Missoula is one of the most literary cities in Montana, and it's a city appreciated by authors and poets too. I was in Shakespeare & Co the other day and I opened up a book of poetry to a random page. I kid you not, the poem mentioned "driving through Missoula" in one of the stanzas. (Then again, maybe that's exactly why the book was available at Shakespeare & Co in the first place.)

Further Reading: Why Missoula Is Such a Literary Town

With April being National Poetry Month, I could certainly point you to all the wonderful readings and poetry activities around Missoula this month, but instead, I'd like to inspire you to appreciate the poetry of everyday life.

Last month we found out that it's illegal to put your trash in someone else's trash bin in Missoula and while I was reading Missoula's Municipal Code, I discovered a sort of lyricism to the legalese.

Might I offer that translating all Municipal Code into poetry could lead to greater adoption of Missoula's Ordinances? No? Maybe it's just me then.

For your reading pleasure, here's a poem constructed from lines and snippets of Missoula's Municipal Codes. Happy Poetry Month.

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An Ode to Missoula Code


No person, willfully or designedly,
shall give, assist
in giving, countenance
or request or cause
to be given, any false alarm
of fire in any manner
within the city limits


All words and phrases shall be construed
according to the common and ap­proved
usage of the language, but technical words
and phrases and such
others as may have acquired
a peculiar and appropriate meaning
in the law shall be construed
and under­stood according
to such peculiar and appropriate meaning.


"Alcohol" means ethyl alcohol,

also called ethanol, or the hydrated oxide of ethyl.

"Alcoholic beverage" means

a compound produced and sold for human consumption as a drink
that contains more than one‑half percent of alcohol

by volume.

"Beer" means

a malt beverage containing not more than seven percent of alcohol

by weight.

"Liquor" means

an alcoholic beverage except
beer and table wine.

"Malt beverage" means

an alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of an infusion or decoction,
or a combination of both, in potable brewing water, of malted barley
with or without
hops or their parts or their products and
with or without
other malted cereals and
with or without
the addition of unmalted or prepared cereals, other carbohydrates,
or products prepared therefrom and
with or without
other wholesome products
suitable for human food consumption.

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