baskerville: Black dog head facing left on a background of fiery red (Hellhound red)

Young Baskerville's foray into meta-poetry or satire or something. (© 1999)


by Herm Baskerville, 1999

Settle down, class, please. The lesson has begun.

The poems we will be dissecting today will look
Like this one. The poems we have in school
Have been pre-killed to avoid distress, and are preserved
In formaldehyde. And if anyone feels faint at the sight
Of alliteration, you may go outside.

You can get the necessary instruments from the tray
At the front. You need one poem, one white tile,
One scalpel. It doesn't matter if, like this one, it is a little blunt.

Let us make a start. We haven't much time, so I suggest
That we go immediately for the heart of the poem.
Watch, and make a small incision here, between
Verses three and four: just there will do.
Yes, that's fine; try to make the cut as neat as mine.
And try to keep the punctuation
On the white tile, and not on the floor.

Pay attention, please. Notice the neat form of the simile,
Just peeping out from behind the extended metaphor.
Here we have the colon, and further down,
The semi colon. Can anybody guess
What this is? Yes, it is an internal rhyme.
And here is the inner or hidden meaning, visible
If we just hack our way through the outer meaning.

Oh, there's the bell.
Quickly put everything away. Just tip the pieces
Into the bin. If you haven't had the chance
To open up your heart, it doesn't matter.

Terry Pratchett said he liked this. So did my English teacher, but let's keep the credit to the one who inspired my love of writing rather than teaching a curriculum optimised to suck the life and colour out of it.

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baskerville: Black dog head facing left on a background of fiery red (Default)

The work email poet-pirate strikes again…

Context needed. Someone in Religion sent around a blank-verse invitation to come pub crawling for his leaving do, mentioning bars called Odder and Long Legs. (Jabez Clegg is another bar along Oxford Road.) I'm still on holiday leave on the date in question, so:

Pub Crawl RSVP

With deep regrets, etcetera,
To turn down such a lyric lure
I find myself away that day
Upon a quest obscure;

For secretary's siren song
Informs me I have leave to burn
And must essay some holiday
Or lose it, in my turn.

So raise a glass for absent Herms
And happy quaffing, one and all:
Be odd, be clegg, be long of leg -
The better pubs to crawl.

(Oh, and I'm well aware the last line can be interpreted in more than one way. "To crawl the better [of the] pubs" or "The better to crawl pubs".)

That takes me to 26 poems, half my target for this year (52). I'm quite happy with that, especially because I've also started digi-painting again in the meantime, which I hadn't expected to do.

I may even bubble up with some more poetry before the year's out, if all my creative juice isn't spent on paintings and writing the Twine Wars opening.

edit: A few people have emailed me back with things like "Brilliant!", "You really are very good at writing poetry. Have you written a lot? Have you published anything? I'm properly impressed…", "I loved your poem back to [colleague] – good work!" and "Bravo!" Fun to get compliments and hopefully give other people a chuckle out of their afternoons. *danceydancey*

edit2: reply from sender:
"Its bad form to send a reply so witty
It make the author of the invite feel rather shitty"
Awwwwww… haha. (Don't worry – he didn't mind really.)

View the original post at Black Dog Blog


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