Category Archives: poetry

There Once Was a Poor Rhymer Named Gus

There once was a poor rhymer named Gus
Who, on becoming overwhelmed with wickedness and lust,
Entered a house of ill repute
Where he played upon his flute.
As the girls sang, “poetry, ‘tis but dust!”.

Volumes Fill My Room

Volumes fill my room.
A girl’s sweet perfume
May make me smile
For a little while.

Poetry survives, our brief lives.
Whilst the linger of fingers
From the present time,
Are caught in rhyme

I Cut Bread

I cut bread
And momentarily forget.
Then, a smile, tinged with regret.
You are dead.
There will be
No Labrador nose, to deprive me
Of my tea.

The Philosophical Rake

“Shall I
Let life pass me by?
At night
Comes the pleasure of sinning
With women
Of a rather particular kind.

Yet beyond the delight
Of sinning and women
I find
The night
Where love and lust
Are nought but dust.”

Kate’s Date

There once was a traffic warden named Kate
Who decided to go out on a date.
When her date Lyme
Was not on time,
She fined him for being 1 minute late!

Bess’s Confession

When a young lady named Bess
Said, “I must my sins confess!”.
I said, “please cease!
I’m not a priest!
And put back on your dress!”.

Claire and Rose

When a young lady named Claire
Suggested we all have an affair
And she and Rose
Took off their clothes.
I awoke right then and there.

Should Poets Write to be Understood?

Recently, an acquaintance related how her father had given her, and other members of his family a book of poetry he had written. The result? None of the recipients of his gift understood his work.

My acquaintance argues that poets ought to compose poetry their readers are able to comprehend, rather than using obscure metaphors and references to mythology which comparatively few people can understand.

Whilst I agree that poets should not be deliberately obscure, I am of the view that the first duty of a poet is to be true to themselves. It is, undoubtedly odd for poets to deliberately compose obscure poetry (and I am sceptical that many do so). However the fact that a poem or series of poems is difficult to interpret does not imply that the poet deliberately made them so.

One can not converse with the dead. But where one to have this privilege, and where one to be able to ask T. S. Eliot about The Wasteland (which many struggle to interpret), he would, I suspect say that his readers should make an effort to understand his poetry, and that he had to write the poem as he did.

I have not met the father of my acquaintance. But I am in no doubt that he put his heart and soul into his work, and that I for one would feel impertinent where I to say “sir, I don’t understand your work, you should have made it mor comprehensible”.

Seemingly simple poems can be open to interpretation. In my Selected Poems is one entitled Raining. I awoke one morning and, hearing the rain was reminded of mortality. I will die but the rain will continue as it always has.

A reader interpreted the reference to rain as implying sadness and, in particular tears. In fact I love the rain and my poem flowed from a feeling of contentment on my part. We all die but there is continuity and beauty in the eternal rain, and the knowledge of this fills me with joy rather than sorrow.

Ultimately poets must remain true to themselves and not sacrifice their art merely to bough down to the lowest common denominator. I hope that people understand what I write, but I will not change the manner in which I compose my poetry to enhance the understanding of my readers.

As always, I would welcome comments.

Pearl

There once was a young lady named Pearl
Whose reputation made the poor bishop’s hair curl.
I often used to go
To a place called Soho
To enjoy tea and cakes with that girl …

Louise and Her Fleas

There was a young lady named Louise
Who was extremely fond of pet fleas.
Her boyfriend called Hogg
Owned a large dog,
Where Louise kept all her pet fleas!