I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Saturday, 7 June 2008

There Was An Old Man With A Blog...

A given idea woke me up again tonight. But hardly a green thought in a green shade it must be said. The logos was a trifle bogus. The real stuff, the more 'serious' poems, usually trickle not rush out. This one rushed out, as brazen and unembarrassed as a naked German in a communal campsite shower. For I'm not talking real poetry here, the non-rhyming Eliotocracy of Minnesang. This was more booze-inspired than Muse-inspired. I'm talking doggerel, I'm talking limericks, I'm talking Light Verse.

Not that there's anything wrong with Light Verse. Wendy Cope has made a mint from it. And very good it is too. But I fear that my own is not very good and, to make matters worse, given half a chance it pours out, unsummoned and unexpurgated, from some shameful Swordy Well in my mind which should have been bricked up long ago.

The chief proponent of the limerick art form is Edward Lear. When young I was often slightly disappointed by his limericks as the last line usually echoed the 1st line by ending in the same word - a technique which, for me, brought the 'poem' to an end with an anti-climactic whimper rather than a satisfying bang. (However, the surreal content of the rest of the limerick more than made up for this.) Example:

There was an Old Man with a beard
Who said 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'

In order to explain my own sad flirtation with Light Verse I must go right back to my teenage years and to the girl who was to become my sister-in-law. Her manipulation of the opposite sex, and her perceived attractiveness to them, inspired the following 2 Immortal Verses:

There was a young girl called Joanna
Who paraded about with a banner.
Its message was: 'Men!
How I love you!' But then
She laid them all out with a spanner.

A pretty young damsel named Jo
Had a score of admirers in tow.
She loved them no doubt
But what put her out
Was the way they queued up in a row.

And my verbal tic of a mockery of the art of versification goes on unabated to this very day. Which brings me back to tonight and the latest bucketful of bardic well water. And it also brings me back to blogging, and my fellow bloggers - for it is a Cautionary Tale of the Perils of Obsessive Blogging, Dangers which may well Threaten your Very Humanity!

My mother was felled by a log.
And my father got bit by a dog.
My sister was sick,
And my brother got rick-
Ets, and grandma succumbed to the smog.

My grandfather swallowed a frog.
And my wife fell neck-high in a bog.
My sister-in-law
Had a spat with a saw,
And her husband was mauled by a hog.

The twins both went mad in the fog
And thought they were Gog and Magog.
But I cared not a lot,
Not a tittle or jot -
I could post it all up on my blog!

So all of you bloggers, beware.
If disaster strikes, do not despair.
When tragedy knocks,
Don't call up the docs -
Just blog it with finesse and flair.

So you see, it's a sorry and hopeless case. I'm afraid my intellectual stock has plummeted, my creative credibility been fatally holed below the waterline. And to think that at one time he promised so much...

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