Friday SPAM Poetry Prompt #921






SPAM prompt line: Are you confident in bed?


 


For some reason, every time I read this line, I start hearing “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” in my head for the next two hours.


 


So why not run with it? First approach: Use this as the first line in a poem modeled after a stanza of “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” (You can see the lyrics here and here if you need a model for the rhyme scheme.) You can let that one stanza stand as your poem, or you can move on to additional stanzas just as the song (and its parodies) do. You can explore the word “confidence” (i.e., “Are you confident at work?” “Are you confident in sports?” “Are you confident in love?”) or you can focus on “bed,” literally as a place to sleep or as a euphemism for sex (“Are you comfortable in bed?” “Are you really loud in bed?” “Are you vigorous in bed?”)


 


Second approach: Ignore “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” (if you are able to now) and simply use the “Are you confident in bed?” line somewhere in the poem, or as inspiration for a poem about–well, you decide. Maybe it’s not about “bed” at all, but an examination of self-doubt. Or maybe it will form the basis of your own commercial-in-verse on treatments for ED. Form and length are up to you.


 


Note: Yes, I’m aware that the tune is a variation of “Turkey in the Straw,” which is supposed to be a variation of a blackface minstrel tune. I’m also aware that there are versions of “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” that focus on other parts of the anatomy. I know it inspired a hip-hop hit last year. I’ve also read online that the song was originally sung by Confederate soldiers about taking physical “mementos” from the bodies of runaway slaves and black Union soldiers; OR that the song originated in Spain during the post-World War I flu epidemic, and that medics sang the song to distract themselves as they put tags (i.e., like toe tags) in the ears of flu victims.


 


The pivotal word here is “originally.” I haven’t seen anything anywhere that confirms the veracity of the two latter stories as the actual origins of “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” Not that those stories might not be true, but I’d like to see some documentation besides blog posts that go viral. Since “Continental soldier” goes back to the American Revolutionary War, I suspect the song is at least that old, maybe older. If anyone has genuine evidence of the song’s origins, please inform us in Comments. Thanks!


 


–Nancy


 


More poetry prompts are located here.


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