Again. we’re working both sides of the street as we explore FAST and SLOW. We’ll write either into a poem. But to compound things further, you are to come up with a compound word highlighting either extreme. We’ll be doing a few of these exercises with different opposing ideas so this is just the beginning.

Remember these examples: Fast Start, Slow Burn, Fast Track, Slow Down… We’ve done similar things before. Write fast or slow, just not too slow or half fast!


Aesop’s Barbershop

We know much of a fairytale
Of Tortoise and the Hare,
But I can tell you details that
Got lost somewhere out there.

See, Aesop had a barbershop
Where he would share folklore
While snippets of each patron’s hair
Would float from head to floor.

While gleaning nest material
From under Aesop’s chair,
A little bird learned more about
the Tortoise and the Hare.

Not only did Hare take a nap
While racing such a slowpoke,
He also caught a matinee,
And shot the breeze with townsfolk.

He stopped in to the barbershop
To get the latest chinwag.
He wrote it all into his pad,
And stuck it in his bookbag.

That steadfast Tortoise won the race,
Which Hare did not foresee.
How do I know these new-found facts?
A little bird told me.  

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

(Tried to use as many compound words as I could.  I ended up with a dozen.  Fun exercise, Walt!)



I crave Texas Toast for breakfast.
thick and hot it hits the spot, I’ve got to have it
spread with hot butter love,
slathered for me to put my lips to;
sink my teeth into – jelly and jam it,
all sticky and savored for the flavor
it brings. I wish for each succulent squish
as I nibble and lap it. Sap it dry until I come for more.
Early morning, every morning
without warning, when the alarm rings
our pulses will race, flushed faces await.
Most celebrated until we’re sated.
Thickly sliced adding spice to life.
What I crave the most is Texas Toast for breakfast.
“Would you like juice?”
Yes, please!

169 thoughts on “PROMPT # 343 – FAST AND SLOW

  1. Mornin folks! That’s probably the longest poem I’ve seen from Marie. Very fitting! Walt your words made me hungry and my stomach growl! Let’s see how steadfast we can be this week.

    • Good morning! HA! I do write longer poems now and then, but “long” is relative. For me, a sonnet is generally the longest poem I write. But there are exceptions. 😉

  2. Yummy Walt, my mouth quickly waters at your breakfast craving. Marie, your report on the race details from the barbershop had me remembering my childhood, where I’d wait my turn listening to all the men gossip away, learning many details of community life in between reading the comics. Loved the full birds ear view of things here.

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone Get Outlook for Android



    Life threw my mother a fastball when
    she bore two bumbling knucklehead boys.

    Or should I say—she was the fastball moving
    at amazing speed, who first gave birth to a smaller fastball,
    my brother.

    And the second, the other, he was always the last of all.
    The “baby” as they say. Slow was his way, pumping
    the brakes on this game called life.

    She was Speedy Gonzales—“arriba, arriba! andale, andale!
    Who twice gave birth to a tortoise and a hare.

    One with a rocket strapped to his back, was just along for the ride.
    The other moved like he really didn’t care—for time, nor for tide.

    Rocket boy had always been a hothead, even fastidious,
    so the hare was always set aflame for his slowgoing ways.

    Sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend this game called life,
    so you buckle up, fasten your seatbelts.

    The blaze of a fastball is impressive in its speed,
    at least, until it hits a brick wall of the catchers mitt.

    The hot rocket knows no bounds, or barriers,
    until it eventually burns up its dynamic fuel.

    The hare, on the other hand, is always there—
    meandering like he still doesn’t care, going about
    his slowgoing ways.

    Benjamin Thomas


    That motto was the one used by MG
    to advertise their British sports-car range;
    it hinted at a bit of racing glee
    but nonetheless it sounded a bit strange.

    There was a time when I had such a car,
    the one they called the MGB GT;
    I must confess, I didn’t drive it far
    and didn’t like to indulge in tinkery

    and so, one day I thought that I would sell it
    before I stripped its gears or banged or clipped it;
    I could have driven it, but just as well,
    I thought of buyer’s angst, and thus I shipped it.

    I’ve often thought that car must have been sorry
    to cross the land whilst chained within a lorry.

  5. Walt. hard to believe I went through life never hearing of Texas toast. Your piece makes me hungry for some.

  6. Marie, what a delight! Thanks for that story, and for a new word for me: “chinwag/”

  7. Marie, I loved your poem…reminded me some long ago cartoon show called fractured fairy tales which I loved…..

    I will not stop in Winslow
    have no women on my mind
    have no venture in my heart
    nothing I have to find.
    I’m all of 67
    birthdays coming way too soon
    seems a month goes by so fast,
    so comes the next full moon.
     I’ll not stop in California
    on this gray sky winter’s day
    I will not text while driving—
    at this age I’ve learned to pray.
    I’ll stop in Colorado,
    or Montana, where the sky
    will be there all around me
    in a Rocky Mountain high.
    I think that Carolina,
    on my mind, might be a place
    to slow down and breathe the piney
    woods, a place to check my pace.
    I may be too fastidious
    about my destination
    so I have to stop to think, my life
    is just a slow vacation.
    I will get where I am going,
    I’ve no doubt within my mind,
    and so I pray that it will be
    the JOURNEY that I find.
    © Damon Dean 2021

  9. A few moments before I rush….

    My niece I have not seen is three years
    Is coming to see me…
    It will be a short visit,
    And will go way too fast.
    I sitting drinking my coffee slow
    As I go through what needs to be done,
    She will bring the pizza,
    I will make the fruit pie.
    I have dishes to put away,
    A tablecloth to change,
    A floor to mop,
    (Cats can’t you keep it clean,)
    Counters to wipe off,
    A curtain to hang if I get time
    A moment to breathe,
    Ferns to put in order on the porch,
    Things to dust, and put away…
    (Can I slow down and take a break)…
    Slow down mind,
    I need to savor my coffee,
    Before the rush begins.

    Time will go too fast,
    And the visit will end,
    As she and her friend drive away,
    A lump in my throat will grow
    Into the size of Texas
    And my tears will fill buckets
    For me to carry over to Lake Hartwell
    To empty…
    For I know the time
    Will drag slower than molasses flowing
    From the jar in my pantry,
    Until I see her again.

    Morning coffee is over…
    I am on the fast track
    Until she walks through my door.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    July 18, 2021

  10. Slow Rise

    from dreams, light
    whisper of winds
    the moon dies
    1,000 times
    my waking solitude
    slice of cold pizza
    eaten in haste
    a sheet of paper
    waits to be shaped
    into meaning
    songs played
    on the laptop
    to spell the morning
    blooms on trees
    bear second lives
    throughout the season
    a stroll on cracked sidewalks
    I wait to live
    the life I’m meant to be


    I am slower than the slowest of them all,
    simple, small and sluggish.

    Like a slow simmering soup left on the stove,
    the sure slow burn of heat doing its work.

    The collection of quirks and structural
    integrity slowly melding over time.

    I am slower than the slowest slowworm, that squiggles,
    and squirms, as it learns the terrain seeking food.

    I am slower than the slowest slowdown—on the
    interstate, that everybody hates, making everyone late.

    I am slower than the slowest of slowpokes, this is no
    joke, bringing home the Olympic gold every time.

    I am slower than a slew of slowish silly slugs,
    stuck in molasses, geriatric, trying to move without their glasses.

    I am the king of kings and the lord of lords of slowness,
    everyone knows this, so hurry up and wait—easy does it!

    Benjamin Thomas

  12. Walt, that is clever, clever, clever and yum, yum, YUM! Expertly poemed as always. May I join you for a leisurely Texas Toast breakfast with a bottomless cup-o-joe?

  13. Speed Bumps

    What kind of chump
    Invented speed bumps
    Or rather speed humps
    As they’re called in Alabam

    They rattle and jar
    As they shake the car
    Some are so bizarre
    They throw around the whole fam

    Some really look cool
    But don’t let them fool
    These unassuming tools
    Can send your car to the shop

    So watch for these bumps
    These chump worthy humps
    These fake asphalt lumps
    That make the car go hippity-hop

  14. Late July

    Summer simmers as it slows imperceptibly
    signaled by barn cats wrapped around
    sprinkling cans birds hurrying through
    morning-songs to nestlings before
    they settle into cedars with feathers
    ruffled to self-cool: colorful haystacks on legs

    days become legatos’ lazy beats
    languid progressions clinging to
    gray-headed coneflowers’ drooping
    yellow petals: half-furled umbrellas
    bunched in field edges bordering
    corn where tassels spin in hot wind
    slicing between scimitar leaves

    burnished wheat stubble dotted with
    double-cropped soybeans pushing upward
    like visiting shamrocks in soil anchored
    by the first crop another dustbowl

    spears of fuzzy mullein already five and six feet high
    rise totemic circlets of yellow blossoms heavy
    with bee and beetle, sunflowers suddenly sprawling
    where yesterday praying mantis roadgrader
    gabbled in field mud and rip rap to reform a road

    Hushpuckney Creek whirlpools beside the broken
    slabs of once road before hurtling eastward
    flanked by St. John’s Wort and nodding beebalm
    Kansas sunflowers standing sentry even while
    bristled stems track the arc of a blazing sun
    impassive heads slowly turning, slowly, slowly.

  15. Mare, SUCH a delightful retelling of an old fable– I was /am just in awe. Such easy lilting rhyme and the tale/tail moves right along! We fed the alligator snappers in the big creek the recalled Tyson chickn yesterday…. and yes, I’m pretty sure they’re wise, too.
    WALT, do love me some Texas Toast. Great piece!

  16. Speeds

    When Speedy Alka-Seltzer
    met Speedy Gonzales
    he was talked into eating
    two fiery hot tamales.

    He was only a snail
    creeping along
    who had no intention
    of hastening to a crawl.

    So lethargic
    was Elmer Fudd,
    no wonder bugs
    left him in the mud.

    If you happen to meet two Speedys
    or a snail on a slow creep
    Caution them ’bout Bugs and Elmer
    or the sound of approaching Meep! Meep!


    child care to memory care
    moving way too fast
    I wouldn’t dare
    I couldn’t last

    both take time
    and a certain pace
    both take patience
    in either place

    grandchildren keep moving
    my husband moves very slowly
    both need soothing
    both demand the best of me

    I go with the moving clock
    going faster or tone in down
    adjusting my speed and my talk
    as I go dashing all over town

    it’s all about the subtle art
    how best to communicate
    something to manage at the start
    tracking my steps and heart rate

    their brain speeds require adaptation
    adjustments of volume included
    a positive use of skilled articulation
    no lofty concepts, nothing deluded

    I may go dashing there in my car
    once there, I know to adjust to their speed
    I recognize not to go too fast, too far
    it’s better I respond to their need

    to offer my best to those I love
    it matters to find the balance
    noticing that’s what life is made of
    managing my speed, I have the best chance

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2021

  18. Slow Time

    It is the slow time
    The time between day
    and night

    The time when only the cardinals
    are searching for seeds
    under the feeder

    The time when even the trees seem
    to settle and the breeze softens
    The time when only rosy smears

    left by the sun remain in the sky
    It is the slow time
    when two hearts turn away from

    the busy world
    to find each other


    I graduated summa cum laude,
    from the School of Hard Knocks,
    but hardly toplofty, being humbled
    by its many distinguished professors.

    Two of which were my own ultra-bombastic
    uncles who had too many axes to grind.
    One a capricious, flamboyant ex-marine, and
    the other a pompous preacher offering up
    a taste of deadly kool-aid.

    I spent half my life with one uncle, moved on,
    and then wasted half my life with the other;
    learning all the dark arts of the human nature,
    how to perambulate around eggshells and dance
    along the blade of a razors edge.

    One was a wild dictator ruling with an iron fist,
    a volcano on the verge of eruption, complete
    with the destruction of lava. The other was a wolf
    dressed in sheep’s clothing, a smooth talker,
    and sophisticated; who could inveigle you into
    becoming prey in his lair of doom.

    The University of life can be a cruel school,
    with many tenured professors waiting to teach
    us all the ways and power of the dark side.
    But it’s always survival of the fittest in the School
    of Hard Knocks.

    Benjamin Thomas

    • Along the sometimes-narrow path of life’s journey, the way in which the briars tear holes in our soul always leaves scars; tattoos of horror or reminders of triumph. Yours seem to be the latter. I appreciated your transparency in this work.

    • Far too many in similar situations, my friend. Personally, it is the preacher whose description chills me to the bone. I’m so thankful you know from experience that he does not represent the Lord God you and I know. Bless you, Benjamin. I’m thankful you came through as God intended, and with His loving help.

      And your poem, as always, SPEAKS.

      • Thanks so much for the response, Marie. Yes, he’s definitely a crafty one. As my Uncle, I know him very well. Had a lot of us fooled. Looking back I’m thankful for the experience, still healing of course, but through these situations we get to know Christ in such a personal way. Poetry is SO therapeutic! 😊

  20. Fast and Slow, I Go

    Barreling along I80 at 75
    Praying the Lord will keep me alive
    Creeping through construction at a slow pace
    Thinking of the tortoise who won the race
    Singing a hodge-podge of songs, I thrive


    Nary fast nor loose, but by slow relent, his purpose is to fast.
    His mind is slow, but His resolve steadfast, this meal will be his last.

    “Posthaste to start is quickly done”, fast-paced our trials speed past,
    By no Paul Simon groovy Bridge will he be sore harassed.

    The battle cast in fast array, the enemy amassed
    as succor comes in fast relief, the foe swiftly outclassed.

    Slowly fade harsh pangs of dearth, by worship fast surpassed
    Fast hastes the night through quickened prayer, bliss broken by breakfast.


  22. Marie
    I’ve read your poem several times. I want to commit it to memory to tell it to my grandchildren. It reads like a nursery rhyme; really fun and bouncy. Thanks for sharing it, and helping to make my day a little sunnier.

  23. The Deadline Race…

    Every case had deadlines…
    Case reviews, title twenty reviews,
    Judicial Reviews, foster care reviews,
    Supervisor reviews,
    Dictation for one month done
    But the seventh of the next month,
    And all those referrals, and conferences,
    And visitation and home visits…
    All had deadlines.
    Each CASE…

    I had always over thirty-six cases,
    But more often about forty…
    Children placed in my upstate tour
    Took a long day
    Often with my friend
    Nancy from Alabama
    Who had children on that upstate tour…
    I had a low country tour
    That I did alone…
    Two and a half days
    Driving over eight hundred miles
    Never leaving the state.
    I had children I could see only
    After hours, and I had a couple
    That though I set the time
    Would not be there,
    And I would sit in my car
    One time for two hours just to see them.
    It was my job to see them.
    But I had these deadlines…

    I was always rushing
    Back and forth,
    Writing during lunch,
    Writing when I got home
    Until the clock struck midnight
    And I could do no more.

    The Red Queen told
    Alice that you had to run
    As fast as you can to stay in one place…
    It wasn’t true… I ran as fast as I could
    And never even stayed in the same place.

    I asked for cases to be removed…
    Got them ready for someone else to work,
    And each month they were still on my caseload….
    Each month I rushed to see them,
    And got home after nine at night…
    But I was used to that time…
    I did it at least once a week,
    And sometimes more.

    One Day I had had enough…
    I was tired of broken promises…
    My mother needed me
    It was the last of her years…
    I could have worked on
    Drawing two pay checks-
    One for my work and one for retiring-
    For five more years…
    I was warned I would live in poverty…
    But I was tired of running
    As fast as I could…
    They were correct
    I did face poverty…
    I was just so worn out…
    Running as fast as I could
    Wasn’t an option.

    But what I got
    Was the joy of laughing
    With my mother,
    And knowing by her last words
    That she loved me,
    And that made me rich.
    She met her deadline,
    And I began to grieve.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    July 20, 2021

  24. RUN, Mary, RUN…

    You are not running fast enough…
    I handed it in…
    It was handed back
    I forgot to dot an “I”
    And cross a “T”….
    Put it on that pile…
    I say
    It will get done…
    She points at her watch…
    I need before the end of the day…
    I glanced at my watch,
    And I have one hour to cross and dot
    To make it perfect.
    The problem is I was waiting
    On someone to call
    Always waiting for someone to call…
    And staring at my phone
    Didn’t make it ring.

    While I waited,
    I did the crossing and dotting,
    And completed a few more forms,
    Handing them in to be reexamined.
    The call came in, and I had a place
    To move a child, and as I gathered up my things,
    For the long ride across the state,
    She returned with the form, and said,
    You missed one.
    I did it quickly, and she asked
    Where are you going?
    To move Susie to some place
    I haven’t yet visited…
    My car should have a bumper sticker-
    Be a foster care worker and see the state.
    They would frown on that one…
    She asked
    Will you be in tomorrow?
    No, I am on the road all day tomorrow.
    You will see me next week.
    I called Ma and said I would be working late.
    She told me to get something to eat.
    I told her I would.

    I raced out the door with all the info
    I needed to bring with me,
    As I rushed to pack my car full
    Of Susie’s things,
    Leaving a place for her to sit…
    She cried not understanding….
    I didn’t understand either… she was a sweet child…
    Who missed her mama and had tantrums.
    She just didn’t fit into their family.
    I sang her silly songs
    As I drove to an office,
    And while she played with toys there,
    And called me “My Mary,”
    I filled out the paperwork, and
    Then delivered Susie to her new home.
    I scheduled the next visit
    To make sure this one lasts.

    On the ride home,
    I cried the tears
    Born of weariness,
    And how alone I was
    That no one could ever understand…
    This wasn’t like any other job…
    It was one that broke my heart
    As I broke the hearts of others.
    I took it slow…
    Stopping at a country store
    In some small town…
    Grabbed a bottle of milk
    And some crackers…
    That was my supper,
    And I ate them as I drove home.

    I crumbled into bed…
    But found no comfort
    For I wondered if Susie cried,
    And felt lost
    Being in a strangers’ home.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    July 20, 2021


    I hear the slow drum beat of rays upon my skin.
    Rivers of sun run unabated to pierce my soul,
    To rid me from ruthless cages of fierce dark blight.

    It reaches deep down into the hidden caverns—
    Searching frantically for any wicked way in me.
    It’s useless to parry endless streams of light.

    When they bear the arrows of blessed freedom;
    The splendid release from bondage of shadows,
    A glorious liberty against the shackles of one’s night.

    Benjamin Thomas


    Be quick to forgive
    and slow to anger.

    For the intent of fire
    is to burn.

    Unless one quenches
    his own flames.

    The bliss of trust
    is hard to earn.

    Benjamin Thomas


    The knights of hate
    are quick to draw the sword
    to lop off an ear

    But they themselves cannot
    hear the pleas of peace

    The knights of hate
    are skilled to draw the sword
    cut off the head

    But they themselves
    have not slain their
    own demons.

    The knights of hate
    are brisk to swing the sword
    maim the innocent

    But they themselves
    are slow at destroying
    their own guilt.

    The knights of hate
    only see their own sword
    regards it as a gift.

    But their own fate
    they have ignored
    and their judgment will be swift.

    Benjamin Thomas


    Who can perceive the sudden,
    inimitable speed of lightning; its number,
    ultrafast, unpredictable and anafractuous?

    Who can perceive the violent peals of sky,
    strength of thunder—whose eager pleas
    consider why nature’s imbalance?

    Who can receive its thunderstroke when nigh,
    then cut asunder, amidst its bitter seas—
    or survive the height of the challenge?

    Benjamin Thomas


    Healing has its own instinct;
    running on its own timetable
    the way that it sees fit.

    One considers the fracture
    of bone, repair of liga-ment,
    rupture of precious tissue.

    But fails to see the slow healing,
    comminuted fracture of mind
    and will.

    Benjamin Thomas


    When I ache I might take a great notion
    to slather the spot with pain potion,
    but then I deride it
    when pain’s not subsided
    because of that blasted slow lotion.

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