Sunday, 21 June 2015

What’s so funny?

Through the screen door, I saw my family, sitting in the backyard 
arranged in a circle arc on wooden chairs in wafts 
of roses and barbeque ribs and sauce that gusted from the grill –

as Michael bluntly remarked: “I don’t recall THAT being particularly funny.”
His brother, not one to equivocate in word or deed, 
dissolved into chortles of laughter and gleefully, responded: 
“Oh ya, Man – THAT was SO-O-O-O funny” ... and his sister,
ever the peacemaker, chimed in:  “Well, it was kind of funny, Mikes”

as the rest of the backyard kin, waded in with a cacophony of 
howls and guffaws, bubbling sniggles, cackles, whoops and giggles . . .
that, after a time, dwindled and drifted
unto the summer shush of a nearby sprinkler.
The patriarch of the clan, holding court sedately, chuckled softly, then: 
as I had heard him do so many times before – kindly, warmly, fondly –

as a jovial titter, skittered from Michael
and erupted into a full blown belly laugh 
that left him doubled over and gasping for air …

naturally, his dearly beloveds clamored right back in there 
for another round of hilarity – laughing so hard, 
I feared several of them would fall off their chairs, until finally,

they exhaled in deep buoyant breaths,
wiping­­ their eyes and melodically blowing their noses 
in mutters of e-e-e-ch and omigosh and geez

as Michael, having made his case or so it seemed  
pronounced, through wheezing snorts,
with as much solemnity as he could muster:

“Well, ya-a-a-a – NOW it’s funny!”

notes:  posted for Poets United.

Prose Poem - The prose poem appears as prose, but reads like poetry.  Though it lacks the line breaks associated with poetry, the prose poem maintains a poetic quality, often utilizing poetry fundamentals, such as repetition, rhyme and alliteration.  The form can range in length from a few lines to several pages and explores all genres and styles.  It gained popularity in the 19th century in France, and was spread to England, Germany, Latin America and the US by writers such as Charles Baudelaire, William Wordsworth, Franz Kafka and Gertrude Stein.

photo:  Backyard Father’s Day Barbeque – W. Bourke

© 2015 Wendy Bourke  


  1. This made me smile. And so true that sometimes humor cannot be understood or explained; but sometimes it can be very contagious -- as evidenced by your poem! (I like your photo!)

  2. I enjoyed your prose..when family gather you never know what will happen and once the laughter starts it makes everything seem ok.

  3. This is such a fantastic form.. loved the prose poem.. its different.. like a breath of fresh air & the humor is sparkling :D

    Lots of love,

  4. laughter can be contagious...but its a good one, smiles ~ enjoyed the prose poem ~

  5. The wonderful thing about family gatherings - all the cackling!!!!!!!!

  6. love this jovial mood all through :)

  7. What wonderful way of showing how the right company makes everything funny, everything;-)

  8. good times spent with family means a lot...

  9. What a wonderful window into the fun ;)

  10. Such a delightful read. Made me happy just to imagine myself at this family gathering.

  11. An enjoyable read. I felt like I was there!

  12. Ha. Sounds like your family had a fun fathers day. And sounds like dad has a way of smoothing out the funnies.

  13. A fun family gathering. Good poem.

  14. Very neat dissection of stages of laughter--a fun day while someone gets roasted!