What makes for funny poems?
Maybe the same things that make for any funny writing! Consider these qualities from How to Write Funny…
-cumulative effect (a build through repetition)
And add this one—which may be more noticeable in a poem, but is definitely present even in funny prose: sound.
Here are ten of the best funny poems at Tweetspeak Poetry, from Every Day Poems, and beyond. Do you see any of the “funny writing techniques” in them?
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130)
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
True, unbridled love
Is looking at what I just did
On the sidewalk
Then picking it up in a bag
I can only imagine as a treasured keepsake
Wow, the collection you must have by now.
They had in mind seafood
buffets, some lavish spreads fit
for a cruise on the luxury liner.
But stuff happens. Their wine run
out, all the croissants consumed,
their vessel was in deep, deep
hot water, adrift off the Riviera
with no internet service, no air
conditioning, no power, and four
thousand five hungry passengers.
Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, Monsieur!
Refrigerators hummed down
into silence, the SOS tapped out.
The navy scrambled Seahawks,
dropped crab meat from on high
and the cry went up, was heard:
C’est incroyable. Merci pour ce repas
que nous allons recevoir. Alas,
the captain spoke too quick, so
sick he could not hide from view
rushed rations of Pop-Tarts, cases
and cans of clearly marked SPAM.
Sniff tests would not this repast
pass. Many a voucher was promised.
Her new sweater doesn’t smell of me
I could pee on that
She’s gone out for the day and
left her laptop on the counter
I could pee on that
Her new boyfriend just pushed
my head away
I could pee on him
She’s ignoring me ignoring her
I could pee everywhere
She’s making up for it
by putting me on her lap
I could pee on this
I could pee on this
— Francesco Marciuliano in I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats
Living alone has got its effects—
like for instance one goes without…
well, if one chose one could
but one needn’t. In any case,
take tonight in the bath, where
dishes I did. Which is not the same,
by the way, as me being unlaced
doing scrub a dub dub in a tub
with the plates. No, my sink
in the kitchen is clogged. So I
barely got wet, just my hands,
caressing the forks and the pans.
When you set about to write your sonnet
Leave off comparisons to a summer’s day
Number 18 has a copyright on it;
use it and some bardy will make you pay.
The Shakespeare kind your lit teacher taught you
(the chick with big glasses and busy lips):
she said quatrains and a couplet would do.
Ten syllables for each line: Eight – Nine – Shit.
Steer your pentameter iambic,
whatever that’s supposed to mean.
People drive quite hard to fuel this shtick.
A pain in the assonance it might seem,
not to turn your iambs in trochees
when you hands reach out to choke (them). Geez.
The dictionary says
it started with smutch, a
corruption of smudge, but
somewhere along the line
of a lover’s lips, a smudge
became a smooch.
Smooch is the funnest word.
Smooch, smooch, smooch!
for the mouth.
Impossible not to start saying it
Hey, let’s try to start a
Again: Hey, let’s try to start a
A smooch trend!
And of course there’s
that gnarly hashtag
#smooch …aw man…that is
It would be awfully
fun to see “smooch” pass
throughout Twitter. New
Year’s Eve is the perfect
night for it! #smooch
*Smooch!* Pass it on! #smooch
My lips are tired but happy.
I expect to see
this peak in “Trending Topics”
at 11:59:45 tonight. #smooch
New Year’s Eve is the perfect night!
lol if we’re awake, YES! #smooch
*Smooch!* Pass it on! #smooch
What fun! #smooch
Why wait? #smooch
Now wait a minute.
Who started this craze? #smooch
I think it might have
been my aunt. She always
used to ask me for a *smooch*
–Tweetspeak poets (read the rest)
Trying to Avoid Writing
While Driving, I Hired a Chimp
Chimpanzees, it turns out, take
She kept saying “i’m an excellent
driver, an excellent driver”
but it seems only from the backseat
wrapping hairy monkey fingers
over my eyes, she yanked on my earlobes
smeared lipstick (purple) across my cheek
because, she said, she couldn’t see
through the rearview. The chimpanzee gave
Got me lost around Salina.
I knew I had to stop
when she pulled out the mascara.
The package said voice-activated
but I couldn’t find the off-switch
so I tried the F-word and wound up
face down on the off-ramp and
figured next time I would just
write it down.
college friends sip coffee together
mid-morning while across the way,
a couple long-married reads
the daily paper as they wait
for a shared cappuccino.
A tray of food behind the counter
slips from the waiter’s hands.
Orange juice soils his apron
and glass smashes on the floor,
mixing with scrambled pieces
of an old man’s breakfast.
And finally the cappuccino
arrives for the married couple,
celebrating their anniversary.
He warns his wife of the heat,
to blow on it first would be better,
but she blows lightly to no avail.
Blow harder, he tells her,
you’ve got to part the foam.
So, she blows with force
on the foam which flies
from the cup—into his face, onto his front.
She laughs like crazy; he dabs his shirt.
My love is like a deep and placid lake…
Not now, sweetie, Daddy’s busy, OK?
OK: my love’s a deep and peaceful lake…
Here, Daddy can fix it. All better. Now go play.
Um, my love, yes—a rose that blooms in spring…
You tell her Daddy says she has to share.
My love’s… My love’s a lake that blooms—no, that springs…
On the wall?! Her what?! No, wait—I’ll be right there.
OK—love, lake, spring, joy, flower bedding…
And why is the house so quiet now, I wonder?
Ah, fuck it! (Whoops! Don’t say that!) You know where I’m heading.
Don’t touch a thing—I need to get the plunger!
Forgive me, love, but time, as you know, is ticking.
So here: no you, no joy, no life. No kidding.
— Gabriel Spera, author of The Rigid Body
Early to bed and early to rise:
If that would make me healthy and wise
I’d rise at daybreak, cold or hot,
And go back to bed at once. Why not?
— Mary Mapes Dodge, author of Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates
Humor is not one-size fits all. You might find other poems funnier. We’d love to hear your favorites, if you want to share in the comment box. Or try your hand at penning a funny poem!
More Funny Poems, from Every Day Poems
I Love My Couch! It’s Like a Wall (humorous seating complaint; don’t miss the stuffed stoat)
Good Neighbors (funny love poem with Cheetos)
The Poetry Dare (two friends dare each other with words, okra, rutabagas!)
Fifi Gets Put Into Time Out (a Calico meltdown and a hissy fit)
Poetry Slam (can you find the play on “onomatopoeia”?)
My Bare-Chested Husband Wrestles the Patio Umbrella (we’ll let you decide who wins)
My Brother’s Bear (diaper humor appears)
Limburger Warning (cheese can be amusing)
Maternity (what happens when a Cube gets his geometric way, with a cute and acute Triangle?)
Photo by Boudewijn Berends Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland
Visit our humorous site eatloveread.me for a variety of humor resources