top of page

Light Verse I

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

     Leading off this page is LIGHT VERSE, the centrepiece of a feature that appeared in the issue of Roundyhouse magazine for 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. Then we have SUPERMAN RETURNS and ANY EXCUSE FOR AN OLD JOKE.

     If you're horribly fascinated by this, there's more of it on Light Verse II

Light Verse I from Raymond Humphreys

              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:


                              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 rhymèd 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.


                              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.


                              How would you like to:
                              leap tall buildings at a single bound?
                              Fly faster than the speed of sound?
                              Make life hard for any thief
                              as you catch their bullets in your teeth?
                              These things you'll do
                              when Superman returns!

                              How would you like to:
                              become mild-mannered Clark Kent
                              and throw Baddies off the scent
                              with just a suit and pair of glasses?
                              (they must all be really arses).
                              There will be no clue
                              when Superman returns!

                              How would you like to:
                              put your pants on inside-out
                              as in the telephone box you turn about?
                              Feel free to lech the opposite sex
                              without the tetch of X-ray specs?
                              The things you'll view
                              when Superman returns!

                              How would you like to:
                              alliterate with Lana Lang or Lois Lane?
                              (Lex Luthor is neither bird nor plane).
                              O! The joys they will feel
                              from that instrument of steel.
                              Their dreams will come true
                              when Superman returns!

                              How would you like to:
                              know Washington glamour?
                              Sing the Star-spangled Banner?
                              Wave Smallville Old Glories?
                              Hear the ultimate in fairy stories?
                              It's sure to be your due
                              when Superman returns!

                              How would you like to:
                              learn Justice, Truth and the American Way?
                              Believe all the things we say?
                              Shoot those Lefties in the head?
                              (Better dead than badly led).
                              The things you'll do
                              when Superman returns!

George Stevens tells The Greatest Story Ever Told

                              This is the how the Hollywood mill
                              went in search of Golgotha's story,
                              or at least they took it to a California Hill
                              and filmed with reverence and glory.

                              With dollars by the million
                              and extras by the score
                              Director George would make a billion.
                              Who could ask for more?

                              But the highlight of this dream
                              was the centurion called Wayne
                              who'd steal the final scene
                              with words of everlasting fame.

                              So came the last day's action,
                              under a darkling sky
                              (courtesy of effects-men
                              if you want the how and why).

                              The Roman soldiers diced
                              for the Holy Robe of Christ.
                              Big John gazed up
                              and, when Georgie gave the nod,
                              said, 'Truly, this was the Son of God.'

                              But Georgie said, 'No, John. Say it with more awe.
                              We must think of the public paying at the door
                              So John tried all the harder, thinking it was odd
                              and said, 'Aw, truly, this was the Son of God.'

bottom of page