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This week for Staying Power, I sat down to write one thing, and something totally different came out. (Surprise! Ain’t life grand?)

What came out was a poem that imitates “The House That Jack Built,” an old nursery rhyme I grew up with. Don’t ask me why. No clue. I hadn’t thought of that nursery rhyme in years.

To compose this imitation poem, I closely followed the rhythms, rhyme scheme, and cumulative structure of the original. The form “builds” upon itself, impressing upon us that the world is a tapestry of interdependency.

This poem begs to be read aloud. If you don’t, you might just get lost!

Care to write your own poem mimicking this nursery rhyme? Send me what you create and I’ll share it with our reading community.

 

The House That Love Builds

After “The House That Jack Built,”
a nursery rhyme first published in 1755

This is the house that love builds.

This is the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

These are the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

This is the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

These are the feet
That roam the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

This is the song with the jazzy horn
That livens the feet
That roam the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

These are the voices, all night and morn,
That sing the song with the jazzy horn
That livens the feet
That roam the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

These are the peoples, all tattered and torn,
That raise their voices, all night and morn,
That sing the song with the jazzy horn
That livens the feet
That roam the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

This is the dream, never outworn,
That frees the peoples, all tattered and torn,
That raise their voices, all night and morn,
That sing the song with the jazzy horn
That stirs the feet
That roam the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

This is the grief, from suffering borne,
That feeds the dream, never outworn,
That frees the peoples, all tattered and torn,
That raise their voices, all night and morn,
That sing the song with the jazzy horn
That livens the feet
That roam the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

This is the light breaking through the storm
That eases the grief, from suffering borne,
That feeds the dream, never outworn,
That frees the peoples, all tattered and torn,
That raise their voices, all night and morn,
That sing the song with the jazzy horn
That livens the feet
That roam the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

This is the heart, by compassion warmed,
That mirrors the light breaking through the storm,
That eases the grief, from suffering borne,
That feeds the dream, never outworn,
That frees the peoples, all tattered and torn,
That raise their voices, all night and morn,
That sing the song with the jazzy horn
That livens the feet
That roam the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

This is the hope of a world transformed
That guides the heart, by compassion warmed,
That mirrors the light breaking through the storm,
That eases the grief, from suffering born,
That feeds the dream, never outworn,
That frees the peoples, all tattered and torn,
That raise their voices, all night and morn,
That sing the song with the jazzy horn
That livens the feet
That roam the land
That blesses the hands
That stitch the quilt
That hangs in the house that love builds.

Deep peace,

 

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Phyllis Cole-Dai

Phyllis Cole-Dai

Phyllis Cole-Dai has authored or edited eleven books in multiple genres, including historical fiction, spiritual nonfiction and poetry. She lives in Brookings, South Dakota, USA.

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