Location: Pod of Dolphins
Depth: 50

Solution to Per-verse Poetry

by Emily Tang and Davie Rolnick


Each block of verse is a parody of the opening lines of a famous poem. The parody follows the same meter and rhyme scheme as the original, and each word has the same number of syllables as a corresponding word in the original.

Within the parody, exactly one word is a numeral (one, two, seven, etc). This numeral indexes into the corresponding word of the original poem. The indexed letters, in the order in which the parodies are presented, spell out the answer: CITYGATES.


Letter: C

The pencil and the sharpener
Were writing down a line,
They cried like crocodiles to find
Three syllables not rhyme,
“If we could only change the verse,”
They said, “we would be fine.”

Original (“The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll):
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, “it would be grand!”


Letter: I

Whose words these are I do not know,
They run from us as rivers flow
The two of us can only stare
To see how fast our mouths can go.

Original (“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost):
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.


Letter: T

Waiter! Waiter! walking past
Bring me pastries thick and fast.
What exotic cheese or wine
Could match one humble madeleine?

Original (“The Tyger” by William Blake):
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forest of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


Letter: Y

Good hats, bad hats, sane hats, mad hats,
Thin hats, fat hats, dog hats, cat hats.
There are hats of every kind,
If you seek you’ll always find
Three hats that fit your state of mind.

Original (“One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” by Dr. Seuss):
One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish,
Black fish, Blue fish, Old fish, New fish.
This one has a little car.
This one has a little star.
Say! What a lot of fish there are.


Letter: G

‘Twas within an ancient quarry, as I wandered, sad and sorry,
Spying many an old and rusted fragment of discarded ore,
As I trampled brambles brickle, suddenly I saw some nickel,
Curved as were a farmer’s sickle, sickle from a bygone yore,
By the quarry-shafts this fragment, nickel from a bygone yore.
Only this (plus seven more).

Original (“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe):
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”


Letter: A

Wish all the children welcome on their way,
Young things must sing their song at the first light,
Peace, peace unto the newborn of the day.

We fools of one age, our song sung, now may
Endow the world to those of clearer sight.
Wish all the children welcome on their way.

Original (“Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas):
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.


Letter: T

Thy heart reminds me of a winter’s night,
But is yet darker and more withering.
While moon beams sow the sparkling snow with light,
Thy icy soul hath not one gleam of spring.

Original (“Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?” by William Shakespeare):
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day
Thou art more lovely and more temperate
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
And summer’s lease hath all too short a stay.


Letter: E

At Christmastime, my Uncle Jim
A five-course dinner made himself.
Where streams of steaming gravy ran
And pot-roasts overflowed the pan
Down to the kitchen shelf.

Original (“Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge):
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.


Letter: S

Man is the thing with foibles,
That seven sins can sin,
And makes the chains without the key,
And fastens the heart in.

Original (“Hope is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson):
"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all.