Light Verse I

For those who don't always take their poetry too seriously.

The verses on this page are LIGHT VERSE, the centrepiece of a feature that appeared in the issue of Roundyhouse, Summer, 2003. This is reproduced in full. I should warn you that the poem and feature set the scene for this page, so get ready to click away with the mouse button. Then we have MYFANWY IN THE PLEASURE DOME. This is largely historically (though not emotionally) true, although I don't mention Myfanwy's (female) companion. So don't send in the counsellors. The night in question took place in Pwllheli as long ago as the week before the Saturday night in July 1969 before someone or other took 'one giant step for Mankind' on the Moon. I can't remember his name for the moment but Myfanwy was from Barry. She's probably a grandmother by now. Newly-added in December, 2009 is a series of HUMPTY NURSERY RHYMES. Think of them as a tribute to the BBC's brilliant idea to bring nursery rhymes into the twenty-first century.

This page USED TO contain four more poems of similar doubtful ilk. CHARGE OF THE LIGHT VERSE BRIGADE; FRED FASTBUCK'S SCHOOL OF WRITING; GOTHIC ROMANCE; and IS RHYME A CRIME? will now be found those on Light Verse II

Have you met my brother?


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LIGHT VERSE

The poem that follows might have been inspired by Arthur Dee Darke. Or it may have been an idea by Stanley Rubic (he of the strange films about Cubism) that brought it into its doubtful life. It could even have been engendered by some nightmare about space travel that Luke Warmer had one fretful night. Myself, I'm inclined to think it was brought on by an undercooked piece of beef or a soggy suet pudding - just like the one that sent Ebenezer Scrooge screaming into his local Woolies to gobble up all the Christmas decorations early one October, back in the nineteenth century.

What's that? I'm supposed to tell the truth? An unfamiliar concept, indeed. The prosaic fact is that this was an entry for a competition at Bridgend Writers' a few years ago. That it was disqualified on some flimsy pretext (something about rules, whatever they are, as I remember) is besides the point. I was suitably crushed and heartbroken for about three seconds - maybe a bit longer because there was a 50p entry fee involved - and then I promptly forgot about it.

Until now, that was. I dug it out and revised it for this piece. I say 'revised it' but that might be stretching a point more than somewhat - all I did was make the '1997' into '2002' and change the ending into something ruder. Before all eyes automatically flip down (oops, too late) I'd better quote the poem:

2002: A Space Fantasy

                              You know my dear, I like your face,
                              so let us fly off into space,
                              and cruise among the distant stars
                              until we come to Planet Mars.

                              This would be a special mission,
                              needing woolly hats and nuclear fission.
                              To pass the time we'd tell tall stories
                              of dragons, elves and old Welsh Tories.

                              Now, when we step on Martian sand,
                              I think you'd better hold my hand,
                              because they say the people there
                              have three big eyes and purple hair.

                              Although we might think they're a fright,
                              we wouldn't stare, we'd be polite:
                              we'd walk up to the one called Freda
                              and say: 'Please take us to your Leader'.

                              She'd take us to a glittering palace
                              where lived the King with his Auntie Alice.
                              Just think how splendid it would be
                              if the King said: 'Won't you stay for tea?'

                              Singing beans with talking fish
                              I'm sure would be our favourite dish,
                              though it's hard to eat with too much zeal
                              when you have to listen to your meal.

                              Although we wouldn't want a fuss
                              the Royal Band would play for us.
                              It would be a night of fun and frolic
                              until the wine gave us the colic.

                              But when the Band began to fight,
                              we'd know it's time to say good night
                              And so we'd climb the shimmering stair
                              to do whatever we'd do there...

                              ...Alas my dear, it's just a dream,
                              but, tell you what, I have a scheme;
                              so slip your hand inside my pocket,
                              and quickly help me build a rocket.

'Poem' might be claiming a bit too much for it, but you get the idea. Still, the plain fact is that poets usually take themselves and their poems far too seriously. This certainly includes me a lot of the time. Some of my poems would have you trying out the gas cooker for headwear. So, light verse can make a pleasant change from all these dark, tortured words. This is where the rhymd couplet for all its followers (and I know you are out there. You can't fool me by putting those plastic buckets over your heads) really comes into its own.

If you think that this poem and its introduction is just bizarre and deranged, that's all right, too. Humour is a personal thing after all. Anyway, I really wrote it for my entertainment, not yours. And it did me a power of good.


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MYFANWY IN THE PLEASURE DOME

                              In the sixties pleasure dome,
                              I chanced to find you all alone,
                              sweet and pure and fair of face,
                              in the land where Redcoats pace.

                              Your cabin door was next to mine
                              but still I thought to bide my time.
                              for gentle courtship wins the day:
                              that's what I heard my mother say.

                              Then in the night my hopes were blighted:
                              a low male voice became excited.
                              Then came the sounds of laugh and caper
                              through cabin walls as thin as paper.

                              My chance of sleep that night was shattered.
                              But it wasn't that that really mattered;
                              what left my heart red bleeding raw
                              was the used French Letter by your door.


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Humpty Nursery Rhymes

I
Humpty-Dumpty sat on the wall;
Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.
But there was no need to panic when
they super-glued Humpty together again.

I
Jack and Jill went up the hill
to fetch a pail of water.
Jill was on the pill and so
they wouldn't have a daughter.

III
Wee Willie Winkie
runs through the town
in his striped pyjamas,
upstairs and down,
banging on the windows,
crying through the locks.
Has he had his medication?
It's past eight o'clock.

IV
Tony Blairy, very lairy,
how does your fortune grow?
Why, with dollar bills and slippery skills
and Euro seats all in a row.

V
Margaret Forster went to Worcester
in a shower of rain.
She stepped in a puddle
right up to her middle.
Let's sue the bloody Highways Authority again!

Light Verse II
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