaning the swamp.


The Fussy Bandicoot


The fussy little bandicoot

Wouldn’t eat his seeds and berries.
And he just did not give a hoot,
The fussy little bandicoot,
For meals of spiders and dried fruit,
Unless the fruit was cherries.
The fussy little bandicoot
Would not eat his seeds and berries.













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