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Light Verse II

More verse those who don't always take their poetry too seriously

Have you seen Light Verse I? This is even worse

Firstly, for fans of Lord Alfred (or, thinking about it, maybe not) there is CHARGE OF THE LIGHT VERSE BRIGADE. Then comes IS RHYME A CRIME? This was a competition entry. It was entered under what must be a serious contender for the title of most cringeworthy nom-de-plume ever: The Right Hon Guisard Fortue-Voyces. WOMAN, 49, SINGLE ENTENDRE, and GIVING UP compete vigorously for last place.

Light Verse II from Raymond Humphreys


Previously in Roundyhouse.

                                     Half a rhyme, half a rhyme,
                                     half a rhyme onward,
                                     into the World of Words,
                                     we noble six blundered.
                                     'Go, the Light Verse Brigade!
                                     Make for the puns!' we said.
                                     Into the World of Words
                                     we noble six blundered.

                                     'Go the Light Verse Brigade!'
                                     Was there just one amaz'd
                                     now that the poets knew
                                     Tennyson had been plundered?
                                     Ours not to sit and sigh;
                                     ours not to sob and cry;
                                     ours but to do - just try.
                                     Into the World of Words,
                                     we noble six blundered.

                                     Prosody to right of us;
                                     prosody to left of us;
                                     prosody behind us;
                                     rare metre thundered.
                                     We were rondeau'd with fine rondel;
                                     sonnetted with villanelle -
                                     but we just rhymed like Hell.

                                     Into the World of Words,
                                     shouting our doggerel
                                     we noble six blundered.

                                     Flash'd all our wits so rare;
                                     rhyming rhymes they wouldn't dare;
                                     ignoring rules without a care;
                                     we versified so barmy.

                                     Desperate to make our jokes;
                                     right through the lines we broke.
                                     Ted Hughes and Larkin
                                     reeled from our master strokes,
                                     shatter'd and sunder'd.
                                     Then we sat back, yes,
                                     we gallant wordmongers.

                                     Prosody to right of us;
                                     prosody to left of us;
                                     prosody behind us;
                                     rare metre thundered.

                                     We were rondeau'd with fine rondel;
                                     sonnetted with villanelle.
                                     We that had rhymed so well
                                     were lost in the World of Words,
                                     with our charming doggerel.
                                     Just one now was left of us,
                                     left of wordmongers.

                                     When will our glory fade?
                                     O, the wild mess we made!
                                     And all the world wondered.
                                     Wondered at the charge we made;
                                     wondered at the Light Verse Brigade;
                                     as we noble six blundered.


For two voices.

                                     What is your name?

                                     My name is Mary Terkle.

                                     Now tell me your game.

                                     I'm Chairman of our Writers' Circle.

                                     Where were you on Friday last?

                                  Defendant (sing-songily):
                                     Where I've been most Fridays past:
                                     In a writers' workshop, busy writing.
                                     I always find it so exciting.

                                     Would you like to read your work?

                                  Defendant (To Audience):
                                     That's a task I never shirk.
                                     We are of the Writers' Circle:
                                     Vera, John, and Mary Terkle.
                                     We like to make our poems rhyme;
                                     we like to do that all the time.
                                     Our favourite is the rhyméd couplet;
                                     we're trying hard to find a rhyme for THET-

                                     Stop! I've heard enough,
                                     of untruth, and this rhyming stuff.
                                     I know your name's not Mary Terkle:
                                     you just had to find a rhyme for circle.
                                     your name's June Moon, with a murky past...

                                     Oh my goodness! Found out at last!

                                     You may as well confess it all
                                     or else you'll never leave this hall.

                                     It's true: I'm guilty of the terrible crime
                                     of sacrificing poetry on the high altar of rhyme.

                                     Now, leave the stand in humiliation.

                                  Defendant (Murmuring):
                                     Please take nine hundred other rhymes into consideration.


                                  Woman, 49
                                  Seeks partner.
                                  Unattached. Own house.
                                  Curvy. Likes dancing.
                                  Serious minded and socially aware.
                                  Enjoys sun and travel.
                                  Reply Ladybelle.

                                  Man, 52
                                  Seeks lady for mutually beneficial relationship.
                                  GSOH and sociable.
                                  Carefree and happy-go-lucky outlook.
                                  Enjoys sun and travel.
                                  Reply Fun man.

                                  Woman, 58
                                  Seeks anybody.
                                  Going through bitter divorce; property dispute.
                                  Too fat to dance these days.
                                  Vinegary busybody.
                                  Can't afford holiday. Will you pay?
                                  Where are all the men?

                                  Man, 60
                                  Seeks anybody
                                  (as relief from inconvenient wife).
                                  Laughs at own jokes. Drinks too much.
                                  Careless about excessive flatulence.
                                  Gets paralytic in Spanish bars.
                                  Where are all the women?


                                  It happened at the upstairs hardware counter.
                                  'Excuse me,' she said. 'Can you help?
                                  I'm looking for something that goes like this.'
                                  Did she really do that with her hands?
                                  'You look like a handyman.'
                                  No I'm not.
                                  'It's not easy when you haven't got a man
                                  to do these things for you.'
                                  I'll bet it's not.
                                  'Like that thing there I want, only much bigger.'
                                  Bigger? Jesus Christ.
                                  'One of those screw things I'm looking for;
                                  YOU know what I mean.'
                                  I tried to mumble something about Homebase
                                  and then I went downstairs.


                                  I've got to give up;
                                  I'm sounding like my mother's leaky washing machine;
                                  looking like last week's washing.

                                  They say if you have your first
                                  later and later in the day, it helps.
                                  But soon I'd be smoking all forty after tea;
                                  by Christmas I'll be smoking in my sleep.

                                  Cheroots might be an idea.
                                  But they make your fingers go brown.
                                  And the ceiling.
                                  And your teeth.
                                  And your nose.

                                  I could try roll-ups?
                                  But there's the Rizla.
                                  And the tin.
                                  And the tobacco-strands that get in your hair.
                                  And those sorrowful looks you get from the girls;
                                  as if you've picked up dog-ends from the gutter.

                                  A pipe?
                                  But think of the company:
                                  Old King Cole, Popeye, Josef Stalin.
                                  And those art-student types,
                                  who like to talk about Balkan Sobranie.
                                  They might think I was one of them.

                                  Gauloises and Gitanes?
                                  Now, there's an idea.
                                  You don't need as many of them.
                                  And smoking them makes you look really cool.
                                  Pity they taste like shit.

                                  No, I just think I'll give up
                                  giving up.

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