Today’s Poems

September 14, 2014
Gavin_EwartGavin Ewart, 1916-1995

The Black Box

As well as these poor poems
I am writing some wonderful ones.
They are all being filed separately,
nobody sees them.
When I die they will be buried
in a big black tin box.
In fifty years’ time
they must be dug up,
for so my will provides.
This is to confound the critics
and teach everybody
a valuable lesson.
 

‘It’s Hard to Dislike Ewart’

—New Review critic

I always try to dislike my poets,
it’s  good for them, they get so uppity otherwise,
going around thinking they’re little geniuses—
but sometimes I find it hard. They’re so pathetic
in their efforts to be liked.
When we’re all out walking on the cliffs
it’s always pulling my coat with ‘Sir! Oh, Sir!’
and ‘May I walk with you, Sir?’—
I sort them out harshly with my stick.
If I push a few over the edge, that only
encourages the others. In the places of preferment
there is room for just so many.
The rest must simply lump it.
There’s too much sucking up and trying to be clever.
They must all learn they’ll never get round me
Merit has nothing to do with it. There’s no way
to pull the wool over my eyes, no way,
no way . . .
 
By Gavin Ewart
—The Oxford Book of Comic Verse
Edited by John Gross

Light Verse?

July 6, 2014

43:bros

I’ve been going through what seems like a ton of old letters, plus the drafts of my replies; the idea being to get rid of most of that stuff so my kids and/or grandkids won’t have to deal with it when—as the saying goes— “the time comes.”  During this recent purge, I came across a scrawled attempt at comic verse that I had mailed to my younger brother some years ago in Virginia for his 69th birthday. Here it is:

 Ernie

A man named Ernie

Lived by the tracks,

Ate little kids

Instead of snacks.

He was so mean

It was often said,

He’d never die

Just stay in bed.

He lived so long

(In the hundred-threes),

Then he finally did go

With brand new knees!

I know it sounds a bit like one of those “Burma Shave” series of “poetry” signs on the side of the road that I used to love to read as I whizzed past. His 75th birthday is coming up later this month and I’ll call him, as usual, and I plan to recite the verse to Ernie when I do.  This year, I want to see if he remembers it, and if he does, I’ll ask him to remind me what he thinks of it. I have the feeling I’ll have to once again justify myself by saying, “Hey, it’s the thought that counts.”

Copyright © 2014, Jim Sizemore.