Poetry Challenge #77-Heave-Ho! Chant-She-Blows!

Sing-Alongs are always challenging—and sometimes embarrassing—even for me. (And those of you who know me, know I love to sing—badly.) The worst is when someone sticks a microphone in my face and I don’t know the words. That’s when I resort to the trusty mumble-mumble-murmer-murmer— la-di-dah-daaaaaaaa

My Best Friend’s Wedding  Classic!

My Best Friend’s Wedding Classic!

Songwriters who like audiences who sing-along— pirate ship captives & those wanting tips, for example—make singing along easier by writing song with repeated refrains—the more often repeated the better. Which brings me to today’s prompt.

Poetry Challenge #77

Heave-Ho! Chant-She-Blows!

“The chant poem is about as old as poetry itself,” writes Robert Lee Brewer in his Oct. 23, 2012 post. “Chant poems simply incorporate repetitive lines that form a sort of chant. Each line can repeat [as they do in Blues’ songs], or every other line [as in a Sea Shanty].” Sailors sang shanties as they rowed or heaved on ropes to keep everyone working at the same pace. It’s believed “Shanty” is a morphism of “chanty” meaning both the type of song and a name for the sailor who leads the singing. By way of an example, below is a Chant Poem Cindy created.  

Snow fell this morning, soft and white and cold,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

I liked it more before I got so old,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

I left the city a long time ago,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.

Now I hear sounds of birds—the caws of crows,
I was thinking of our bench in Central Park today.
— --Cindy Faughnan

Follow these three easy steps to create your own Chant Poem—Or “Shanty” if you will! 

  1. Find a headline in a newspaper or magazine that you like the sound of. That will be your chant.

  2. Write a four line rhyming poem where the first 2 lines rhyme and the last 2. AABB

  3. Insert the chant between each line of your rhyming poem and you have a chant poem.

“They know a song will help the job along…”

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge more than 1042 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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