Ode Poetry: To a Pet Peeve

A pet peeve is defined as an annoyance, specifically, a particular behavior a person identifies as an irritation. Pet peeves are unique and sometimes quirky. Interestingly, the same irritation that makes your lip curl or eyes narrow in displeasure, might not disturb others at all.

Let’s write an ode to celebrate the little things that drive us batty!

Ode Poetry Prompt:
Choose your favorite pet peeve and write an ode to it. What makes that particular behavior the best of the worst?

(Here’s a long list of pet peeves in case you’ve forgotten what ruffles your feathers.)

We look forward to reading your poems!  …oh, and we promise to chew quietly and try not to tap our pens on the table.


Thanks to all our participants in last week’s follow-up to our photo play and poetry prompt. Here’s part of a poem from Rosanne we thought fit nicely here:

Woolen threads
are coarse and scratch the surface
in ways the feet can never hide.

—by Rosanne Osborne

Featured photo by Rem-Zel. Creative Commons License via Flickr. Post by Heather Eure.



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  1. says

    That list is too much and, of course, has to star in my poem.

    Things Could Be Worse

    No need to avoid the people
    on public transportation. They will sit
    next to you, read out loud, pick their noses,
    make a sucking noise with their straws,
    and never cover their mouths while sneezing.

    It’s the law of inevitability,
    and it’s bound to happen—
    to you.

    The men on trains who insist on sitting with their legs
    spread wide are the same guys who leave
    toilet seats up and call you “Babe”.

    Don’t think to raise a finger
    to the jerks who ignore yield signs.
    They also won’t turn right
    on red, can be counted on to take up two parking spaces
    — everywhere — and always start i n c h i n g forward,
    s l o w l y,

    These are the same people who zig-zag
    in and out of express lanes
    while reading the morning paper.
    They tailgate like the gangstas they think they are.

    You can complain that people chew with their mouths
    open or let ice cream drop out of the bottom
    of their sugar cones but look at this way:
    You won’t be coming home to dirty dishes
    in the sink or a lover who smacks
    and pops his chewing gum while carrying on
    a one-sided conversation in the third person.

    You say you’ve got an office
    mate who clips his nails at work,
    whistles when he’s happy, and uses the fax
    to call your home number. I want you to imagine this:
    What if he didn’t use deodorant
    and you were on the same business flight to India?

    I agree. The bosses who think your job is your life
    don’t look at you when you’re talking,
    are always late to needless meetings they schedule, and crowd the only bathroom stall
    with a mirror so they can see themselves while seated.

    Do you think
    that below those monogrammed-cuff-linked shirts
    they’ve ever worn anything
    but wife-beaters?

    I know all about getting fruit in my bag on Halloween.
    Give the givers a break: My neighbors practice
    environmentalism with lawn ornaments but draw
    the line at picking up dog poop on the sidewalk.

    Can you blame adults who cuss
    in front of children? At least they’re not senior citizens
    whose every other word is “Hun.”

    I hear you
    have a lot of pet peeves: hypocrites, cops who burn
    their tires while not chasing down criminals,
    fake laughter, people who burp in public,
    movie talkers, kids on leashes, blondes,
    blondes having their blonde moments.

    Did I ever tell you I have a thing about toothpaste
    in the sink and people who make out
    while I’m reading my junk mail?

    Now don’t you be going
    all negative on me again. I’ve never once left you
    locked in a hot car with the windows rolled up,
    spit while talking to you, or purposely skipped
    pages during your favorite bedtime reading hour.
    I concede I have been known to mumble: Yes,
    things could be worse.

    • says

      Maureen, you got every one in here, I think. You left out the moms who shout “stop or we’re leaving” at least 100 times in the market to their kid, but they never just silently pick them up kicking and screaming and leave. What I kept enjoying about this was thinking that everyone who reads it will totally identify with these repeat occurrences. I’ve often thought the people you describe are actually hired to do what they do, where they do it. Thanks you for this.

    • says

      Maureen you delight and amaze. This is the bomb. (after “gagsta” I had to) to used incorrectly will show up in my “ode to pet peeville”.

      You end with a real zinger :) I am longing for a part two with more, Maureen.

  2. says

    Church Intoning

    You would like this task to be easier,
    a small pin to hold a screen door closer,
    to keep the plunger stem from slipping out.
    My search so far: the length and width of stores
    like Ace and Perkins Hardware, musty air
    of factory oil mixed with days of toil
    from hands on number eight machine head screws,
    bagging them, each with their distinctive scent
    of threads—it’s enough to notice all in all.

    Finally I am at Home Depot with Deb,
    exasperated at the disorder,
    tens in with eights, People don’t care, you know,
    she tries to sort them while looking for me.
    So many carts now in the isle, she must
    close the drawer and step back, and no one moves,
    not one or the other giving ground—he,
    with sheets and pounds of plywood to turn—she,
    with a sink to large for the basket, we
    could learn to share the isles, I know, to slow
    our pace. I will come back another day.

    Deb, her duty enduring all this, says
    she knows where a pin might be, would I stay,
    but the windows gray, a storm is coming,
    and I am parked isles away outside. Deb,
    I will look for you, I’ll be returning.
    May I have the old pin back; it will do,
    until a strong wind knocks it out again.
    She smiles, Oh, sorry, here. Her hand is small
    and smudged. She turns back and opens the drawer
    again to sort the hundreds of clear bags,
    but someone else, impatient to get home,
    I hear say, Miss, can I get some help now?

  3. says

    Ode To The “15 Items of Less” Line and Other Lines

    Its entirely possible to hear a Tsunami of them
    While standing sheepishly in the line
    At Publix
    With your 16 items, but whose counting
    No really who is

    But thankfully, while eavesdropping
    One cannot detect the its and it’s
    And too’s and to’s
    Or the who’s and whose
    But those are for another day or at least
    Another ode
    About peevish grammatical errors

    It is what it is
    I could care less
    Tell me how you really feel

    Honey, have a great day
    Paper or plastic
    Would someone stop asking
    Debit or credit
    It is all a broken record

    Shall we count how many times a week
    The guy at Barnes and Noble asks me if I want to save 10 % today
    The answer is still no, but how would he know
    That is for another ode
    I digress

    The buggy in the parking lot left
    In the perfect parking place
    And the car parked in the handicap place
    Not really buying that
    Especially when they come out to drive away
    Without so much as a limp
    Talking loud on their cell phone
    Not, mind you, loudly
    About uber personal things
    I am not even lying
    Really, I am being honest now
    The one behind you in line…
    What are the odds of that being
    The guy, the very same one
    Or his evil twin
    Who whips out the blue and white
    Sign to put over his rear view mirror
    Before driving off to
    Have a nice day

    And he is the same guy
    You can bet on it
    Who will honk at you to pull
    Out into traffic
    I’m just saying

    No doubt he
    Also left the toilet paper
    Well you know
    And used the handicap stall
    At Publix

    And left his buggy
    In the middle of the parking lot
    The one that rolled back
    And dinged your car

    Have a nice day
    When it rains it pours

      • says

        A fun one, Elizabeth! Watch for the grammar freaks (“15 items or fewer…”), and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

        Where do we put the checkout person who’s talking on a cellphone and trying to key in at the same time?

        Also, I need to clear something up: I really wasn’t intending to try to use all the peeves in that Get Annoyed list (someone said the list was annoying because it wasn’t numbered) but I thank Richard, anyway, because look what it’s fostered: pure fun.

        • says

          Ah yes. This is pure fun. And where do we put the coupons on the items which stay on the item, never being redeemed, well you get the point :) and is it ever worth a dollar or two to drive back to the store with the “missed” coupon which remains on the item which you chose for its coupon…. Sigh.

          And don’t worry…I will not say you didn’t warn me :)

    • says

      Clever, Elizabeth! I adore your use of the southern vernacular. Haven’t heard the word “buggy” for a shopping cart since I left SC. Makes me a little homesick. :)

    • says

      Elizbeth, This is very funny and spot on. The express line at Publix might be the most frustrating place on the planet. How come the people with the excess items are also the ones that insist on writing a check? Uh…what part of “express” don’t they get??

  4. Marcy says

    “Ole To A Pet Peeve”

    Seems my challenge has begun, with Maureen
    covering everything under the sun. Yet, I hate to see when old men pick at their noses and then flip it into the air. Where it landed, I don’t want to sit there. Then it’s the gum stuck on my shoe, blue is the color all fresh and new. Maybe it’s the walk to the mailbox and I don’t own a dog but I step in it’s pile leaving the smell for miles. That one that missed the shower for the week, gets on the elevator and I can’t even speak. Now it’s in the doctor’s office with me, talking loudly on it’s cellphone oh, give me a break please! It’s on the plane he’s old and loud, drank too much and won’t shut-up. He got the cute single young woman that sat by his seat. Every time he talks to her he turns and pulls at my long hair. As the plane begins to land, all his little bottles roll under my seat. Finally I turn and say, stop pulling my hair old man, never was I so glad to give him the evil eye. Then it’s the old man in the run down car doing 30 miles an hour in a 45 run. I pass him and stop at the light, he has the nerve to blow his horn at me. You don’t do that little man as I stepped down from my cab, grabbed a steel baseball bat and walked to his car. Looked down in his window and said, “You don’t blow your horn at me, got that little man?” Climb in my cab, light turns green move over to the right lane but he never passed me. Right now it’s the phone calls from the telemarketers that’s getting to me. They wake me up, keep me up, hang up on me. Yes, I’m on the list not to call me, my number is private and I’m as mad as can be. So I’ve started getting back at them too. When they call on my ID I answer Doctor Dowantoknow, how can I help you? All of a sudden they hang-up, I haven’t a clue.

    • says

      Marcy, very creative. Great list of pet peeves.

      I’d have to include in any new poem on pet peeves the visitors who come into your hospital room (assuming it’s a two-bed room) while you’re having a migraine and who turn on all the lights and rachet up the television’s sound.

      And who is going to be the first to include the woman drenched in perfume who gets on the elevator and you just cannot breathe? Or the person who takes the last cup of coffee and does not make a new pot?

    • says

      Wow!! Just reading these makes my blood boil :)

      We do need a poem with those poor left out peeved.
      Maureen, will you do the honors. Here are a few more

      * the litterbugs
      * the boaters who cause a wake in the no wake zone
      * the loud library “guests”
      * the double dipper
      *.the salad bar sneezer


  5. Marcy says

    A thousand “Yes’s” Maureen to the one I was going to mention but forgot. The drenched woman in perfume, who can breathe, old women and school teachers are the worst. My poor son could not sit though class. The large male teacher who would fall asleep in class then fart before waking himself up. I’m really getting a laugh out of this one. Thanks for all the comments.

  6. says

    Hi all, I’m a new here…really enjoying exploring the site. A pet peeve of mine are people that just have to correct your grammar.


    An English teacher walking home
    From class one autumn night
    Is accosted by a snarling wolf
    That gives her quite a fright

    “By your size and your formation,
    You’re like nothing that I know”
    “Werewolf growled the monster…
    “T’is the full moon makes me so”

    “A talking wolf, she cried in shock,
    “That’s really quite precocious,
    But Sir Wolf, I’m sad to say
    Your grammar’s quite atrocious

    Oh, your muscles are of sinew
    And your coat shines like a mink’s
    Your eyes reflect the starlight,
    But your conjugation stinks!

    Take no offense you wretched beast,
    But I must beg your pardon
    How can you say you were a wolf
    When you still clearly are one?

    If you choose to butcher people,
    Well, it’s all the same to me,
    But I just can’t let you butcher
    The simple verb to be

    Now if you’ll pay attention,
    I’ll explain the best I can.
    That when speaking in the present tense
    You say a wolf I am

    And if the past tense should apply,
    As I’m sure sometimes it does,
    You still don’t say I were a wolf
    You say a wolf I was

    And when looking to the future
    As the full moon sets you free
    Well then, my friend, it’s fair to say
    A lovely wolf I’ll be

    For something more exotic
    Toss a participle in
    The imperfect: having been a wolf…
    Or the perfect: wolf I’ve been

    That’s quite enough for this time
    I feel you’ve done your best
    Now you go home and practice,
    ‘Cause next time there’ll be a test!”

    The creature bared its ivory fangs
    And crouched down on its paws
    It growled deep within its throat
    And spread its awful jaws

    “Wait! I am, I am a teacher”
    She cried to the charging cur
    He gobbled her, then licked his chops,
    And said “You mean you were!”

    • says

      Parker, welcome! Pull up a chair and make yourself at home. So glad you shared this! We needed a werewolf poem. I *may* have told a Tweetspeaker that the other day.

      Enjoyed reading it. So fun. I do hope you’ll share more of your poems here. :)

  7. says

    Thank you, thank you to the litter
    -bugs who leave us space to clean.
    But if it’s true they trash the boaters,
    the big and small who capsize floaters,
    I say, then, call in our drones
    from the flooded no-wake zones.

    And thank you, thank you
    to the double-dippers
    who take more than their fair share;
    they’re like the bullies in the sand box
    who never survive a dare.

    And thank you, too, to the woman who smells
    more than that little dab’ll do her.
    Her trail is long that we’d follow if we could
    but most of us would just prefer
    she keep to her ‘hood.

    A special note of thanks for the salad bar
    sneezer. But better him, you say,
    than the old bald geezer
    who ogles much too long
    the place where eyes do not belong.

    And the loud library guests, let us thank
    them as well. Beware the finger
    to your lips, though,
    they’re apt to make life h…..

    A thumbs up to the kickers and screamers;
    it’s their mommas for the hundredth time
    we’d like to clobber with our sneakers.

    Yes, thank you, thank you, thank you
    to the people with pet peeves.
    Not a one of us is without them
    and every one of us strives to please.

  8. says

    Ode To Hyperbole

    The fingernails of sensation hang on
    to the crashes
    and the great robberies—
    dealer’s choice stacked
    from Jimmy Choos.

    I turn my head
    from their gruesome scenes—
    the newsprint hawkers
    calling from curbside
    boxes full of photos and font,
    blaring elephantine
    along the scuffed curbsides.

    The beggar on the corner
    says the world is real
    and ends with the October moon.

    People rush by in Burberry,
    hair and fragrances flowing,
    their steps complex, cacophonous
    against the expansion-jointed promenade.

    Somewhere down the street, in a few clicks,
    money disappears, the nails are painted—
    My Chihuahua Bites—
    digits separated with felt cushions;
    the sharks circle in the roundabouts.

    What sells is killer, we know it well.
    Keys in one hand, hand in pocket,
    tip the ticket taker trotting to your car.

    What is black and white and red all over,
    read all about it for the last ten years!

    Down the paper pages of Rodeo,
    deep in their folds
    a beggar rises,
    who knows Shakespeare
    and wears his cuffs
    with links thirty-four inches
    from the shoulder; the cars slow,
    before they quietly disappear
    in the fractured palm shadows.

  9. Marcy says

    Maureen, loved the last one too. My keyboard keeps getting stuck each letter is a struggle so to all of you this last ole to the keyboard will have to do.

  10. says

    Bad poets – live and in person
    They’re my pet peeve
    So subjective – no one but them gets it
    They inspire me to leave.
    Blogging that is futile
    Really, it’s so brutal
    Why do so many pretend?
    I’m really not negative
    Just putting in perspective
    Only stroking each other is bizarre.
    Isn’t that what petting zoos are for?
    Feigning popularity – now that’s a pet
    Peeve for me – so why am I writing anyway?
    May be that it might please me
    But historically it peeves me
    I’m writing just because it’s Saturday.
    Thanks for the opportunity
    I hope that you’re not peeved at me
    But you’re the one who asked me anyway.
    Please have yourselves a nice, poetic day.

  11. Marcy says

    Ode to the Poets who try

    We join right along trying our best
    just to fit in and learn from the best.
    Kindness abounds when we finally get it right,
    Brings on a smile, it feels really nice.
    No book on Amazon to order with our name
    spelled correct.
    No one asking us to write them a poem yet. However, we are kind hearted people just doing our best, in our minds we know we
    are not first class.
    Writing is fun, it makes me happy when days
    are hard and pain is bad.
    If writing can do that for a soul like me,
    then I won’t give up you see.
    These people here are like family to me.
    To write that poem, the one that gets published for all to read.
    Now that’s something to bring me to my knees.
    I’ll just keep trying everyday to better
    myself in what I say.
    Freedom of words comes with a price,
    There will always be someone who isn’t nice.
    When your told your years are few to come,
    It changes a person and to whom they become.
    Each day is a blessing be it sun or rain,
    Writing with a group so special means
    No, I’m not blind, my poems don’t always come out fine.
    It seems I love the skin I’m in, though the parts on my arms like to flap in the wind.
    At least I laugh and smile through the pain.
    Your insides you can’t see.
    One thing is for sure, I’m not leaving this
    world without a room full of laughter, a
    glass of wine in my hand.
    Surrounded by friends who know who I am.
    Music in the background playing Peter, Paul
    and Mary.
    Lift up a glass and toast the one who tried
    with all her merry.

      • says

        “No, I’m not blind, my poems don’t always come out fine.”

        Ah, neither do mine, Marcy. I think there’s something to be said for writing for oneself and sharing among friends just for the joy of it. (I do that, too, and I don’t try to get those poems published. It all comes to purposes, doesn’t it? :) )

        • Marcy says

          Heather and L. you make smile, wow, would someone grab a Kleenex box for me. It’s all about acceptance, kindness, and God bringing me to my knees.

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