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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson’s sonnets for his dissertation at Amerika Institut of LMU Munich, where also he edits a poetry weekly. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies.


Herbert, Who Was Always Blowing Bubbles

by Robin and Jocelyn Wild

An ordinary boy was Herbert,
fond of lollipops and sherbert
and sticky things, which dentists say,
make children’s little teeth decay—
but bubble gum was Herbert’s passion,
for gum was what he spent his cash on.
For hours on end, he’d chew the stuff,
but he couldn’t chew it fast enough.

While no one thinks it’s impolite 
for cows to chew all day and night,
in people it’s considered rude:
Mealtimes are for chewing food.
And the bubbles Herbert blew!
(A thing no cow would ever do.)
He’d huff and puff and only stop
when the horrid bubble would pop.
The pieces stuck in Herbert’s hair,
the walls, the ceiling, everywhere!
It gave his mother screaming fits,
scraping off those gummy bits.

But now the boy—and all his bubbles—
cause his mother no more troubles,
for, on a breezy summer day,
Herbert simply blew away.
He’d blown a bubble, vast and round,
that lifted him right off the ground;
above the houses and up so high,
he vanished in a cloudless sky.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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