Monday, March 26, 2012

Ode to a Marshmallow Peep

I took an introduction to poetry class my freshman year of college. It was taught by an earnest grad student with a taste for the mopey -- the darker and whinier and more depressing the poem, the better. In retrospect, I'd call her emo. At the time, I thought she was just kind of silly.

I tried to like those poems, I really did. I clapped as my classmates read their woeful rhymes. I attempted to meet her ever-so-serious assignments, but mostly came out sounding grumpy. (Grumpy isn't the best emotion for poetry.)

I didn't hate the class. We actually read some poems I still love, like Billy Collins' "Marginalia" and Li-Young Lee's "Persimmons," even though after "Persimmons" we had to write erotic poetry and I almost died. (I was 18; I was innocent; the word "erotic" made me giggle because all I could think of was the Simpsons bit about erotic cakes -- the part from the end of the Treehouse of Horror episode "Homer3" when he falls into the real world. I'd link to it, but "erotic cakes" is just not something you Google.)

For our final assignment, we created chapbooks of the semester's work and were allowed to add in a few new poems. We all got together at the gyro shop to read our work aloud.

I wasn't going to read. I smiled and clapped through everyone's performances, most of which were very good but several of which required restraint from eye-rolling. The last girl who signed up to read closed her eyes and chanted her poem, a long thing about death and futility, and when she was done my instructor scanned the audience. "Come on, anyone else?"

So I got up and recited this:

Ode to a Marshmallow Peep

O Marshmallow Peep! O Peep of my heart!
Thy sugary goodness delights me—
Thy bright yellow outside,
Thy soft squishy inside—
Such delicate texture excites me!

O Marshmallow Peep! O Peep of my love!
Thy chicken-like shape is so dandy—
Thy soft curving tail
Thy small pointy beak—
The planet’s most marvelous candy!

O Marshmallow Peep! Oh Peep so divine!
With all of these blessings I shower thee—
But I can’t sit and stare
And admire thee there—
I’d surely much rather devour thee!

Thus launches our Easter series, Babblists. Are you ready for it?


  1. As one who shall be stepping back into the world of academic poetry tomorrow, I appreciate this poem on a deep level.


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