A TASTE OF THE BOOK
REVISED AUG. 27, 2016
(Copyright Ove Ofteness, 2009-2016)
Thanks to Dave Morice, of Iowa City, Iowa, for his many years of inspiration and support.
I owe the two editions of the book to Joye Chizek. Thank you again!
A strong infl uence on my interest in the possibilities of rhyme was “Look at the Clock!” (Patty Morgan, the Milkmaid’s Story), from The Ingoldsby Legends, by Rev. Richard Harris Barham, published in the 1840s:
“Having once gained the summit, and managed to cross it, he
Rolls down the side with uncommon velocity.”
This compilation was a nine-year project, begun in 2006. A lot of the themes in the limericks refer to that period. The numbered limericks are originals. I’ve discarded about two thirds of the verses in order to tighten the manuscript.
Limerick-writing isn’t verbal chess. My attempt was to help make checkers more interesting and delve into this under-explored verse form.
Judging from the vast number of limericks I’ve seen, those I consider top-notch are almost as rare as coherent palindromes.
Here’s hoping that most of these verses will be considered wordplay, commentary, and editorial cartoons, rather than poetry.
Originally, the ideas in these five-liners were intended as scripts for a comic strip I conceived to be called “Smedley and Melvis.”
My aim in this book was to produce a collection of verses that might remind readers of an Ogden Nash with more “attitude.”
I should mention that opinions in this volume are not necessarily mine.
Many of the stories in these limericks were inspired by incidents I have witnessed.
I changed the names of the people in these verses for the sake of rhyme.
This collection has 275 original verses, which I figured would make it short enough.
OLD AND NEW-FASHIONED LIMERICKS
Tom Swifties can be conveniently converted to limericks.
Two that I borrowed (the verses are mine):
Tom Swift, he was miffed. Oh, and how,
And admits having fits even NOW.
“Don’t lend me more yarn—
I can’t mend worth a darn,”
“I borrowed a punchline,” said Clyde.
“When I claimed to be honest, I lied.
An amusing tom-swiftie
Is one out of fifty.
‘I gave up on living,’ Sue sighed.”
To my knowledge, there is no common word in English that rhymes with MONTH.
In Words at Play: Quips, Quirks and Oddities (1998) and the revised editions: The Word Play Almanac (2002) and Never Odd or Even: Palindromes, Anagrams & Other Tricks Words Can Do (2005-06), resorting to proper nouns, I provided rhymes for the words ORANGE, PURPLE and SILVER. BLORENGE is the name of a hill near Abergavenny, Wales.
The name Henry Honeychurch GORRINGE was found by George F. Hubbard, of New York City (cited in Paul Dickson’s Names). HIRPLE is a British word meaning “to limp”; CURPLE means hindquarters or buttocks, especially of a horse; CHILVER (British dialect) means “ewe lamb” or “ewe mutton.” It is also a surname, as is WILVER, which was also the given name (forename) of baseball’s Wilver Dornell (“Willie”) Stargell (1940-2001).
NO RHYMES FOR ORANGE, PURPLE, SILVER, AND MONTH?
In spite of what might have been heard,
That claim is just lame and absurd.
A whole month I dreamt
By my thousandth attempt,
’stead of none, I found one for each word.
I could have written an alternate to this:
“In spite of what might have been written
Are claims of some names in Great Britain...”
In honor of these discoveries, I present this two-part limerick.
There once was a dunce known as Orange,
Who got his toe caught in a door hinge.
Said he, turning purple,
Proceeding to hirple,
“I bet I won’t get back to Blorenge.”
I resolved the story with a verse using the other difficult rhyme.
A passerby named Mr. Wilver,
Who traded his horse for a chilver,
Gave Orange the lamb,
But he mounted a ram
And rode home yelling, “Oh, hi-yo Silver!”
Other near-rhymes for “orange” include sporange, (pronounced “spe-RANJ” [short for sporangium]), more range, and far range.
—“Stubborn Rhymes,” (as “Ove Michaelson”), Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics, May, 2001, revised in 2008
It’s hard to rhyme “orange” and “purple.”
I dug and found “hirple” and “curple.”
“The four engineers
Wore orange brassieres”
Was goofy, but topped “maple surple.”
Lines three and four are from Willard R. Espy, written as
“The four eng-
People were stunned that
Four MORE eng-
(If a word doesn’t rhyme in your dialect, such as “orange,” there are other dialects.)
Around the year 2000, Tom Lehrer, in an interview for the California magazine
The (East Bay) Monthly, provided this rhyme, using an Eastern U.S. pronunciation, “awrenge.”
Eating an orange
While making love
Makes for bizarre enj-
In a later interview, he commented: “For some speakers, the near hinge won’t rhyme, but the far hinge will, whereas for others, the rear hinge won’t rhyme, but the fore hinge will. ‘Oranges’ are easier, rhyming with ‘larynges’ and ‘pharynges’…
One can go only so far in jest.”
Stephen Sondheim, “Letters to the Editor,” Time magazine, May 24, 1971:
To find a rhyme for “silver,”
Or any “rhymeless” rhyme
Requires only will, ver-
Bosity and time.
The limerick might be the only verse form indigenous to the English language.
It was apparently first made popular in Britain by London illustrator and author Edward Lear (1812-1888) in the 1863 reissue of his 1846 work, the Book of Nonsense.
It is believed that these were not referred to as limericks until 1896
(artist Aubrey Beardsley used the word in a letter to Leonard Smithers in 1896)—eight years after Lear’s death.
“The 212 that he wrote were called ‘learics’ by his contemporaries,” wrote Dr. Crypton (Paul Hoffman) in the August 1983 issue of his Science Digest column “Puzzles, Paradoxes, Pitfalls.”
“In his declining years, Lear lamented that he would be remembered not for his splendid exact renderings of birds, but for his poem ‘The Owl and the Pussy-Cat.’ If it were not for the humorous illustrations in The Book of Nonsense, the limerick might have died there.” Few limericks of Lear’s day contained punchlines. Most of his ended with a modification of the first line. When more punchlines were written into these verses, they soon became immensely popular. Dr. Crypton added, “More limericks seem to have been written in 1907 and 1908 than in all other years combined.”
According to Dr. Arthur Deex in The Pentatette, newsletter of the Mensa Limerick SIG, the word appeared in print at least as early as 1898, and the earliest-known book of limericks (then called “nonsense verses”) was The History of Sixteen Wonderful Old Women, author(s?) and illustrator unknown, by a London publisher in 1820.
Although the limerick form is short, the rules are more strict than in lyric writing.
The limericist can’t get away so easily with uneven meter or stressing the wrong syllables.
The lyrics to “You’re in the Army Now,” used in the Warner Brothers cartoon The Draft Horse, released in 1942, is a Lear-like limerick. There are three versions of the middle two lines. The verses in Billy Joel’s 1973 signature song, “Piano Man,” are similar to the limerick in meter.
SOME BY OTHERS
RHYMING BY THE NUMBERS
Pentatette gave the source of the following limerick as Ye Book of Sense: A Companion to the Book of Nonsense (Torquay & London, 1863), which was followed by The New Book of Sense, published in Philadelphia in 1864. It was apparently the latter book which spawned a fad for this verse form in America.
A mathematician named Ben
Could only count modulo ten.
He said, “When I go
Past my last little toe,
I have to start over again.”
-This little-known limerick is attributed to wordplay and recreational mathematics expert Leigh Mercer (1893-1977), of London:
A dozen, a gross, and a score,
Plus three times the square root of four,
Divided by seven,
Plus five times eleven
Is nine squared and not a bit more.
Mercer’s famous palindrome “A man, a plan, a canal—Panama” was first published in the November 13, 1948 issue of the British journal Notes and Queries.
This limerick, by Londoner James A(lbert). Lindon, was given as a riddle in “Mathematical Games,” Martin Gardner’s column in Scientific American, April 1963.
One thousand two hundred and sixty-
Four million eight hundred and fifty-
Three thousand nine hun-
dred and seventy-one
Point two seven five eight four six three.
Lindon was better known as a phenomenal palindromist (pronounced “pal-IN-drem-ist”).
A mathematician confided,
A Möbius strip is one-sided.
You’ll get quite a laugh
If you cut one in half
For it stays in one piece when divided.
In late 1907, the London Opinion ran a limerick contest that was so popular it nearly brought down the postal service. 700 entries were submitted to complete this limerick (the final line).
There was a young lady of Ryde,
Whose locks were consid’rably dyed.
The hue of her hair
Made everyone stare.
“She’s piebald, she’ll DIE bald!” they cried.
May 12th is National Limerick Day in many countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States, in celebration of English artist, illustrator, and writer Edward Lear (1812-1888), who popularized the limerick.
Puzzlist "Ahmed" (George M. Woodcock) gave the clues to this anagram in limerick form. It appeared in “Our Puzzle Circle,” a column in the June 1887 issue of The Western Plowman, published in Moline, Illinois.
ANAGRAM: HE’LL DO IN MELLOW VERSE
It’s not for his poems alone,
This magnate of letters is known;
For his prose is replete
With the wisest conceit,
And fertile by seed thickly sown.
Our philosopher poet is gray,
But youthful his heart is today,
Though the years gather fast,
(Still) no clouds ever cast
The genius his writings display.
SOLUTION: OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
CRITICITIS / FLAW-FISHING
They criticize things they can’t do,
Understood and achieved by the few.
Creators are bound
To be breaking new ground,
But critics will never be new.
With all best intentions, our deeds
Might not suit desires or creeds.
To “do unto others?”
Our sisters and brothers
Do not always share the same needs.
Not everything lost will be found.
I keep my high hopes on the ground.
Despite what we're taught,
More often than not,
What goes around just goes around.
Get tanned with a halogen lamp,
While keeping your collagen damp.
If YOU want it DONE right,
Pursue little SUNlight.
Avoid the outdoors when you camp.
Surveillance has never bugged ME.
I’m not much to look at, so, gee!
Hello, quasi moto-cop.
Woah! It's my photo op.
Somewhere I’m seen on TV!
A POSTAL TIP
Some shippers are hard to out-fox,
And books are as heavy as rocks.
Expensive to mail?
Try cheating the scale.
Put helium deep in the box.
Because you prefer a good ’do,
I REhaired my head, using glue.
You say you don’t care
For a man’s facial hair,
So, I shaved off my brows just for YOU.
With new clumps of hair on my head, &:)
I called a physician and said,
“I’m not cheek bone gifted.
Please have my face lifted,
Or lower my body instead.”
My brows were pulled up from my eyes.
These peepers now seem twice their size.
I’m back to my prime
As though frozen in time
With a permanent look of surprise.
The starlets have little to flaunt.
Those “beauties” are hipless and gaunt.
We ought to be free
To have Rorschach TV
For the access to see what we want.
(It would appall me for hours.)
I slept on a corduroy pillow
And a sheet by the makers of Brillo (?).
With stripes on my face
And my skin out of place,
I envy the great armadillo.
I love to nod off ’til I drop,
Right there, down to where I can flop.
I’m not what I seem.
Success is my dream
And I’m napping my way to the top.
Enjoying his favorite creature,
He watched an intense triple feature.
While dropping his jaw,
Suspended in awe,
He was shaken awake by his teacher.
SOMNOLENT DEJA VU
It seemed that I dreamed it before,
But forgot. Maybe not, but no more!
This altered reality
Thanks! I was saved by your snore.
Said Mom, with a smile and a wink,
“My eyes were at rest, though you think
I counted some sheep
And had fallen asleep.
You could call it a three-hour blink.”
We climb to our legs from when carried,
Then blink, and some find ourselves married.
So brief is this journey
From cradle to gurney.
A lifetime will never be buried.
Argh. Yesterday? No. Not again!
I’m leaving the past to back when.
To and fro (bound and from),
Here and now sure exceed there and then.
As mentioned in poems and songs,
Father time can relieve a few wrongs.
Once lost and forsaken,
Bad journeys we’ve taken…
The past is right where it belongs.
The future and past are a haze.
We step to our time, phase to phase,
And like it or not,
It’s all that we’ve got—
The best of available days.
The high ground depleted my air.
The low road, I've known that despair.
Old weight tends to last.
It's late for the past
And the present is all I can bear.
Yes, time is deceptively clever.
We COULD say tomorrow is NEVER.
Just keep it in mind
That the clock won’t unwind.
All is now, the forever endeavor.
Just juvenate. Furbish. Be new.
Yes, make every day your debut.
A stone turns to sand.
With now in your hand,
Your timing is always on cue.
“It's never too late to become what you might have been.”
—George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), 1819–1880, English novelist, poet, journalist, translator
The present is always on cue.
The future is just out of view.
Though built on the past,
A moment can’t last,
But life is too short to rush THROUGH.
Clear eyes aimed ahead see it through,
But the present is blocking my view.
The past will not wait,
Though we notice it late.
Keeping up is enough to pursue.
The present keeps blocking one's vision,
Delaying a future decision.
What was and will be
Is a line we can't flee,
But at least, there's no fear of collision.
Remembering tips a friend Jim taught,
I hope to acquire what Tim got,
And won't lose my way
If I choose one more day
Just to take it. I'll TAKE my life. (rim shot)
In spite of our strongest resistance,
The future flows on with persistence.
Delayed on the uptake,
But quick for that cupcake,
We’ll gratify out of existence.
To think we were bothered by bees,
When forests had too many trees.
Some seem disenchanted,
While taking for granted
A future with no guarantees.
I live it as if it is finite.
If only each day were a highlight.
Hereafter? There, never?
Some dream of forever
And substitute gold for mere pyrite.
Emotion’s involved in perspective.
Good sense isn’t always effective.
An honored proclivity,
Might be the weakest objective.
So many misread what they see,
And we’re not always those we should be.
Respond when they dare to say,
“You’re not yourSELF today”:
“Why then are you telling ME?”
(“Borrowed” from a joke by comic / motivational speaker Brett Leake.)
When oceans of words overwhelm,
With only yourself at the helm,
Try planning your flight,
And traveling light
To the peace of a nonverbal realm.
His mouth was well suited for Reeboks.
At times he’d been up to his knee socks.
Ole “Jabber Juice John,”
One day he was gone.
I heard he was taken to DEtalks.
(Restless Tongue Syndrome)
A word can just trip on a lip.
It’s too god done easy to slip.
My “bother” for “brother,”
And “sinister” (sister), then -ZZZIP!-
(Inspired by someone who mistyped “fiance” as “finance.”)
For a very good artist:
A mountain’s amazing topography
Is enhanced with an eye for photography.
Preserved in its loftiness,
Brother Tore Ofteness
Captured the still choreography.
You’ll see her dissuading café face,
Demure, on a window display case.
Well poised, but so distant,
Keyed in on a vague far AWAY place.
HOWARD BE THY NAME
You’d think that the sources were lyin’.
No wonder Anne Rice was born cryin’.
Her birth name was male
And I tell you no tale—
She was born Howard Allen O’Brien.
Alphabetical order? I’m hexed!
In waiting rooms, yes, I get vexed,
But won’t shake my fist
When first on the list
After changing my last name to “Next.”
A hard-working server at Denny's
Had worn down the soles of her tennies.
The drunks were polite,
But when punks mocked her height,
She replied, "I'm a dime among pennies."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once attended a meeting in which he was the shortest man present. “Dr. Holmes,” quipped a friend, “I should think you’d feel rather small among us big fellows.” “I do,” retorted Homes, “I feel like a dime among a lot of pennies.” —source unidentified
There SHOULD be a STRICT “curb your HORSE” law.
Did you catch what a dozen or MORE saw?
To call a mare fat?
I wouldn’t touch THAT
With a really tall person from Warsaw. [A ten-foot Pole.]
I prefer fatty food for the taste.
My stroll is a bit slower paced.
This thinned hair is gray
And my torso is clay.
You’d pass and would say, “What a waist.”
Two eighty. Too weighty. I’ll diet,
But don’t stop ice cream, or we’ll riot.
We’ve all got our flaws,
But passing new laws?
A flavor-free “sweet?” Just you try it!
A surgeon some called an artiste,
Did best with the most for the least.
With lard, Dr. Hinkle
Just filled every wrinkle.
At last, their deep folds were de-creased.
A young, chiseled fellow named Ben,
The ultimate model for men,
Didn't drink, never smoked,
But one day, up and croaked.
At least he was healthy till THEN.
PERSISTENCE OF FORGETFULNESS
The one thing I failed to retain
Was the fact that I once had a brain.
I’ve emptied my head,
Or whatever I said
As I strolled short-term memory lane.
“I've had amnesia for as long as I can remember.” –Anonymous
Forgetting my neighbor’s name, Maude,
I just said “Hello” with a nod.
For help, I rhymed HER name,
Kelly, her surname.
“Good morning, Ms. Belly. Oh, gawd.”
An anchorman, fond of his booze,
Was fired while reading the news.
“It wasn’t that bad,”
He said. “All that I had
Was just one tini many martoos.”
A fireman rookie was hired,
Replacing a vet who retired.
He just loved the whiff,
But soon learned that if
You fight fire with fire, you’re fired.
Ucalegon lives in our town.
“I hear that your house had burnt down.
The one with the porch on it?
Hun, how unfortunate.
All you have left is that gown?”
Ucalegon: a neighbor (or next-door neighbor) whose house is on fire.
In dream with great hope, I foresee
The ripened, eventual me,
Not looped, just well-rounded,
Unweighted, but grounded.
With time, I’ll have learned just to BE.
Some years before ten we were taught
That “maybe” meant “probably not.”
The dog loved a “treat.”
We liked anything sweet,
And craved just a little a LOT.
Up, down, in and out through our ages,
With luck, we’ll enjoy seven stages.
Though not about time,
Some live the sublime,
With years that outnumber the pages.
Assuming you’re gifted with time,
Your best can come after your “prime.”
Where youth never goes.
The view makes it well worth your climb.
Though wiser, I’m short of a sage.
I’ve waited so long for this age.
Nostalgia’s no place
To chase or embrace.
Even NOW is a quickly turned page.
“Posterity is just around the corner.” —George S. Kaufman
Inspection reveals many flaws,
But it helps to examine their cause.
Excuse the myopic
With views microscopic;
They can’t see the field for the straws.
We once enjoyed beautiful scenery,
Till a couple smoked all the best greenery.
The ones least equipped
Tend to stay the most ripped.
Keep their fingers off certain machinery.
(Band saws come to mind. I learned this firsthand.)
An elderly man in Missouri
Said, “Age will get old in a hurry.
Each year we encumber
Is only a number
Of wrinkles, regrets, and where WERE we?”
These lumbering limbs are my basement.
This attic will find no replacement.
With x-rays x-rated,
My bones are outdated.
One relic is primed for encasement.
Bill borrows, but damned if he lends.
His ravenous need never ends.
He’ll perform a kind feat,
Then demand a receipt.
He’s well known for outnumbering friends.
I warn you, don't argue with Marion,
The ultimate disciplinarian.
“A kid shouldn't drive
Till age thirty-five.”
Take the wheel from this mad centenarian.
When courtesy wasn’t a labor,
With fewer prepared with a saber,
How rare now to find
A person who’s kind
To a relative, friend, or a neighbor.
With muscle and heart, blood and bone,
We fought wars that some claimed were our own.
December the seventh,
Are stamped in historical stone.
From billions of volumes, condensed,
Would we learn what could leave us incensed?
Will permanent peace
Be when time and life cease,
Ending battles we’re fighting against?
Despite good and evil intentions,
War and peace were not human inventions,
And both will go on,
Long after we’ve gone,
Defying our global dissensions.
When humans become obsolete,
Some art will survive the concrete.
The grounds bought and sold,
Foundations of old
Will disintegrate under our feet.
No leaders, nor followers be,
In Xanadu, land of the free.
Our souls reign supreme.
Of course, it's a dream,
The one place where all sides agree.
It's home, filthy rich, or dirt poor,
A shrine from the roof to the floor.
Not many object
To a little respect.
When we pay it, feel free at the door.
Last night, an old friend said, “Hello!
Well! How are you doing?” “So-so.
For details and more,
The people next door
Are always the first ones to know.”
I locked an old bike to a tree.
A shock to the eye,
It’s twenty feet high
And I never did find the dang key.
A klepto would cop a bent paperclip.
A document stored on computer chip,
By surge or a crash,
Is lost in a flash.
The void takes possession of ownership.
Some swear they were destined to roam,
And traveled from Houston to Nome.
On roads with no end,
They can't comprehend
An actual meaning of home.
Say "home," and that word won't compute
For the lost who have tried every route.
They dream of a place.
How they long for that base,
But their search is a futile pursuit.
Avoiding the void is a must,
But stillness attracts too much dust.
Your home isn’t ANYwhere.
Some will find MANY there,
Strayed, though a few will adjust.
(The first letter of each line, reading downward.)
With no destination or base,
Home to whom is no actual place.
A tumbleweed's free
And content just to BE,
Drifting on without leaving a trace.
Try shaking a family tree,
In hope there's a way to break free.
The roots are held fast.
Acknowledge the past,
Or be bound as a failed refugee.
A ham hock does not make a soup.
A circle does not mean a loop.
Our language has faltered
And meanings are altered.
Remember when “troop” meant a “group?”
(He’s a State Trooper, not a State Troop.)
This language is chock full of wonders.
As a whole, in our usage, it sunders.
Our grammar's a mess.
It's “fewer,” no “less,”
And “amount” should be “number” of blunders.
Said one saddened teacher named Miriam,
“There’s ONE, there are TWO. One bacterium.
The media ARE,
And FUR isn’t FAR(ther),”
Then slipped into hopeless delirium.
(It’s “furthermore” and “look into it further,” not “farthermore” or “look into to it farther.”)
“Betrayal of trust” is redundant.
The pleonast isn't obtundent.
When planning ahead
Or to kill something dead,
Null and void, the sum total's abundant.
One item does not make a list.
It’s redundant to “cease and desist.”
We end what’s begun
But still waters don’t run,
And nothing, I’m sure, does exist.
In a letter to Edward De Vere:
“Shake a lance at the eyes…” (Make it “spear.”)
Not Marlowe, nor Bacon—
Their slots were well-taken,
And William did not have a peer.
“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare =
Pick Marlowe. Ask if HE wrote all these poems.”
—Linda Bosson, The Enigma, Feb. 1978
The fate of our species is FOREgone.
There’s always a family WAR on.
“Damn kin,” keep in mind
The misnomer, “mankind.”
This term is an old oxymoron.
Some say that I’ve lowered the bar.
A novelty made me a star.
I’m paid to show up,
And they’re filling my cup
For using a player guitar.
Off-mic, he could not find a date.
He uses the stage as his bait.
We lower the boom
When his noise fills the room,
But by then, it's a moment too late.
A life that so few comprehend:
Some love every step they ascend.
I missed a career,
But wouldn’t be here
Had I followed that dream to the end.
I told a new joke to a friend
Who replied, “I don’t mean to offend,
But I teach egonomics
For wannabe comics,
And thought that you ought to attend.”
(As a stand-up act, I was known to outnumber an entire audience.)
Embarrassed by laughs autonomic,
I imagined a “dignified comic.”
The words contradict.
The jester feels kicked.
“No respect.” When he bombs, it’s atomic.
Perspective defying convention
Is art’s most important intention.
An otherly realm
Can easily whelm
Or evoke from the depths an ascension.
Original songs and renditions
Are tough when we're not great musicians.
With whey out of curds,
I spray on some words
From one of my old compositions.
An artist? Unsigned and no tours?
Remaining unknown to reviewers?
How much have you made?
The song that you played—
Is it valid, or just one of yours?
Considered the cream of the crop,
A talent was over the top.
Ignored by the labels,
Employed busing tables,
His dream was replaced by a mop.
Sure, art can be misunderstood.
It's often the case, when it’s good.
What dictates the rage
Of the popular stage
Is the flash of all sheen and no wood.
Ignoring the lines of convention
Might not be an artist's intention.
The lop side, though weird,
Is often revered.
Eccentric? That goes without mention.
Fresh concepts are tough on the meek.
Prepare for a brutal critique.
Proceed with what's new;
You'll relate to the few,
Not to substitute soul with technique.
THE MUSICIAN'S PLIGHT
Since ears are well-trained for what's rife,
Too few reach attainment through strife.
Though many dismiss
What's to them, an abyss.
A lifestyle? No, it's a life.
A substance can offer a boost,
And some create most when they’re juiced.
We can’t let their quirks
Eclipse their best works.
Let’s focus on all they’ve produced._
Respected, but never a “star,”
Not many have played on his par.
He stayed in his prime
For such a long time,
This master of flat-picked guitar.
(He was also an exceptional finger-picker.)
The legends have shown us how far
Pioneers have explored the guitar.
Blind Blake, Charley Patton,
Les Paul, Danny Gatton,
We thank you for raising the bar.
ZIMMERICKS (On Bob Dylan)
Right out of the blue, a dark horse
Ran through with phenomenal force.
With keen ammunition,
This poet musician
Helped chart a new cultural course.
John Hammond’s astonishing find
Took aim for the front from behind.
This bold pioneer
Was a man with no peer.
You could say he was none of a kind.
(Without an equal, Dylan was not of a kind.)
When fear had us down on all fours,
His lyrics flowed out of his pores
With what had to be said,
Turning "pop" on its head,
Still, he ventures where no one explores.
How quickly we act on presumption,
So lacking in tact, fact and gumption,
Surmising while surly,
Deducing too early
From jumpin’ to some dumb assumption.
Though pie charts help teach economics,
For issues, we choose TV comics.
Most news has a slant,
And details are scant.
Fact and fiction is often a RAW mix.
A comment is just someone’s word.
I’m careful with rumors I’ve heard.
To witness a fact
With context intact,
I came, I saw, I concurred.
“Veni, vidi, Velcro.” (“I came, I saw, I stuck around.”) —Anonymous
With judges, he’s not good at dice,
And never found justice, just ice.
With chances aborted,
His clients are shorted,
And last guys do not finish nice.
To judge by the look on a face
Is often a mile off base.
Applying one’s gumption
On faulty assumption
Is not unlike judging one’s “race.”
A mind-reader's more cursed than blessed
To perceive what might not be expressed.
Uneased, no, distressed,
We're displeased if assessed
With a feeling of being undressed.
“My suit is the best!” a man bolstered,
“But HER,” he yelled, “Dressed? She’s upholstered,”
Then went on to blare
His ill words, unaware
That her “drape” hid a weapon, unholstered.
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
Think back and recall two professions.
Few sacrifice all their discretions.
Young Josephine dared,
Norma Jean, the blonde-haired—
Both Bakers made lasting impressions.
DISORDERS AND SYNDROMES ON TRIAL
Afflictions most callously spurned
Are pardoned from what we have learned.
Perceived once as wise
No longer applies
With each case overturned and adjourned.
When currents are choppy and white,
The streams are too mighty to fight.
Observe any otter
At rest in calm water
Where fish are more likely to bite.
“Be yourself?” Well, that’s easy advice.
We’ve all heard that phrase once or twice.
Some learned to be shy,
Knowing very well why:
Going natural didn’t suffice.
Essentials are often forsaken
By dreaming, too slow to awaken.
Though some are self-taught,
They can learn quite a lot
From classes that most haven't taken.
Explore all the crannies and nooks.
Observe where another just looks.
Preserve thoughts and read ’em,
But don’t lose the freedom
To also think outside the books.
An ad read, “A room with a view,”
And oh, the attention it drew,
In hopes to delight
A renter with sight.
For the next ad, you might think it through.
The road-paving, trailblazing oddities
Transcend what are age-old commodities.
Each woman and man
Must progress when we can
And our pathways should put any GOD at ease.
To most, roads are bumpy and graveled.
They’re winding and endlessly raveled.
With no need for heels,
Nor the speed of four wheels,
How blessed are the few roadless traveled.
“Normality is a paved road: it's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”—Vincent Van Gogh
Downhill saves the nickels and dimes.
Will the vehicles cope with the climbs.
With brakes that keep locking,
We’re better off walking.
Old wagons won’t roll with the times.
A leg up will gain upper hand.
To fall, we must know how to land.
We all have to try
For success, by and by.
Over-sit and we won’t understand.
Each day is a time to begin.
Move onward and hold up your chin.
The wind at your back
Will cover your track.
Those who matter will know where you’ve been.
Uphill with the wind at your face,
Don’t worry, regarding the pace.
A step is a stride.
With hope as your guide,
Remember this isn’t a race.
I've grown to be prone to addiction.
That old “certain something” affliction.
The stupefied gaze
From a sucker-punch daze—
Love defies any wise man's prediction.
While playing this, I must confess
It’s a game of emotional chess.
I’m earth-shaken, moondoggled,
Falling in love is a mess.
Not one of the borrowers lends,
Receivers without one who sends,
Counterfeits posing as friends.
Remember humanity? When?
For women or children, by men?
Most weapons must cease
For that glimmer of peace—
An advance from the lance to the pen.
Most women spend days being harried.
If only more men could be varied
In how they behave.
Feel free around Dave—
No problem; the guy’s dead and married.
Some couples will share a charade,
Bouquet’d and displayed on parade.
True love’s a tall order
But I can afford ’er.
The price tag was half what I’ve paid.
A woman, divorced, in despair,
Said, “Love doesn’t like me, I swear.”
Is rare, and you’ll witness
A “couple” that fails as a pair.
Expensive perfumes draw me near,
But allergens just make me tear,
So, someone please coat ’er
With essence of motor
Or fragrance of bacon and beer.
We're married and SHE has the SMARTS.
A match? Not our brains, but our hearts.
Maitre d's would ask Heather,
“For two?” “Yes, together.”
“Well, SHE is. Please pardon my PARTS.”
His heart is like ice, only colder,
So don’t try to cry on his shoulder,
But please take his fault
With a large grain of salt
If you wouldn’t mind bearing a boulder.
If love is a gamble, I’m in.
With hope, this might be a win-win.
The higher the stakes,
We risk what it takes.
I won’t bet my all in one spin.
Despite the most rigid defiance,
Romance must allow some reliance.
An elated event
Can turn to descent,
And heartbreak is known to drop giants.
(No one can beat that dragon.)
LABOR OF LOVE
Rekindle a romance from ember?
It's work for a May and December.
They've even tried gags,
And brown paper bags,
But oh, what a knot to remember!
A LESSON IN THE MARITAL ARTS
I knew a man, Jim, in Orinda.
Though married, he strayed from his Linda.
Said she to her Tim,
Then Tim tossed ole Jim out the winduh.
An “open arrangement,” more often than not,
Is a deal that’s proposed by the one who got caught.
At first, all your senses are animate.
Like shellac, though, use care. It’s a laminate.
I dared let the fox in
While plagued by that toxin,
But love is my chosen contaminate.
It’s hard to find one who’s a charmer,
With the practical sense of a farmer.
This male prima donna, he’s
One more Don Juanna-be’s
Knight in unused rusted armor.
The dominant man, Alpha Ron,
United with, yes, Delta Dawn,
While Gamma and Beta
In waving, and calmly looked on.
An athlete with any ambition
Relates to a well-trained musician.
Repeating a movement
Is meant for improvement.
The muscles build more definition.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results."
(Albert Einstein was not the source of that, nor is it the definition of insanity.)
From underground warfare of plants
To battling species of ants...
By crossing the border
Of natural order,
We humans believe we'll "advance."
How prejudice churns with a passion!
Opportunists are hauling the cash in.
They speak for the herds,
But ill will exceeds words,
And it’s best choosing one that’s in fashion.
Whatever it is, I'm offended.
I frown on all things open-ended.
I've made up my mind
In advance that I'll find
Opportunities left unattended.
Ideals have made terrible teachers.
We're quite territorial creatures.
At odds with our trait,
We fight what's innate
And can't bet on our fate from the bleachers.
Bilateral man’s a reality.
Conditions define our morality.
Prepare for that riptide.
Beware of the flip-side.
Hypocrisy? More a duality.
In hope, we will choose to ignore
That mankind will remain as before.
We dream it will cease
For that permanent peace
While some fight to their death against war.
Don’t wear yourself out as a fumer,
Dispelling a libelous rumor.
Please take it from me. You’ll
Have more useful fuel,
Converting that anger to humor.
Replayed, we'd be more apprehensive
In dealing with someone offensive.
Responding in kind
Is a trap, and you'll find
The emotional price is expensive.
Getting even, at best, leaves you hollow,
Uncertain of which twist will follow.
The positive range
Of an angry exchange
Will be nil in a war with Apollo.
The beauty was not hard to spot.
Feeling lucky, he gave it a shot.
Though somewhat demure,
Yes, a tad insecure:
“Hi. I’m Walter. And you’re—” “No, I’m not.”
One day, not a minute too soon,
A drug will negate the full moon.
Take one diuretic,
Or two—one for midnight and noon.
Prenatal - paternal - parental—
Are anagrams more monumental!
“One hug - Enough?”
“Or ‘ugh!’” for too “rough.”
“The dentist - dints teeth” (acciDENTAL).
Beginning with mere Davy Crockett toys,
Then greased, as we tinkered through sprocket noise,
But to make something fly
As in OCTOBER SKY
And the anagram taken from ROCKET BOYS?
Rocket Boys was the title of a 1998 book of memoirs by NASA engineer Homer Hickam, Jr., played by Jake Gyllendaal in the film version titled October Sky. The author explained that his producer (for Universal Pictures) decided on the anagrammed title (a “cinemanagram”) so that it would have greater appeal to female moviegoers.
“SEATTLE, WASHINGTON,” ANAGRAMMED
“He’s gettin’ a SLOW tan?” Well, NOT,
And broods, “hating wetness a LOT.”
With life in Seattle,
This rain’s hard to battle.
It’s easier coped with than fought.
Examples of the “redivider,” a palindromic term coined by Mark Saltveit:
From NOWHERE – NOW HERE, back in touch,
The BEAUTIES with BEAU TIES went Dutch.
So WASTED – WAS TED,
We HANDLED (HAND-LED)
Him. The ONUS – ON US was too much.
WORDS IN LETTERS
XPDNC is the game,
And XLNC is the aim.
An SA on NV
From one in FND—
“SKP!” (the NMEs claim).
A yard sale was held just next door,
Of nothing I wanted and more.
It went rather well—
It was easy to sell
And they sold the front yard before four.
A fragrance, wherever he goes,
Is surely not that of a rose.
The scent, foul as hell,
What’s the source? He can’t tell.
It might well be the smell of his nose.
You don’t like to answer the phone.
Your solitude’s all that you’ve known.
A solo existence
Is one sad persistence
Of no one to leave you alone.
A man you can’t miss on the street
Is a panhandler known as just “Pete.”
He stands upside down
And demands with a frown,
“Hey, help a man back on his feet!”
To keep a few bucks in the bank,
I bought an old car with a crank—
The worst one on Earth,
But I doubled its worth,
Merely by filling the tank.
Feynman’s was 124,
Shared by his colleague Niels Bohr.
Not nearly as shocking
Is Einstein and Hawking
Had 161, but there's more.
(Andy Warhol scored 86.)
Hawking was concerned about how well he would perform on the test. It was after he'd had a serious head injury from falling down a staircase. When he was trying to regain consciousness, he didn't know his name.
They far exceeded those test results.
I cheated on an IQ test and catapulted my score to the triple digits. (You have to be clever.)
Accepting a test with passivity
That ignores an important proclivity,
Can't gauge all our senses.
Deprive, though some thrive in captivity.
We say that great minds think alike.
Of the number to come down the pike,
My guess is not many.
Perhaps there aren't any.
Each must clear one's path for that hike.
A genius is often berserk.
Must a gift always come with a quirk?
To cure the disorder
By fencing each border
Could stifle what’s making it work.
Remembering Casey at bat,
On your streak, here's a tip of the hat!
Aside from ability,
Pride needs humility.
No one's too mighty for THAT.
You can launder and hush
When financially apt.
It’s abstract when you’re flush
And concrete when you’re tapped.
Money buys freedom
Or pays your way in.
With cash you can lead ’em
Wherever and when.
If under the weather
And life becomes tough,
Depression is better
When less is enough.
A medical victim named Anschel
Said, “Profits they've reaped are substantial.
All greed and no shame.
We're abstract.” Pass the blame.
The value of life is financial.
MONETARY LAPSE OF REASON
Two buddies named Lino and Dino
Lost lots at a Reno casino.
They bet all their cash,
Then emptied their stash,
And blamed both the vino and Keno.
(Then came the reversal: KENO – ONE K!)
Just yesterday, right before twilight,
A rainbow arc glowed in my skylight.
I followed the bend
To that long colored end
And discovered a pot of pure pyrite.
To write for the ears and the eyes,
At times these may take a few tries.
Retaining the main form,
You steer through the brainstorm
And hope for a clever surprise.
With topics few writers have tapped,
Exploring some regions unmapped,
A man with his pen
Reached perfection, but then
Found his words were so tight that they snapped.
The limerick tends to be sleazy.
Done well, it’s deceptively breezy.
The fact is it’s terse.
In writing such verse,
The simple is not always easy.
Of all the unlikely sensations,
His words have survived generations.
In verse, Edward Lear
Was a mere pioneer,
Lesser known for his fine illustrations.
“Don’t worry, be happy.” —a stoner
“We’re IN this toGETHER.” —a loner
Light journeys are nonsense.
No baggage? No contents.
“The present can wait.” —a postponer
Haiku was previously called “hokku,” given its current name by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki (at the end of the 19th century?). Its first known use was in 1902.
“Ukiah” reversed is “haiku.”
The place name was first, and who knew?
From “hokku,” as shown you,
A writer was known to
First use it by 1902.
’Been baked, grilled, deep-fried and lamb-basted.
My enemies loved what they’ve tasted.
I know, by and by,
They’ll eat crow, humble pie
And the MAIN course, their WORDS. Nothing wasted.
Lord knows of the harm if one speaks,
When blows go beyond mere critiques.
You respond, not in kind,
But then kicked from behind,
A person can run out of cheeks.
Out of reach, as by mail, you're attacked,
Disapproved of the way you react.
Return to the senders.
Won't handle the parcels they've “packed.”
It's a head-shaker that an unavoidable verbal abuser dictates how the perceived victim should respond. (An unlocked door is not an invitation to be burglarized any more than remodeled a home is inviting a vandal.)
Reprisal did not achieve squat.
’Twas not what you thought you had sought.
The triumph was hollow
And conscience will follow
You, tied in a Gordian knot.
There once lived a young anti-Thor
That history chose to ignore.
A boxer named Syd,
The unknown “Kanvas Kid,”
Was prone to take naps on the floor.
“I’ve been a country and music Western fan since that 9th round with what’s-his-fist.”
Round one, two on two, toe to toe,
The action begins, blow by blow.
They punch at their abs
And jaws between jabs,
We assume. No one sees what they throw.
Discussions are much more preferred
To monologues, long on the word.
Some writers aren’t great
In the realm of debate;
Their points are best read and not heard.
Please pardon the term "prodigality."
You've squandered your time on frivolity.
One must have the mind to
Prepare. Fame won't find you,
And rarely is based on great quality.
Alone at the top of success,
There isn’t much left to express.
Your new home is gated,
And former life’s dated.
Extravagance leaves you with less.
The triumph of staking your claim
Atop the high mountain of fame,
Alone, but imperial,
Tapped of material,
All you’ve got left is a name.
We notice you, therefore, you are.
A publicist made you a star.
The tracks you'll have made,
How quickly they'll fade
And that fall from your fame won't be far.
My friend is too poor for his fame.
A man cannot live on acclaim.
In order to rack up
Some income as backup,
He added “Send Cash” to his name.
Though some of my verses don’t rhyne,
The concepts are most often mine.
When dry, I’ll admit
I use wry, borrowed wit,
And I’m guilty of stealing this line.
An author committed the crime
Of theft as he traveled through time.
Before I could edit
My next book, he read it
And took all the credit, that slime!
Though time travel won’t be outdated,
Some should have been honest and waited.
Fine songs, great inventions
And one’s ill intentions—
A thief lifted works yet created.
(I apologize in advance.)
Some rest on soft beds of green clover.
You're stuck, a perpetual rover.
The lives you have spent,
How quickly they went,
Long over, then over, and over. 199.
A goal can defy time and distance,
And fantasies need no assistance.
This freedom commences
To open the senses
And dream something into existence.
Collectors and critics debated.
Just how was his artwork created?
No secrets were shattered;
Results were what mattered.
Appreciate. He’d be elated.
You've played, painted, penciled, and penned
Quite a lot I might not comprehend.
Forget first impressions.
Explore those obsessions,
Refreshing your art to no end.
It’s odd when I look at a clown,
And see a kind grin as a frown.
A friend seems amused
That my eyes get confused
To the point where an “up” looks like “dn.”
(I refer to a word that reads the same upside down [“dollop”] as a “vertizontal.”)
A FUMER’S REMORSE
He made his addiction debut
Before it became a taboo.
Though only half joking,
He swears he’ll quit smoking
If that’s the last thing he will do.
“Young Fido plays poker,” said Gail.
“Just give him some Alpo with ale.”
He can’t understand.
He gets a good hand
And reveals it by wagging his tail.
—based on cartoon strips using that theme
I'd like to invest in a hound
That sniffs for loose bills on the ground.
A nose for lost cash
Finds treasure in trash.
As of yet, no such dog has been found.
My dog is a gentle old soul,
But sometimes is hard to control.
Today, in the cold,
He sniffed and found gold,
But froze his poor nose to the pole.
My terrier, just like his pa,
Has a beard one might think is his jaw.
Some people have said
That the shape of his head
Bears resemblance to George Bernard Shaw.
My dog has his mental agility.
He still has that same old ability,
But seems to be keying
On things we aren’t seeing.
“Just floaters,” I say, “not senility.”
So tall, and gives birth while she’s standing,
We watch the free-fall 6-foot landing.
A mother giraffe
And her sky-diving calf
Give you pause when your life seems demanding.
(The new-born was 6’4.)
Their caws and effects are askew.
Of more crafty birds, there are few.
Like bored human teens,
By more cunning means,
They pester for something to do.
A ladybug happened to be
A he, when I thought it’s a she.
This “lady,” I’m sure,
Is a male quite secure
To endure the presumptuous me.
CUISINE FOR THE ANTS
The curb seemed a suitable seat
For a pedicure. Bon Appétit.
Quite puzzled, he gazed,
And sat there amazed
As his toenail was crossing the street.
Resorting to bugs in our diets,
The shortage of food will cause riots.
But chocolate on ants?
They serve it in France.
Will Marriotts, Hiltons and Hyatts?
Green thumbs aren’t much use when the pottery
Has cracks that cause leaks much too watery.
With luck, bold beginners
Struck gold as the winners
Of jackpots in old Murphy’s Lottery.
Your lawn has a crew cut, like hair.
The shrubs on your pathway are square.
I'll never plant seeds
In my garden of weeds.
I planned my bad upkeep with care.
Our space junk posed little concern,
With no thought of its random return.
I fear a few setbacks.
Collisions from jetpacks.
Few people on phones ever learn.
New gadgets, and not one suffices.
Wait a year for affordable prices.
Each month, our technology
Stretches our knowledge. We
Aren’t half as bright as devices.
Technology’s awesome ability!
We’re faced with increasing fragility.
One day the great sun
Will be corporate run,
If not owned by a major utility.
We can’t let a moment slip by,
Preserving what’s left of the sky.
We’re nearing the twilight.
Our planet is finite
With time in diminished supply.
There’s climate change, then global warming.
It’s only our planet we’re harming.
Some fiddle through fires
While calling town criers
“Alarmist” when times are alarming.
To victims betrayed and embittered,
Whose morals were never considered,
Not foe, nor a friend,
Nature wins in the end,
Replacing this temple we’ve littered.
A city on raw, empty land,
On desert of sage brush and sand,
Bone dry and Hell hot
On a vast vacant lot,
It wasn’t what nature had “planned.”
MISTAKES WERE MADE
A puzzled young husband named Ben
Did wrong and asked, “What, where and when?”
Delayed in his knowledge, he
Made an apology,
Crying, “I’m sorry AGAIN.”
Admiring song by the crooners,
While sailing along on our schooners,
The oceans, off key,
Are almost in C.
Maybe we have it wrong as the tuners.
In track, he considered it done,
Ahead of the pack on lap one.
The man, self-assured,
Out of three, came in third,
And again, as before, jumped the gun.
The girlfriend of Morton (“Mort”) Tucker
Was stationed at (stuck in) Fort Rucker.
While boarding a copter,
The rotors had chopped her
Hair SHORT. She was one lousy ducker.
In dealing with facts, we’re selective,
And do what we can with perspective,
But truth can be found
When interpreting sound.
To hear perfect pitch is objective.
The knowledge most think they possess
Is less than what some would confess.
We fear what is shown
And revere the unknown.
What’s missing, we can’t hope to guess.
The limit—how far can we go?
Said Joe, “As of yet,
There is no one I’ve met
Who’s aware of how much we don’t know.”
We like what we know: almost nil,
Believing in choice as a will.
Free thinkers are few
And so many things new
Are faced with long journeys uphill.
OFF THE GROUND
Abandoning thought for some feelings,
And seek fly-by-night psychic healings,
Or hope for the stars,
But in buildings and cars
We’ll be hopelessly stuck to the ceilings.
Convinced of the words that we speak,
This defect is far from unique.
While searching half blind,
It’s human to find
The sides of the truths that we seek.
By facing the fear of a fact,
It alters the way one would act.
So many are leaping
To faith without keeping
Their senses in check and intact.
WHAT WOULD JESUS DRIVE?
He traveled by given Accord,
But wouldn’t have driven a Ford.
No pedals, no floorboard,
Nor anything four-doored.
No vehicled anti-war LORD.
God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury.
David’s Triumph was heard throughout the land,
and the apostles were all in one Accord.
Regarding some legends and labels,
“Untruths” should replace the term “fables.”
“…the egg or the hen?”
Which came first? If so, when,
And did navels precede Cain’s and Abel’s?
Don’t greet with farewells or good-byes,
Nor choose an opponent your size.
In response to no question,
One more crazed suggestion:
Don’t sneeze without closing your eyes.
You can't view the print when you're IN it.
Life's meaning—so few seem to pin it.
To live for or with
Superstition and myth?
Well, there's one born again every minute.
Creationist theory is moot.
The “force” chose an alternate route / root.
You’ve seen Darwin’s chart.
You know me by heart—
I’m the white guy up front in a suit.
Now, how does a ghost find the ground,
Climb a staircase, or haunt us with sound,
Cause fear and such loathing,
But always in clothing?
A nude one will never be found.
A word can determine one's fate,
And "I'm sorry" is always too late,
But what's more sublime
Than the right place and time?
We long for that moment and wait.
A school without God? I declare!
How tragic. They don’t have a prayer.
Our King, the divine,
Evolved the “design.”
Agnostics have one cross to bear.
Agnos (of God?)
To some, this might not offer solace,
But nature has never been flawless.
Evolution, my friends,
Has had many dead ends,After all, it created George Wallace.
In the late 1970s, Wallace apologized to black civil rights leaders for his years as a segregationist, stating that while he had once sought power and glory, he realized he needed to seek love and forgiveness. In 1979, he said of his stand in the schoolhouse door: "I was wrong. Those days are over, and they OUGHT to be over."
–Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy by George C. Edwards (Pearson Education, 2009), from Wikipedia
Unfounded beliefs and defiance—
In obedience more than compliance…
Here’s hoping (in vain?)
That faith will soon gain
A greater alliance with science.
"If Galileo had said in VERSE that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone." —Thomas Hardy, novelist and poet (1840-1928)
In this limerick, luck allowed me the opportunity to use eight rhymes in the five lines.
At minster, a mister, a minister,
A spinster, a sister? So sinister!
Disgust only grew
More lust in the two
On a pew with a brew. Yes, he Guinnessed ’er.
I sat in a bar until one,
But my ranting had only begun,
Debating the Gospel,
When someone got hostile.
It taught me, don’t anger a nun.
Some fail to perceive the disgusting.
They're labeled naive to be trusting.
Endangered as prey,
Keep them safely at bay:
The frauds who “believe” in what's rusting.
An angel from out of Peoria
Would fill quite a few auditoria.
She'd set their souls free
But, of course, for a fee.
The healer was named Holy Gloria.
A stop sign won’t halt the debate
At the junction where Church crosses State.
More cars have been wrecked
Where those roads intersect.
“Make laws,” we cry. Heaven can wait.
Regarding eccentric perspectives,
I’m accused of some cryptic objectives.
My co-pilot’s Pontius?
If so, he’s not conscious.
Let’s leave this to verbal detectives.
There once lived a fellow named Evan,
The most hated miser in Devon.
When old in ill health,
He relinquished his wealth
To grease his poor soul into Heaven.
On the slogan, “Be here now,” by Baba Ram Dass (Richard Alpert):
When thinking by mouth or my pen,
I neglect all I know, now and then.
There’s no more ABSURD way
To bliss than by wordplay.
I WAS here now. Well, that was Zen.
Most wordplay is terribly prone
To embarrassment, best left alone,
Or one so surmises.
The pun also RISES.
A cackle replaces the groan.
At poolside I face my demise
In briefs that are not quite my size.
A woman behind
Says she’d rather be blind.
I’m dressed by the rest with their eyes.
(Science rejected my body. I’ll donate it to comedy.)
Performing a dance that was glideless,
She stripped so much off, she was hideless.
Performing in sin,
Her frame was so thin,
She was bottomless, topless, and sideless.
OTHERS BY OTHERS
An anonymous writer came up with this well-known verse.
God’s plan made a hopeful beginning,
But man spoiled his chances by sinning.
We trust that the story
Will end in God’s glory,
But SO far, the other side’s winning.
The two following limericks were written on the idea that things exist only when perceived (The “tree falls in the forest” paradox by Irish philosopher Bishop George Berkeley [ca. 1685-1753]). This first verse was attributed to British writer and classic Greek scholar Monsignor Ronald A(rbuthnott). Knox (1888-1957), probably best known for his detective stories and translation of the Bible. The monsignor was the son of an Anglican Bishop. His brother edited the magazine Punch.
There was a young man who said, “God,
It always has struck me as odd
That the sycamore tree
Simply ceases to be
When there’s no one about in the quad.”
“Dear Sir, Your astonishment’s odd;
I am always about in the quad,
And that’s why the tree
Will continue to be,
Since observed by, Yours Faithfully, God.”
Knox was also credited as the author of this classified ad which ran in the London Times:
“An Anglican curate in want of a secondhand portable font would exchange the same for a portrait (in frame) of the Bishop-elect of Vermont.”
These verses appeared on various Internet sites including “Guernsey’s Limerick Archive Page,” posted by Joe Guerin.
Said Plato: “The things that we feel
Are not ontologically real,
But just the excrescence
Of numinous essence,
Our senses can never reveal.”
When God first brought man to fruition,
He viewed all the scraps with contrition.
He collected the junk
And created the skunk,
Then the snake, then the first politician.
A logger on top of Mt. Hood
Saw a Bigfoot quite near where he stood.
As the creature drew near,
The man froze in fear,
As only the petrified wood.
—Gerry Busch, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada; from the Internet site P.O.E.M.S. (reprinted with permission)
We passed by two filled Motel 8s,
Then with luck, found a place with low rates.
Our one night in Hell
At that roadside motel
Was provided by belle, Norma Bates.
The streetwise, adapting to roles
For surviving their brief dead-end goals—
And histories carry
Such weight on these terminal souls.
He represents ALL, so it seems—
American “values” and dreams.
When challenged, he tenses,
Then dances on fences
And suddenly changes the themes.
A battle won't thicken the skin.
Blow by blow, you must show a strong chin.
Some go to great lengths
Attacking your strengths,
Then you're lost, once achieving the win.
The gaps in our cultures are vast.
Disparity won’t have to last.
From have to have not,
Small raft to big yacht,
This better get better and fast.
Obstruct if you don’t get your way.
Feel proud of your party of “nay.”
Make all the respectable
Stuck with their feet in your clay.
Gridlock is unintentional. Obstruction is deliberate.
With speech and our privacy cursed,
And threats of amendments reversed,
If these get embedded,
We’ll dread where we’re headed.
The Fifth may soon outweigh the First.
Our rights may one day be reversed.
Amendments make up for the worst.
The block chips away.
We’ll dread what we say.
Take the Fifth. No more fourth, nor the First.
(The Fifth Amendment is becoming a privilege, rather than a right.)
Free speech has a price and its place.
Don't define us by language and race.
The toxins you blare,
When exposed to clean air,
Are prone to explode in your face.
From progress to Congress, we cope,
And slide down a slippery slope.
How time slowly passes.
It moves like molasses,
But none can afford losing hope.
It’s easy for some to forget,
Regarding an ethical debt.
Creative with morals,
They rust on their laurels
And tout them without much regret.
This poem basically serves as a summation of the decline of American society in the last thirty-five years as engendered by the corporatocracy and their political lackeys.
With billions refusing to face
The fact that we’re all of one race,
It might be too late.
This matter can’t wait,
Losing time that we’ll never replace.
Once fearing a mass overthrowing,
A man on a horse came heigh-hoing.
The crowd would disperse
When the nut Paul Reverse
Rode in shouting, “The British are GOING!”
The plight of world hunger aside,
There might be more room. Open wide!
They’re stuffing their faces
(Of all the disgraces)
To celebrate national pride.
An epithought need not be heard
When the eyes will express every word,
And given the stage,
The king of the cage
Leaves no slur implied or inferred.
THE FUNDING FATHERS
With force, they're financially nimble,
And our flag needs a needle and thimble.
No patriot cries
When a predator dies,
Unless it's our national symbol.
If tigers move in for attack,
Would we slow to the pace of the pack?
Or circle, protecting
The frail by deflecting
The prey from their aim at the back?
Despite this direction we’re swinging,
We cover our ears and keep singing.
Once Rockwell, now Orwell.
Reality’s door bell
Is ringing and ringing and ringing.
Ability, drive and right timing,
With slow, steady steps, you kept climbing,
Redeemed for that height,
Though it seemed overnight.
May the present be ripe for your priming.
Some wait for that drive, risking never.
To most, it’s an endless endeavor.
Transcending the plane
Of a paper domain,
Once done, you’re the author forever.
With hope that this verse will inspire,
May all of your lines be on fire.
Strong will, when unbound,
Is breaking new ground.
The right word is “drive,” not “desire.”
The verse has a poor expectation,
And hungers for more innovation.If bent on frivolity,
Give it some quality,
Raising its low reputation.
I try to be somewhat discreet
And avoid what we'd hear on the street.
No nefarious memes
On my various themes.
After forty-five reams, I am beat.
Dave Morice provided the line in parentheses.
Before I could finish this verse—
(I was riding along in a hearse.)