by Paul Burgess […a poem on the tendency to treat symptoms rather can causes and to escape pain rather than deal with it]
One day while walking through the nearby hills,
I came across a lady selling pills.
She said to take her tablets twice a day,
And troubles would all start to melt away.
The pills provided such a soaring high
That I returned to buy a new supply.
But where she’d been I heard no human sound,
And nothing of that lady was there found.
Along with waves of troubles flooding back,
I count among my woes those pills I lack.
I visited an eerie old place
Where men all had masks on their face.
They appeared to smile,
But the masks did beguile
By concealing their owners’ disgrace.
“Of Men and Chicken”[An Innocent Limerick about a ‘Cocky’ Man;)]
A man who resides by the docks
Has become so enamored of cocks
That he’s tossed into fens
All his chicks and his hens
To ensure he’ll be alone with the cocks.
“Headhunter-new genre:Horror Limerick!”
I met once a man from the Alps
Who kept a collection of scalps.
Afraid as I fled,
I shielded my head
And escaped from that man of the Alps.
“A Large and Furry Cat”
The was once a girl with a cat
That was so incredibly fat
That, when it would purr,
Its jiggling fur
Would take up the whole of her flat
“Karl Marx Writes a Limerick”
There’s a man whose estate so immense
Is protected by guards and a fence,
Which ensure that the poor
Will not come to his door
To request that he spare a few cents.
“On the Relation of Pleasant Past Memories to Present and Future” 1st Version: Clinging to a ‘better’ past state fills the present with unsatisfied desire that we experience as suffering; the present becomes the time in which we mourn the passing of a better time and dream of a future in which that ‘better state’, experienced in the past, will be re-attained. [Ghosts of past joy become present misery that will lead to future misery because one will continually experience the present as the time in which better days have passed and better days are hoped for. The present is transformed into memory-induced suffering. People spend much of the present mourning that which has passed and that which might not come; anxieties ruining the “now” often relate to obsessive desire to recover past joy and fear that such recovery will not be achieved. ]* As long as we experience the present in this way, we condemn ourselves to lives made of present moments in which we mourn the past and anticipate the future.
I think I could compress everything above into the following two sentences:
2nd version: Clinging to a ‘better’ past state fills the present with unsatisfied desire that we experience as suffering; the present becomes the time in which we mourn the passing of a better time and dream of a future in which that ‘better state’, experienced in the past, will be re-attained. As long as we experience the present in this way, we condemn ourselves to lives made of present moments in which we mourn the past and anticipate the future.
I would appreciate constructive feedback regarding the comparative effectiveness of the two versions. Believing that concision is the best policy, I prefer the second version.
As William Baer notes, a clerihew “consists of two couplets (aabb) where the first line of the poem is generally the name of a famous person; the second line is some kind of outrageous predicate; and the final two lines often call up some historical fact or fantasy about the subject” (Writing Metrical Poetry 186).
Here is a sample from Edward Clerihew Bentley, the form’s inventor: “George the Third/Ought never to have occurred./One can only wonder/At so grotesque a blunder.”
The following clerihew is the first one I have attempted to write: