Category Archives: poetry

And Another Clerihew

When I checked after posting yesterday I still need to use the word canicular in a poem. And yes, I use term loosely – it’s the clerihew again.  Here goes.

George Croydon Marks 

Designed railways for parks

And the famous Saltburn funicular,

which is fun on days canicular

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Clerihew, it’s OK to be bad, in fact it’s almost a feature of the form.

Having said that, this is definitely taking us into William McGonagall territory. Do I dare hope that one day I will be elevated to the status of The Great McGonagall and Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings?

 

A Lack of Undiscovered Places

What happened today? Ate bacon, eggs and sausage, couldn’t park outside the shop, packed parcels, sorted coins and saw customers. Not a bad day but not exactly adventurous. It’s the sort of day that used to get explorers in the mood for travel. Thanks to generations of bored explorers there are now no things left to discover, so I needed something different to do.

I thought I’d try feeding poems into on-line translators and see what happened. I used Tall Nettles by Edward Thomas as it’s quite short and he’s been dead for a hundred years so it’s out of copywright.

TALL nettles cover up, as they have done 
These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plough 
Long worn out, and the roller made of stone: 
Only the elm butt tops the nettles now. 

This corner of the farmyard I like most: 
As well as any bloom upon a flower 
I like the dust on the nettles, never lost 
Except to prove the sweetness of a shower. 

I translated it into Welsh, because it’s quite a poetic language. Then I translated it back.

TALL BALLS pay for a length, as they have done

these in many wells, the rusty oblique,

the Long digestion curve, and the roller make of stone:

Only the lamb stomach is at the top of the breathe now.

The corner of the yard I like most:

As well as any flowering on a flower

I like the dust of the flame,

never losing exclusion to experience shower mimster.

No, I couldn’t find “mimster” in the dictionary either. Next I tried Italian.

TALL nettles cover, as they did
These many springs, the rusty harrow, the plow
Long worn and stone roll:
Only the bottom of the elm is on top of the nettles.

I like this corner of the farm:
As well as any flower on a flower
I like dust on nettles, I’ve never lost
Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.

It seems to have stayed closer to the original.

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Nettles in the Woods

 

Then, of course, I had to try Xhosa. For a language that includes a lot of clicks it stayed reasonably close to the original.

RULE is issuing sticks, as it does
These many sources, the riding horse, the farmer
Long term, and stone roller:
Only elm butt elevates fat now.

This farmhouse is my favorite:
Together with any bloom of flowers
I like dust in the ministry, never lost
Besides showing the enjoyment of a couple.

I know what some of you are thinking…

TALL is cut short, as it does
The many creams, the rusty crest, wing
Long-term value and stone:
Communication is too late.

This clogfe bag would like more:
Add any flower to the flower
I love the dust with fat, and I do not lose it
In addition to trying to eat food.

Yes, it’s Welsh, Italian and Xhosa, and no, I can’t find “clogfe” in the dictionary, which is a shame.

So, apart from teaching us to ignore exercises in poetry books, what does this tell us about the nature of poetry?

Let’s be honest – nothing.

It does, however, give a possible insight into the difficult nature of international politics and the role of translators.

And it’s a good argument for keeping computers out of the hands of men with time on their hands.

 

Out with the Old and In with the New

Unless I suddenly discover a previously unknown reserve of ambition and energy this is going to be my last post of 2017. I may squeeze another one in, but I probably won’t as I intend to make soup and sandwiches in a few minutes and spend the rest of the evening  making a serious dent in the Christmas food mountain.

As usual, I bought too much, because you don’t want to run out of food when you have guests over.

I also bought too much beer. I’m not going to be depleting the beer stocks as I’m not much of a drinker these days. I bought a selection pack of Adnams beer to test over the holiday but only tested three of them.

I can report that they tasted like beer, with a distinct beery aftertaste. The Lighthouse and Easy Up were easy to drink, as I like IPA-style beers. The Ghost Ship was a trifle heavier and sent me to sleep.

As reviews go, it’s going to win no prizes. You need vocabulary like citrus, hoppy and fruitcake aroma if you’re a beer reviewer and, quite honestly, I couldn’t say fruitcake aroma with a straight face.

In future I’m going to work to my strengths and stick to book reviews. Or I could build up my knowledge and vocabulary and train to be a chocolate reviewer too, but I fear it’s an unattainable dream. Losing weight is a priority, beer and chocolate are not.

However, on to my latest hobby horse. I nearly wrote a post entitled “Knee-deep in Bovine Excrement” after reading about a new career I’d never heard of before.

I’ve previously written about professional cuddling. I’m not going to knock it, if you can make $60 an hour cuddling someone, and can find people who will pay it, then good luck to you. I can see how it could help people, and can’t do much harm (unlike drugs) but is it really a career?

Now I’ve found and even more insubstantial “career”. It’s very tempting to study for it, but, as with beer reviewing I might find it a bit hard to keep a straight face. Check out the International Federation of Biblio-Poetry Therapy for details of what I consider a flimsy career.

Again, it may we do good, and it can’t do much harm. Compared to the cuddling there’s also less room for awkward misunderstanding. However, if you want to know more about becoming qualified you will have to pay $20 for the information pack. Not only that but if you want to convince one of the mentors you are serious about it you have to take a creative writing course. That will cost you around £400. It’s a good course – you can tell that because one of the course directors is a mentor for the International Federation of Biblio-Poetry Therapy. Er… hang on a minute…

Let’s just say that I wish I’d known about this twenty years ago.

According to one internet entry (which may or may not be true) you can charge $160 for prescribing a therapeutic reading list.

Sorry, have to go now, can’t type more as tears of laughter are obstructing my view of the keyboard…

Happy New Year to you all, see you next year.

And a Third Limerick

I came close to using a Clerihew for Tootlepedal’s Festive Limerick but as I wrote Limericks about Derrick J Knight and the ladies I thought it was only fair to produce a third Limerick.

Originally I tried to force “Tootlepedal” into a line but I couldn’t. I’ve never been good at the metrical part of poetry but even I can tell it’s not a good word for a Limerick.

There was a Scots cyclist called Tootlepedal

(If you get this to scan, take a medal)

If only I dare shorten it to Tootle I could get him to pootle, but it’s probably safer not to do that. So that was how I left it.

I looked at several sites for help with scansion, and it wasn’t time wasted as it revealed that the Ancient Greeks believed a metrical foot should have an arsis and a thesis. (Plural arses and theses, honestly!) It’s not complicated humour, but let’s face it, I’m a simple man and I’m grinning as I type.

A little inventiveness and adaptation later I came up with this version.

A keen Scots cyclist called Tom,

cycles around with aplomb.

If he was Tommy,

it would rhyme with bonhomie,

which would be funny. But wrong.

I think this probably signals the end of my Limerick Season for this year. It’s a lot harder than writing Clerihews.

Another Limerick

Another Limerick? I’m spoiling you with all this culture aren’t I?

This one is devoted to the people behind two of our most prolific bloggers – Jackie and Mrs Tootlepedal.

The juicy jalfrezi of Jackie,

The toffee pudding of Mrs TP,

are both justly famous

and you cannot blame us

for wanting an invite to tea.

I’m still struggling to fit Tootlepedal into a poem. I can get the rhyme but I can’t get it to scan. I may have to resort to crafty manipulation.

A Limerick

I’m starting the day with a Limerick. It’s one of two I have in mind, featuring well-known WordPressers who have exchanged poetry with me in the last few weeks.

As ever, I call it poetry but offer no opinion as to the quality.

 

A white-haired curmudgeon named Knight,

Found his trousers had grown rather tight.

He ate so much Jalfrezi,

Which he covered in gravy,

That he will never again be quite light.

 

I tried to fit bahji in, but settled for gravy – less accurate but it seemed to fit better. All us artists have to compromise at some point…

There will be at least one more Limerick today – watch this space!