What is your perception of poetry? Maybe to some people it is this stuffy closeted medium in which deep thinkers put together meaningful words in rigid styles. Maybe to some, this is off-putting…but wait a moment…
Poetry can take many forms, one of these forms can be the double combination of poetry and wit.
It takes a special talent. To melt the two together Wit can be used as a weapon to attack and mock the establishment, think of Oscar Wilde attacking the stuffy society in which he lived. Poetry can be funny but at the same time carry a serious message.
It can be used to take the sting out of a dark situation, obviously in the present moment we have the shadow of the Corona Virus. With the anthology “Together Behind Four Walls” which is still going through the process of being compiled, there are some very witty poems. Perhaps one of the skills of a funny poet, is to turn a mundane subject, into a funny subject. Neil Zetter subjects include clearing out a garden shed and social distancing and manages to whip up humour. Professor Elemental manages to find humour in “homes schooling” with his poem “The Difficulties of Homeschooling an Orangutan”
Poetry can be used as a way to make children laugh and entice them to enjoy reading. I must have read endless times the poems of Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel. Accompanied by his wacky poems were equally creative illustrations. Some poets have the magical quality of creating a special unusual world for children to delve into.
Somebody who seemed to have a really great understanding of a child’s mind is Roald Dahl. His work encompassed darkness with humour, take his poem “The Three Little Pigs,” the poem feeds off two well known children’s stories Three little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. The poem ends up with Little Red Riding Hood being the villain of the piece, as she shoots the wolf and kills the pig so she can have a pig skin travelling case. Roald Dahl even reworks the story of Cinderella, giving it his treatment, making it sinister and dark.
Ogden Nash was an Americn humorist poet who was very prolific; writing over 500 poems. An example of his work is “The People upstairs” It starts off
The people upstairs all practise ballet
Their living room is a bowling alley
Their bedroom is full of conducted tours.
Their radio is louder than yours,
I don’t know about you, but I have experienced some annoying neighbours, while living in Paris, in an old apartment, on the one hand we had the noise from a jazz club, which was most pleasant, where as the sound of the neighbours was as annoying as a wasp at a picnic.
If you are feeling melancholic, go and search for some witty poetry, it might put a different complexion on the world.
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