Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bumpy Road Ahead

[This week Totally Optional Prompts encouraged us with "Road Sign". I knew at once that I'd have something light to offer about this topic. It is possible I may have some other road sign poetry in me, but this one wanted to be first.]

Bumpy Road Ahead

When riding in my parents' car
we'd read road signs for fun.
Familiar notes were often seen,
like "Bump" -- a common one.

A variation, "Speed Bump" was
another common sight
in parking lots and alleys where
the space was very tight.

Vacation driving brought a lot
of new signs we could read.
We came across a "Speed Hump"
as another of that breed.

Another posted warning of that
type we'd sometimes see
was sign that read just "Dip" and made
us giggle and tee-hee.

The "Dip" did double-duty warning
both about the road,
and the idiots upon it, with the
title it bestowed.

But best was when we found among
New England's autumn leaves
a post to warn us travelers of
what here they call "Frost Heaves."

[And I have to admit that I still have to think whether to read the "heaves" as noun or verb. For those who grew up thinking this sign is normal, I apologize, but I'm not going to stop giggling.]


...deb said...

My father still reads all sounds aloud, usually twice. Your poem brought back so many things. Nice!

...deb said...

I meant "signs alound" :-(

paisley said...

Frost Heaves??? i have never heard of it... i will have to look it up right away....

sister AE said...

Hi, ...deb. Reading signs aloud is something I still do sometimes, although I occasionally have to warn the driver that I'm doing it merely for entertainment, not as a commentary on her driving.

Hello, paisley. According to, frost heaves are:
"A section of ruptured pavement caused by the expansion of freezing water immediately under the road"
"upthrust of ground or pavement caused by the freezing of moist soil"

It's a New England expression, but once you've driven down a road marred by these things, you remember it.

gautami tripathy said...

It brought back memories for me too!

tumblewords said...

Oh, I can remember those days when my brother and I got hysterical while se sat in the back seat and read signs - read some of them correctly and ad-libbed on others. Frost heave is something my patio has.

sister AE said...

hi, gautami and tumblewords!

Anonymous said...

Oh, what a wonderful poem! I love all the strange signs you see when out and about, too. One of my favorites I've seen wasn't a road sign really, but one announcing a business' designated parking lot... one with a very fun acronym (I don't remember the business' full name any more, oh well): U.F.O. Parking!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I still giggle every time I see "Slow Children". So mean. :)

sister AE said...

Hello, TGR - I know what you mean. Each summer we pass a decrepit sign announcing "Vacancy." It stands in a weedy lot that probably was once the middle of some motel units, but is now just weeds - no buildings at all.

Rethabile said...

Enjoyed it. The "dip" part is a lot of fun. Cheers.

sister AE said...

Thanks, Rethabile.

Rob Kistner said...

I had the frost heaves a few times in college... ;)

There's a sign I see here in Oregon that I found interesting; "Abrupt Shoulder". Don't know why the sides of the road are so rude out here?

I liked this piece!

sister AE said...

Hello, Rob. Thanks. "Abrupt Shoulder" - I guess that means there isn't much of one - or that it is overdue for charm school.

sophie said...

I always read aloud. I think it makes my husband bonkers. Favorite sign ever--seen at a Georgia rest stop "Snakes may exist in area." Glad they have permission.

sister AE said...

Hi, Sophie - I love it. It also has a metaphysical ring - "they may exist - or they may not"

Mad Kane said...

That was fun. It brought to mind the rhythmic feel of an old childhood favorite of mine -- Robert L Stevenson's I have A Little Shadow.
Mad Kane

Linda said...

I like the playfulness of your use of rhyme. It fits the scene so well.

I live in NH and deal with "Frost Heaves" every spring. Even though I know what the sign means, I can never get the idea of someone hating Robert Frost out of my mind. (Like all those "Nixon Sucks" signs we used to see everywhere back in the early 70's.)

sister AE said...

Hi, Mad Kane - Thanks!

Hello, Linda. Hee-hee, I agree completely.

Mason Thagouras said...

this poems mad me really think about the words "frost heaves". I wasnt born in new hampshire but when i first moved here that signed always made me giggle too.

sister AE said...

Hello, Mason. I'm glad I could share the glee.