Tag Archives: Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle

The Love Song of Ghouls Verne by Percival P. Pennywhistle


The Love Song of Ghouls Verne, formerly of Aarhus, DK
(Decomposed by Ghouls Verne, Esq, and Communicated to Professor Pennywhistle, PhD, Ed, via the medium of a Medium on 14 Feverary 1893, in the Low and Tortured tones of a Heartbroken shade, and a thick Danish accent)

Ten t’ousand leagues under de zea
Dat’s me
Doze ashen flakes you zee

For Yulia could not bear nor loss
Nor cost
And zo my ash she tozzed

Vrom off de rocky Danish reef
Her grief
Azzuagéd by relief

But mine vas not. Zo, pale and gaunt,
I haunt.


©2012 Percival P. Pennywhistle, PhD/Peas Porridge Press

About the author

Ghouls Verne was burn on the Worst of Dismember, 1783, in a little crematorium outside of Aarhus, Denmark, on the Horsens side. He was revived by his parents, Karl and Grete Verne, twice, and by his new bride, Julia, once, but it didn’t take. Hence the cremation.

Percival P. Pennywhistle, PhD, is a poet and a purveyor of poetry for perspicacious and precocious people of all ages. “The Love Song of Ghouls Verne, formerly of Aarhus, DK” is part of a planned anthology of sickly sweet and darkly ironic poems and prose called Gothic Dreams and Other Things. You will wish to purchase it. You will also wish to sleep light after reading it.

Portrait 1 is a representation of what Ghouls and Julia might have looked like if they had married, lived in the late nineteenth instead of the late seventeenth century, and were named Peder and Severin Krøyer.

Portrait 2 is of Ghouls in happier times, when men whose heads were heavy with sleep or worry had the option of carrying them in the crooks of their fashionably (if somewhat poofily) clothed arms.

WIZ takes on two new marvelous creatures

Vecchio_Bruegel_Landscape_of_Paradise_and_the_Loading_of_the_Animals_in_Noah's Ark2

As Wilderness Interface Zone approaches its third birthday, it’s growing up a little.  Formalist poet Jonathon Penny has consented to join WIZ’s literary ecotone in the role of contributing editor. Jonathon has a keen eye for the belles-lettres.  Beside being a wonderful poet possessing a unique voice, he took his MA in Renaissance literature at BYU and his PhD in 20th Century British literature from the University of Ottawa. He has taught at universities in the U.S. and Canada, and now lives with his family in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates where he is Assistant Professor of English at UAE University. He has published on Wyndham Lewis and apocalyptic literature and is currently at work on several books of poetry for precocious pipsqueaks under the penname “Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle.” Bits and pieces may be found here. In addition to verse published on WIZ, his poetry has appeared at Victorian Violet Press and in Gangway Magazine and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Several of his poems have also been published in the landmark, recently released poetry anthology, Fire in the Pasture, from Peculiar Pages Press.  Welcome, Jonathon!

Also joining WIZ as a contributing writer is Val K., a soon-to-be fifteen-year-old aspiring naturalist and fantasy writer.  She has participated in NaNoWriMo since she was twelve years old and has successfully completed three novels.  She also writes short stories, articles, and story serials.  She lives in a corner of southeastern Utah with her family, her carnivorous plants and her two cats. She has previously published in Moab Poets and Writers’ Desert Voices and also on WIZ.  Besides writing, her hobbies include drawing, biking, weaving, hiking, catching snakes, rescuing helpless creatures from her cats, and beadwork.  She is a voracious reader.  Welcome, Val K.!

Heather McWeather by Percival P. Pennywhistle

Heather McWeather Screenshot


To satisfy any curiosity you might have about the Professor and enjoy more of his artful aperçus sprinkled about on WIZ, go here, here, here, and here.

M is for mollusk by Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle


I am the very model of a mollusk* made of minerals.
At least my calcareous** shell is, and that shell is typical—
You’ll find me in the finials
And jewelry made by criminals—
I am the very model of a mollusk made of minerals!

Our bodies aren’t segmented so no one can tell a part from us
(Excepting snail antennae, octopodal arm***—they’re obvious):
We’ve all a mantle, nephrostome,****
We metamorph in monochrome
And if you mean to murder us, just be aware, we’ll make a muss!

It’s true that though we’re spineless,***** this is merely anatomical,
For we’ve defensive strategies both multiple and plentiful:
Our bites and stings aren’t minimal,
We’re poisonous, in general,
Our reputation’s well-deserved: when threatened, we’re maniacal!******

So if you meet a mollusk at the mall, though we look marvelous
Do not make contact (hand or eye), don’t moon about or munch on us
For gastropod or octopus,
With venom or tongue chitinous,*******
We’ll make you wish you’d minded us and leave you feeling bilious!
*With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, those alphabetical augurers in matters ‘most poetical.

**This particular word should be pronounced “kal-kuh-rhee-us,” but never in polite company.

***“Octopodal” here means “of the octopus.” It may mean something entirely different somewhere else, like in Finland, for instance. The professor notes that many people think octopi (more than one octopus, not eight different kinds of pie, though pie is delicious) have legs, but this is ridiculous: the Professor has never seen an octopus in pants or leggings, never mind shoes or socks.

****According to Random House, a nephrostome (neff-row-stohm) in zoology is “the ciliated opening of a nephridium into the ceolum.” In embryology, it is “a similar opening into a tubule of the embryonic kidney.” The professor trusts that you now understand perfectly.

*****The scientific term is “invertebrate,” which hardly seems applicable to a mollusk that is right side up, but may well describe one that is up side down.

******Of course, it’s silly to ascribe (that is, ‘assign to,’ usually in hushed, gossipy tones when the mollusk isn’t looking or has just left the room) human characteristics like “mania” to animals. Except to sharks. Well, sharks and tigers. Well, sharks and tigers and snakes. And housecats.

*******This word, “kitten-us,” does not have anything to do with kittens. Really. Unless, of course, you’re talking about the ill-tempered, scratchy kind of kitten. Then it is appropriate to call the kitten chitinous.


NOTE: In the accompanying image of a common nudibranch–pronounced “noo-duh-branck” (the ‘c’ is silent)–found in that great German study of the subject of nudibranchia by the famed nubranchist Rudolph Berg (1824-1909), entitled, naturally, Neue Nacktschnecken der Südsee : malacologische Untersuchungen (1873), we see clearly the sinister and duplicitous nature of all mollusks on clear display. This sea slug, rather coquettishly presenting itself as a fuzzy little puppy with short legs waiting for its belly to be scratched, is, in fact, poised to swallow the unsuspecting urchin–the sea or land variety (for mollusks are indifferent eaters)–whole.

For Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle’s bio and more of his work published on WIZ, go here, here, and here.

(Post edited to add illustration and Note on August 18 at 6:01 p.m.)

Mercredi by Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle

This mudstick, midway, turnabout Wednesday
(Stalled out, curbstruck, high-centered, roughluck,
Dimeandnickel, halfdone, deadbeat, nofun),
Punch a ticket, skip a class, take a hike, and make it last.


To peruse more of the esteemed Professor’s erudite work published on WIZ and view his bio, go here and here.

Z is for zoology (a pop quiz you have to plan for) by Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle

This is a hunt for natural treasures, rare and beautiful creatures, not-so-rare and fairly ugly creatures, and some new ways of saying familiar things. It is a search for the poetry of life, the magic of the great wide world. It is also a search for odors. Enjoy.

You will need the following to complete the assigned tasks: a zoo (or zoo-like environment, like a college dormitory), a camera (for taking photographs of relatively decent quality, but not likely to be published in National Geographic or Zoology Tomorrow), and a friend or twelve (this is optional if you prefer your own company to that of others, or if they prefer someone else’s company to yours, and therefore no one else is willing to come along).

1.    Collect photos of the following, preferably in action, and preferably not picking their noses (though we will accept nose-picking photos, but not gang signs, and certainly not pictures of you taunting or being taunted by your subjects):
a.    a Pan troglodyte
b.    a Crocodylus niloticus
c.    a Cebus apella
d.    a Pongo pygmaeus
e.    a Canis lupus (but don’t make fun of it: it has a very serious disease);
and of the following:
f.    a gangurru (commonly referred to as a herbivorous marsupial)
g.    a Panthera leo, Caucasian edition
h.    an antelope, dollhouse edition
i.    a follically-challenged member of the family Accipitridae, known for their schlumpy physical presence and a taste for carrion
j.    something long from Burma

If the specimens in question are not visible because you’ve come at the wrong time of day (again), or because they have taken holiday somewhere warm, photos of their identifying placards will be accepted en lieu, which means “instead,” but sounds way cooler. Don’t cheat.

2.    Approach a local and learn the pronunciation for the names of any three (3) animals not included in number 1 above. This is the most fun if you live in an exotic place like Arabia, the south of France, or Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Write the English name backwards and the transcribed name forwards below for each, then say both out loud. Really loud. Louder. Sheesh.

a.    ________________________  _____________________________
b.    ________________________  _____________________________
c.    ________________________  _____________________________

3.    Where are you most likely to be pooped on? Or better, in what area of the zoo? (Hint: its denizens stick together.) Count them. Record your result. Count them again, quicker this time. _____________ (Wrong. Sorry.)

4.    Find something nocturnal. Ask it why it’s awake. Take a picture. Giggle.

5.    Imitate the sounds of five animals you see, as a group if you’ve brought companions, by yourself if you haven’t. Do this as you see them, ignore the people laughing at you, then list them by name, and be prepared to demonstrate. (Okay, the lion. What else?)

Bonus: write a ten-line ode (a poem of praise) to the ugliest creature you encounter.

Rules: i) the “Creature” cannot be a member of your group, or any other group, but must be a resident of the zoo (this also excludes employees); ii) the poem must have regular meter and rhyme; iii) references to snot and other scatologies are disallowed, as these are neither classy nor appropriate for such well-bred individuals as you. The professor would certainly never stoop to them.

20 points possible. Bonus worth whatever I decide it is. Bonne chasse*!

*That’s French for ‘Happy Hunting!’, is pronounced “bun shass,” and is the etymological origin of our word “chase,” which is, after all, the funnest part of the hunt.

For more of the Professor’s work published on WIZ, go here.

Make like a tree by Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle

like a tree* and
grow, bloom and bear fruit,
give shade, give shelter, sow seed,
weather storms, dig deep,
breathe deeper.
Be useful
in your
the soil,
a tree.


*This is, of course, a variation on the common adage to “make like a tree and branch out,” and the less common adage, used primarily among canines (the dogs, not the teeth), “make like a tree and bark.” Puns about leaves will not be tolerated.


Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle despises children and loathes nature, which often gets on his shoes and under his fingernails, but he recognizes that both are important enough to be addressed, and so he writes poetry and other things for children, some of it about nature. Bits and pieces of his work can be found here, and he can also be reached on Facebook and via email at pennywhistlestop@gmail.com. The poems published on WIZ come from Poems for the Precocious and Alphabet Stew: Poems in a Particular Order. Other projects in development include Mythiphus, Me Grimms and Melancholies, Kid Viscous and the Mysterious Substance, Jonah P. Juniper and getting Ben Crowder to be his illustrator.