Last Thursday was “Poem in Your Pocket Day”.
It’s potentially a cute idea: Walk around all day with your favorite poem in your pocket. Then, share that poem with people throughout the day.
Wellllll….my first problem was that I misheard the celebration as “Poet in Your Pocket Day.” I visualized cramming Maya Angelou in the pocket of my brown tweed jacket (my “author” jacket) and felt that neither she nor I would be well served by the experience.
When I got that straightened out, I began wondering about just how many times I would be able to use the phrase, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” without getting slapped in the face.
As I cast about looking for a poem to carry around (I picked “Jabberwocky”), it occurred to me that there isn’t a lot of funny poetry.
If you think about it, most classical poetry is pretty grim stuff--all about Love and Death, the Death of Love and the Death of One’s Love. Donne, Shelley, Keats--none of these are likely to tickle one’s funny bone.
Even so-called “Light Verse” isn’t particularly funny. The poetry of Edgar A. Guest and Company usually the covers the same material as the Classical Poets--only with one-third fewer calories.
For the most part, even the wittiest of the so-called funny poets aren’t laugh out loud funny. Lewis Carroll, Shel Silverstein and even Doctor Seuss are mostly whimsical. (I suffered from whimsy for years until I stopped eating radishes.)
I don’t know enough about modern poetry to draw many conclusions about it. It does seem to be more of the same, though.
(Oh, I also contend that free verse is CHEATING!!! I see a bunch of poets sitting around whining “Rhyming is too haaaard! Why does it have to rhyyyyme?”
Because it’s a POEM, that’s why! You bunch of big babies!!!)
In any case, there is one notable exception to my assertion that there are no funny poems--and several of you have already started composing emails to point it out:
Yes, limericks are funny. Or at any rate they can be funny. The best of them are clever AND funny, like a well told joke. This is first one I remember:
There once was a lady from Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside
And the smile on the face of the tiger.
Limericks can even be educational:
There once was a lady named Bright
Whose speed was far faster than light.
She departed one day
In a relative way,
And returned on the previous night.
For a while, we amused ourselves with meta-limericks:
There once was a man from Peru
Whose limerick ended line two.
Which was followed by:
There once was a man from Verdonne
But the original format is best, I think.
With that in mind, it’s time for the first ever Awkward Silence CONTEST:
I’m going to provide the first line of three limericks. You guys write the rest. Post your results as comments, and whoever’s limerick is the best will win a PRIZE worth virtually nothing at all, and bragging rights for all the world to see.
Contest rules: None to speak of. Friends and relations of the Awkward Silence’s Fearless Leader are encouraged to enter, as are total strangers and sworn blood-enemies.
Multiple entries are encouraged. (wink)
Entries must be timestamped by 11:59 pm on May 31. Try to keep the limericks relatively clean. Winner will be selected by Fearless Leader--arm twisting and lobbying are encouraged.
Sound good? Here we go:
1) A small boy confined to his room
2) The latest computer software
3) The Lone Ranger riding on Silver