In search of story

March 8.23: Coping, but barely


Eight years ago, on this date, I published this post, which I find timely still. If by some chance, dear reader, you should have a small drum convenient, I invite you to read this out loud while accompanying yourself with a good beat. (Timbrel and sackbut optional.) You will need to count 2-3-4 in between stanzas to get it right. (An empty Quaker oatmeal box is an acceptable accompaniment. Hard to tune, though.)


March Roundelay

‘Tis wondrous fair
how I swerve and swear
in a seamless arc
as I weave and snark
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
around the potholes.

I amaze myself
with my grace and stealth
with jaws clenched tight
as I curse their blight
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
oh, the potholes.

It’s a lurch and a sway
and a moan and a bray
a zag and a zig
an impossible jig
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
amid the potholes.

A screech and a gasp
a white-knuckled grasp
a brake-slam dance
a murderous glance
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
it’s dodgems
edging on the potholes.

Of patience bereft
mine axles cleft,
with a bang and a twist
imprecation and a fist
a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
I rage in vain
against the potholes.

The snow is black
there’s a wrench in my back
it’s cold and bleak
as I jolt and squeak
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
and an inch to spare
beside the potholes.

Ah, misery me,
It’s a dreary dance
around the potholes.
My car doesn’t fly
and neither do I
so we take our chance
around the potholes
with a hey and a ho
and a nonny-nonny-no
we take our chance
and dance
around the potholes.


With a bow and hey-nonny to Gilbert & Sullivan.

14 thoughts on “March 8.23: Coping, but barely

  1. Maureen, this post is perfectly timed and still accurate for this time of year. So glad you reposted it. It’s a wonder that we and our cars survive “pothole season”! There aren’t enough curse words to release the frustration these potholes create! BUT, on the bright side, potholes also herald that spring is near! :~)

  2. This is great, Maureen and I fear it will be appropriate every spring, as it has been as long as I can remember. I tried to keep the beat, but I ain’t got rhythm.

  3. Love it! This is so true and never more so than here in NH. We know it’s bad when they have actually installed a sign that says ‘bump ahead.’ I was driving the other day in my truck and actually wondered if I had a tire going flat but started looking at the asphalt and realized, no, it was the road deterioration. Bring on spring and the road crews. 🙂

    • Amen to that: bring on spring! “Bump ahead” is polite language for “bottomless pit ahead.” Those holes have re-aligned my teeth any number of times.

  4. I forwarded this to Jay Z as I see a future hip hop artist in you! I was rappin’ this out like no one’s business, Maureen–this is great!

  5. I hadn’t seen this before — wonderful! Potholes (here in New England, too, and spaced out with frost heaves) are responsible for many impromptu swear phrases. I’m glad someone’s *singing* through them!

  6. My sweetheart will appreciate this one when I share it with him (he loves Morris Dancers too and they would be the perfect interpreters of this, waving white handkerchiefs and smashing their sticks together in disdain of the potholes).

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