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Thread: Poem about english poetry

  1. #1

    Poem about english poetry

    This is a brief description of the history of english poetry I found. Just had to share it. So what do you think. Is poetry "safely tucked in for the night"?

    The Oxford Hysteria of English Poetry

    Back in the caveman days business was fair.
    Used to turn up at Wookey Hole,
    Plenty of action down the Hole
    Nights when it wasn't raided.
    They'd see my bear-gut harp
    And the mess at the back of my eyes
    And 'Right', they'd say, 'make poetry'.
    So I'd slam away at the three basic chords
    And go into the act ---
    A story about sabre-toothed tigers with a comic hero;
    A sexy one with an anti-wife-clubbing twist ---
    Good progressive stuff mainly,
    Get ready for the Bronze Age, all that,
    And soon it would be 'Bring out the woad!'
    Yeah, woad. We used to get high on woad.

    The Vikings only wanted sagas
    Full of gigantic deadheads cutting off each other's vitals
    Or Beowulf Versus the Bog People.
    The Romans weren't much better,
    Under all that armour you could tell they were soft
    With their central heating
    And poets with names like Horace.

    Under the Normans the language began to clear,
    Became a pleasure to write in,
    Yes, write in, by now everyone was starting
    To write down poems.

    Well, it saved memorizing and improvizing
    And the peasants couldn't get hold of it.
    Soon there were hundreds of us,
    Most of us writing under the name
    Of Geoffrey Chaucer.

    Then suddenly we were knee-deep in sonnets.
    Holinshed ran a headline:
    BONANZA FOR BARDS.

    It got fantastic ---
    Looning around from the bear-pit te tho Globe,
    All those freak-outs down the Mermaid,
    Kit Marlowe coming on like Richard the Two,
    A virgin queen in a ginger wig
    And English poetry is full whatsit ---
    Bloody fantastic, but I never found any time
    To do any writing till Willy finally flipped ---
    Smoking too much of the special stuff
    Sir Walter Raleigh was pushing.

    Cromwell's time I spent on cultural committees.

    Then Charles the Second swung down from the trees
    And it was sexual medley time
    And the only verses they wanted
    Were epigrams an Chloe's breasts
    But I only got published on the back of her left knee-cap.
    Next came Pope and Dryden
    So I went underground.
    Don't mess with the Mafia.

    Then suddenly --- WOOMF ---
    It was the Ro-man-tic Re-viv-al
    And it didn't matter how you wrote,
    All the public wanted was a hairy great image.
    Before they'd even print you
    You had to smoke opium, die of consumption,
    Fall in love with your sister
    Or drown in the Mediterranean (not at Brighton).
    My publisher said: 'I'll have to remainder you
    Unless you go and live in a lake or something
    Like this bloke Wordsworth'.

    After that there were about
    A thousand years of Tennyson
    Who got so bored with himself
    That he changed his name
    To Kipling at half-time.

    Strange that Tennyson should be
    Remembered for his poems really,
    We always thought of him
    As a golfer.

    There hasn't been much time
    For poetry since the 'twenties
    What with leaving the Communist Church
    To join the Catholic Party
    And explaining why in the C.I.A. Monthly.
    Finally I was given the Chair of Comparative Ambiguity
    At Armpit University, Java.
    It didn't keep me busy,
    But it kept me quiet.
    It seemed like poetry had been safely tucked up for the
    night.

    -- Adrian Mitchell
    "Man was made for joy and woe;
    And when this we rightly know
    Through the world we safely go" Blake

  2. #2
    Only if you close your eyes to it..there is a lot of great poetry around - and this site proves it.

  3. #3
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    Only just seen this. I quite like this poem, though I am intrigued by what it has left out. Let me start with Edmund Spenser. His epic The Fairie Queene created a new kind of poetry in England, and it could be argued that without him, there would never have been Paradise Lost or The Prelude. Which brings me to Milton. How can you write a history of English poetry in verse, and forget about the great man? Then there is Thomas Gray and Thomas Chatterton. Both inspired the Romantics and were an important transition in English poetry.

    English poetry of the 20th century is also poorly represented. TS Eliot, WH Auden and Philip Larkin are poets that I would say belong in any history of English poetry, as do the great poets of the second decade of the 20C such as Wilfrid Owen and Rupert Brooke.

    Otherwise I like it.

    AP
    Faith is believing what you know ain't so - Mark Twain

    The preachers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves - Henry David Thoreau

    The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason - Benjamin Franklin

    The teaching of the church, theoretically astute, is a lie in practice and a compound of vulgar superstitions and sorcery - Leo Tolstoy

  4. #4
    How humorous, Isagel! Even though the poem focused mainly on Western poetry, neglecting great, influential poets like Rumi, and that the work left out some of the latter epics like those by Dante Alighieri and John Milton, I had the greatest amusement. And how true, AP, that the writer forgot all of the great modern poets: T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, D.H. Lawrence, to name a few.
    Here seems my favorite era of poetry (quoted), and I would expect that the writer's comment would entail the following drug use, incest, and drowning, which included Coleridge, Poe, and Shelley, among others. This I found the most funny:

    Quote Originally Posted by Isagel
    Then suddenly --- WOOMF ---
    It was the Ro-man-tic Re-viv-al
    And it didn't matter how you wrote,
    All the public wanted was a hairy great image.
    Before they'd even print you
    You had to smoke opium, die of consumption,
    Fall in love with your sister
    Or drown in the Mediterranean (not at Brighton).
    My publisher said: 'I'll have to remainder you
    Unless you go and live in a lake or something
    Like this bloke Wordsworth'.

  5. #5

    Smile

    "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles.

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