Huge thanks to everyone who rushed to Augustus’ assistance in crafting a verse or two!
Gentle reader, you have a veritable garden of verse awaiting you, ranging from odes to limericks to haiku (in Japanese! sadly, I couldn’t get the kanji into the post, so we have it in translation). As you can imagine, Augustus is sputtering with envy.
You’ll want to take your time on these. Read, savor, enjoy– and then vote! Vote for your three favorites in the Comments section below and I’ll tally up all the votes and post a winner next Wednesday, including one extra winner chosen at random from among all those who voted.
And now? The poetry!
1. “Roses are Red, Violets are blue
If Augustus Whittlesby can write poetry
So can you.”
— Nancy H
2. From Augustus to the Pink Carnation:
“I seek you, or so I thought
I see you, my summer rose
Waging WAR upon myself
Knowledge lost within my soul.
You entice me with your little smiles
And confuse my simple heart
To wonder if you dare to notice
My words of love, my humble art.
At your feet I fail at everything
Yet you walk away to SPY beyond
With admirers from the world around
Stop to hear your graceful song.
So be still my PINK flower
Quietly to wait for me
And I shall show you magic
In A GARDEN OF INTRIGUE.”
— Nancy H
3. “Poor Augustus Whittleby
Things rarely go his way, you see.
His writing his poor,
Many find him a bore.
He’s enamored with Jane
Who finds him mundane.
He must work with Emma,
Oh what a dilemma!
Alas, he is also a spy,
Fooling rogues and thieves, by and by.
But can he win a duel?
Or will he look like a fool?
Will he search and roam
For someone who likes his poem?
What will happen, then?
We’ll find out which is mightier, his sword or his pen.”
— Christine M
4. Augustus alerting London of the news that Napoleon is sending all his fleets against England.
“Methought I dreamed of Xerxes
Gazing over Salamis sea.
The mighty Emperor unleashed
All against the bourgeoisie;
Each frigate, schooner, sloop and barque
His imperial decree
Directed ‘gainst the stern white cliffs
Which housed his sole sworn enemy.”
5. “In Malmaison did Napoleon
A stately pleasure home decree:
Where spies the Pink Carnation ran
Through poetry meaningless to man
As wrote by Whittlesby.
So twice five books met fertile ground
With halls and towers Selwick standing round.
And here were archives bright with Eloise’s thrills
While deploring Colin’s awful family.
And here were aunts older than the hills
Enfolding funny tales of regency.
But oh! that deep romantic hand which slanted
Down flowery tales beneath a Gentian cover
A savage place! a century more belated
As from beneath a Kenyan moon we’re taunted
By Lauren bailing on her regency lovers.”
6. “O muse! What time since last I saw thee? Five minutes? Perhaps, a year?
In faith, it matters naught;
I sit and sit and sit and count the days in fear
Weeping weeping, barely sleeping, never having thought
Eros so would cause my heart to wish thee hence-and near!
Oh, would that you were near, my love
For when thou art not verily, verily do I rue
Your absence from my tender arms, my dove
Ah! Would that I were noble-a king, as Charlemagne who
So bravely drove the enemy away and save’d the day
As would I, my love, if by so doing at your feet soon–
So poor, so lowly and so undeserving of your beauty–
I’d lie, might spend my midnights and my every noon
Alas that I cannot; ’tis not my duty.”
(Extra points to those who can find the coded message in the poem! Hint: it’s every tenth word of every other line.)
7. “A pulchritudinous muse
Wore wondrously beautiful shoes
I fell at her feet–
So dainty, so sweet–
Were her lovely light azure blues!”
8. Haiku (in translation):
was planted in the garden
what is its true nature.
Over the sea
There is a carnation.
In a mask
It is the flower of chivalry (/heroism)
9. “I pine from afar
the Maiden of Azure toes
not knowing real love.”
— Stephanie R.
10. “Our story begins with a Poet-man
So bad, he has, nary a fan.
He works for the English Crown
Though that causes the Carnation to frown.
He hears of a device nefarious and French –
To rue England and make her all tense.
He knows, at a party, it will be shown.
Too bad he can’t go it alone.
Instead, Augustus – for that is his name,
is told he has a partner, oh what a shame!
Her name is Emma and she comes from across the Sea,
to drive Augustus crazy with her prose and her plea.
She is a playwrite, comissioned for a masque.
And, as it happens, in the way of Augustus’ task.
Though at first, they hate, soon they will know –
Love comes in all forms, from head to toe.
When dangers loom and agents strike –
Will they realize it is one another they like?
In the end, will they give in?
Or will they be stubborn, like a can of tin.
Will out heroes prevail?
Will Napolean’s plot fail?
The Garden of Inrtigues has the answer …
So read it and confer!”
11. “Men in masks, sure to entice.
Inquiring beauties, no scandal meant.
Must get away from danger in a trice,
Before Napoleon has caught their scent.
An American lass with her nose in books,
Modern man, a genteel sort.
Can you see the lingering looks?
Love at last or just for sport?
Back in time, we go again.
To lovely ladies, full of beauty,
And dignified, well-dressed men
Who do their government’s duty.
Richard, the swarthy spy
Arrives stealthily for a garden meet.
Amy’s there to catch a lie.
They are in for quite a treat!
Miles, a friend and always a gent
Except among a garden rose.
A spy’s sister, Hen, her feelings spent
But among the flowers, how their love grows.
The intelligent Geoff, his manner mild
Letty instead inside the carriage?
His choice was Mary, a bit more wild.
Yes, love still blossoms in this marriage.
Mary is back to find love herself.
Vaughn is there in his octagonal room.
To him, she’s not a trophy on a shelf.
Their love is twisted, watch it bloom.
Charlotte was a dreamer since her youth.
Robert, a soldier, went far away.
They saw the world upon her roof.
She hopes their love will make him stay.
Darkened balconies are dangerous, Penelope knows.
Away to India, her husband spoils his vices.
Alex, a native, to her the country he shows.
She finds love in the air full of spices.
A funny nickname, but a Turnip he’s not.
Arabella, a mistress at his sister’s school.
Their feelings unfold during a sinister plot.
Unveiling the mystery, he proves he’s no fool.
A governess spy Laura and Frenchman Andre,
Getting away from Delaroche is the thing.
A family, the two will have to play,
But they prove their love is not a fling.
Emma, a girl, and Augustus, a poet.
Don’t forget Jane, the pink flower.
I can’t handle my excitement, I know it!
Until February, I’ll hide away in a tower!
Romance and mystery are always in style.
Flowery aliases and crazy plots afoot.
These books are sure to give your face a smile.
I hope this series is never kaput!”
— Alexandra M.
12. “The Passionate Turnip to his Love
Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the puddings share
Beribboned bundles, green and gold,
Festooned with currants, sweet and bold.
There will we sup upon choice fare,
And watch the dairy eat their share
In barnyard stables, horses and cows:
Melodious moos, neighs and bow-wows.
Arabella Fair shall beam and grin,
At hapless Turnip, with pudding-smeared chin
Should mistletoe appear above,
Please kiss me quick, and be my Love.”
— Alexa J.
13. “I found Pink one long boring day
and soon discovered Pink is a series that was more than red hot
It starts with a story of a flowered spy
and a young girl who craved her own adventure more than a lot
Muslin, head wounds, and ravishing masked man
distracted our heroine wanna be spy
while her quiet cousin and particular chaperone
observed the English suitor’s secret lie
After many mishaps and liaisons, our heroine discovered the truth
and in her anger she hatched revenge instead of mired in pout
but revenge took a deadly turn
and put her true love’s identify and life in doubt
But mum, the duke, henri, miles and stiles
helped save the flowered spy and steal the gold
So our heroine could announce her love
and he declares he is hers to have and hold
Meanwhile the quiet cousin transforms herself
and the identify of the Pink Carnation is known by few
And the newly retired flower and wanna-be spy
have a pirate declare their undying love is true
This story may sound crazy
but I found the Pink Carnation is worth my worship
Because what other series of books
can make you fall in love with a Turnip?”
— Angel B.
14. “Ode to Pink
Oh, maybe deuced much a pun
his head rotund
turnip flushed, purple face
Bon A Parte
Be wary the secret letters
especially the fetters
awaiting those who
A flowery fellow
emits not a bellow,
could be a woman
Advice from the corrupt:
is making a mistake.”
15. “Ode to a Kitty Cat
Good morrow, good kitty.
Whose trusting eyes belie the michief inside.
Oh, how I love it when you come up,
in the middle of the night to wake me up.
Your furry nuzzles bring me joy,
even when you are being coy.
So, thank you good kitty.
Thank you for teaching me how to love.”
— Michelle S.
16. “No longer do I dream of a Darcy,
Making dramatic love speeches,
Instead my dreams are full of spies,
Named after flowers, clad in knee breeches.
I want to work for the Pink Carnation,
Saving the country as one of her spies,
Falling in love with a handsome young chap,
Whilst pulling off a cunning disguise.
But, sadly, I live in the 21st Century,
And there isn’t a top hat in sight,
So I’ll just bury my nose in a book,
And read all through the night!”
— Nicola S.
17. (To the tune of “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”)
“In regency England, born and raised,
Catching spies is how she spent most of her days,
With flowers and poets, they’re all so cool,
Shooting some bad guys in an early morning duel,
There’s always somebody who’s up to no good
Trying to make trouble in her neighborhood
She’s been in many a fight and never gotten scared,
Those rogues and thieves really haven’t got a prayer.
Amy and Hen and Miss Gwen are always near,
To help the Pink Carnation strike some fear,
In the hearts of those who hope to plunder and scare
But when Pink is on the case, it won’t be square!
She’ll sneak up on them when it’s really late and catch them by surprise: “you’ve been had by the Pink Carnation!”
The world is her kingdom, no one else can compare,
The Pink Carnation, the fairest of the fair.”
— Christine M.
18. “My Kingdom For a Pen!
Wouldst that my tongue could be sharpened to a nib!/*
But that awkward appendage couldst never be glib/
enough to encompass a glittering globe/
full of nonpareil, well-punctuated prose./
‘Twould slather and slime up the driest of inks!/
‘Twould flop and flub up the most thunderous of thinks!/
The full-stop it would flatten,/
the comma it would corrupt,/
my ellipses would be elongated…/
And The End would be abrupt!”
— Angie D.
19. “Who is the Pink Carnation
I’m not red or white
but in between
I’m not a rose by another name
I’m not potent in short supply
but don’t mark me off as just another guy.”
— Aileen W.
20. “Ode to the Swede
Across between a cabbage and a turnip and I.
I was also also introduced to the British before the French
I have a traditional Christmas casserole dish named after me
In Sunday in England people tend to mash me for a roast
I have many names: to the Americas, I’m the Rootabaga; to the English
I’m the swede.”
— Aileen W.
21. “Turnip’s Soliloquy
What’s in a name? That which we call a turnip
By any other name would taste as bitter.
So Turnip would, were he not Turnip call’d,
Retain that blundering proclivity to disaster
Which he owes without that title.
Thus naivete does make a hero of Turnip,
And thus the shocking hue of his waistcoat
Is sicklied o’er with the bright pattern of carnations,
And the enterprises of various botanical spies
Under Turnip’s regard are thwarted, their plans gone awry,
And lose the name of action while Turnip courts
The fair Arabella! Turnip Fitzhugh, in thy annals
Be carnations and Christmas puddings remembered.”
22. “Scarlet, purple, and then comes pink
To drive Napoleon to the brink.
The pimpernel, gentian, and carnation flowers
Haunt him all his waking hours.”
23. “Why must we poor readers be bashed in the head
with vampires, blood lust, and the undead?
Dystopian drama might be all the rage,
but I like a nice quiet coming of age story that’s not too gory.
Or a gothic mystery with ominous imagery
and a heroine impeccably chaste.
Give me Marlowe & Spade with their hard boiled ways,
or a quest of adventure and myth.
A stirring romance is the absolute best,
fusing hearts with fierce ardor and wit.
If you are what you read, I’ll take my tomes upbeat;
Pass me another Pink novel tout suite!”
24. “Ode to my Laptop
My dearest computer:
Oh! How you vex me.
My heart breaks in a million pieces
When you don’t work properly
You hold my heart dear computer
For all of my loves
Rest deep inside
You hard plastic tomb
My music, my pictures,
Every little detail
Of the hard work and sweat
Of my Thesis paper.
You see without you computer
I would be completely lost.
For I wouldn’t be able
To completely goof off.
I need you, dear computer
To keep my connected.
Without you my friends and my family
Would be unable to detect me.
I love your 21st century magic old friend,
Because without you
I would be completely at an end.”
25. “Black as midnight, Summers eve;
Listen to the soundless melody;
Of the wind blowing lifeless trees;
The Sound of sweet misery.”
26. “The Secret of the Flowers
Looming high and proud
The stonewall started by William the Conqueror
Built up through the majesties’ blood
Grew in time impervious to all
And just behind the burly stones
A bejeweled garden grew
Extravagant crimson roses filled the center
Sweet Jasmine laced the walls
Orchids guarded the spring blossoms
Carnations speckled through out seemingly random
And in shadowed corners fabled black tulips grew.
It is the age of beauty
So delicate, sweet and soft
Cultivated through the centuries
Each stunning in their own right
Truly a garden even Eden would envy.
Slowly the earth is shifting
The stonewalls are crumbling
Yet the garden remains beautiful still.
And beneath the emerald blades
The roots are twisted and dark
Always reaching and grasping
Nourished by the filth and dirt.
Soon this tame garden will no longer be
The stonewall lays under the flowers’ roots
A trail of pink marking the way
To a land born anew.”
27. “Carnations are pink,
The spy is not who you think.
Tulips are black,
Our favorite spies are under attack.
Emerald rings are green,
It is better to marry the sister that does not preen.
Roses are crimson,
The plot is treason.
Jasmine fragrances the night,
The king is in an awful plight.
Lily the color of blood,
Lord Frederick is a dud.
Mistletoe is full of mischief,
Of Christmas puddings, there is never enough!
Orchid in the affair,
They make quite a pair.
Intrigue in the garden,
The heroine is a hoyden.”
— Jennifer R.
28. “From a Lady, To Her Spy
I am one lady in a garden of many,
A rather plain Jane, yet you picked me out of plenty.
You are a spy, an unsung hero for all;
You hide in plain view at life’s masquerade ball.
I know who you are and your secret I’ll keep,
But remember, dearest Sir, that my price is quite steep.
I require one lifetime of devotion and love,
A joining of soulmates that mirrors those up above.
Your work is important for country and crown,
You flit in the shadows, yet I’m caught in my gown.
I am a lady, so I await your return,
But I can’t sit here idle alone with concern.
You may be a man and thus freer than I,
A deadly oleander, a master flower of spies.
I may be a woman, overlooked by most men,
A simple carnation, an overlooked gem.
You are quite gallant in the work that you do,
It seems only fair that I be these things too.
For I’m more than a lady, like you’re more than a guy.
I may be a lady, but I too am a spy.
— Nicole B.
29. “In ode, a muse was thusly purloined,
For truth it was all but a foil,
To its endeavor, the orator was thusly enjoined,
Perchance to entwine a dream of royal,
And in masquerade, florid flourishes are thusly coined,
Alas for to thine ears it was a toil,
Setting many fine minds to fatigue,
Withal the orator embroils a heroine in a garden intrigue.”