The missing words in the poems represent a set of anagrams (like post, spot, stop). The number of dashes indicates the number of letters in the word. The missing word at the end of the line will rhyme with the previous or following line to give you a big hint. Your challenge is to identify the set of anagrams by the context of the poem and the above rules.

This word game was invented by my mother Fan Brown, who sent her poems to game magazines and exulted the $25 she occasionally got in the mail. My mother-in-law, who fashioned herself as an arbiter of elevated artistic taste, sniffed at my mother’s efforts and pronounced her poems as “doggerel.” Well of course they’re doggerel, but damn fine doggerel tailored to the word enthusiast.

Birding Lore

It’s spring and birders go agog and * * * * * * *

As they watch a flock of warblers twit and flit and mingle.

If they spot a new entry on their life list, or a bird that’s truly rare

Birders will go weak at the knees like there’s * * * * * * * in there.

A birder know how to tell a warbler from a vireo beased on a fleeting sighting.

The keen observer will note the * * * * *   * * takes upon flying and alighting.

“A bird in the hand” is a * * *   * * * * that birders might say

When they gently hold the bird as they measure and weigh.

In some birds it is hard to tell the sexes apart for sure.

That’s because the * * * * * * * area is hidden and totally obscure.

But it is the male that sings loudly from the top of the highest tree

He finds it * * * * * * * to be mating and on that we can all agree.


A New Rival for the Tortoise

Gather around everyone here’s some news you must * * * *

The tortoise wants a new opoonent since he beat the * * * * last year.

The gazelle and the cheetah said no, that tortoise is just too clever.

So it looked like the reptile migh retain his crown forever.

But up stepped the * * * *, a flightless bird who is smart and heady.

“I can win,” he said, “because without wings I am a pro at slow and steady.”



Oh, to once again * * * * passenger pigeons darkening the sky,

At their peak a flock would take several days to pass on by.

They would alight on each fence * * * *, mass on barn roofs and seat sown seed.

A century later they succumbed to mass destruction and wanton greed.

The heath hen died as the Pilgrims killed them with sprayed gun shot;

These bewildered birds were then added to the settlers’ simmering stew * * * *.

Goodbye to the Carolina Parakeet, killed for the fashion of snooty aristocrats,

Who fancied feathers artfully decorating the * * * * of ladies’ hats.

The Great Auk was a flightless bird who swam along the Eastern shore.

Sailors said, “Why * * * * killing them?  There’ll always be plenty more.”

Until man * * * * to become a stalwart steward of our beleaguered planet earth,

We will continue to be imporverished as our diversity loses its net worth.



A Pig and a Lamb

According to an ancient American fable,

A pig and a lamb lived together in a * * * * *.

The pig said, “Easter is coming soon and I’m telling you,

That luscious lamb stew will be on the menu.”

“They will send the * * * * * farmer to come chop off your head.

I bet that about now you wish you were a pig instead.”

But the farmer was so moved by the * * * * * of the little lamb,

He took one look at the dirty old pig and decided to have ham.

The land winked and said, “My charm and pathos have never failed,

I turned the * * * * * on the pig and he got nailed.


Deep in the Mines of Burma

Within the dense jungle of Burma are where ****** are found

And poor peasants eke out a living in the mines underground.

They’d rather be * * * * * working on their farms nearby,

But a seven year drought has left the land parched and dry.

Every now and then a cave in ****** one of the diggers,

But they keep looking for gems that are bigger and bigger.

They search for the perfect stone the color of a fresh tender  ******,

Colored deep red and purple without any hues of blacks or of blues.


In the Kitchen

The French chef insists that to have a good meal,

You must follow his * * * * * * * with ardor and zeal.

The directions he gives are detailed and * * * * * * *

And give the exact amounts for each herb and spice.

But one day the chef lets out a scream that * * * * * * * the air.

Someone is substituting processed cheese food for aged Camembert.


The Lure of Big Box Stores

Among Walmart, Target and Costco’s most effective seductions

Is their claim that nobody offers more deep price * * * * * * * * * *

This  * * * * * * * * * * a problem for those shoppers who often confuse

The things that they truly need with things they’ll never use.

When my husband went to a * * * * * * * * * * here’s what happened to him,

Instead of sticking to the list, he bought a trampoline on a whim.



On Monday morning you  hardly function because you ‘re so tired

So you stop at Starbucks, and gulp a few Venti’s to get you * * * * *

Slowly you open your eyes * * * * *  and the gears start to turn,

You say, “Time’s a wasting, I’ve got money to earn!”

Suddenly an odd thought comes to mind and it’s * * * * * to think

That you must work two days each year to cover all the Starbucks you drink.



Have you ever thought that different fruits are used to convey so much more?

For example * * * * * * are cars that should never leave the factory floor

A raspberry can an event that is somber and * * * * * *.

“How do you like “dem apples” may show up in a sportswriter’s column.

And if you call breastc * * * * * * your girlfried might be insulted and miffed

In fact, she may go bananas and kick you in the grapes if you catch my drift.



Freud was the world’s first shrink and patients thought it was weird

To tell him their secrets while he nodded and stroked his * * * * *

He treated the pysche like * * * * * , he would knead it and then let it rise,

Esploring the lewd and lascivious dreams that he loved to analyze.

But once the soul was * * * * * , barriers were broken, and he had picked all the locks

Some patient preferred their ugly thoughts stay in Pandora’s box.