It’s National Poetry Month, which I almost always forget about until it’s almost over. SM’s the poetry expert here, with an MFA in poeting, but I’ve got a Master’s in English and a deep-seated and ferocious love of good poetry. Many is the intense conversation we’ve had about how to interpret “The Waste Land,” or how our heads exploded at the last line of “Archaic Torso of Apollo.” We even have inside jokes about things like Inner Resources. I actually don’t know Kate’s feelings on poetry, but she is an overeducated dorko too so I have to assume they are positive. This is a poem-friendly space is what I’m saying.
But there are way too many amazing, amazing poems and way too much copyright trolling on the internet for me to post every poem I want you guys to read. Instead, I’d like to mine the rich vein of doggerel that runs through this community, particularly from champion poetasters like A Sarah and MissPrism. Nothing makes me happier than when a bit of rhyme shows up in the comments, so consider this a challenge to produce some deathless lyric, or at very least some silly stanzas, on the subject of dieting or body image or something completely unrelated to this blog. Need some inspiration? Check out Miss Conduct’s clerihew contest from last year (I got third place!) or our very own haiku Friday Fluff. Not a versifier? That’s okay — it’s still National Blank Verse Blog Week, so give us your best unrhymed shot.
To start you off, here is the great Ogden Nash with “Curl Up and Diet.” We wouldn’t have written it — a little too much thin-bashing — but the man is a towering versemaster if not an ahead-of-his-time paragon of feminist body-positivity.
Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much,
But all ladies think that they weigh too much.
They may be as slender as a sylph or a dryad,
But just let them get on the scales and they embark on a doleful jeremiad:
No matter how low the figure the needle happens to touch,
They always claim it is at least five pounds to much;
To the world she may appear slinky and feline,
But she inspects herself in the mirror and cries, Oh, I look like a sea lion.
Yes, she tells you she is growing into the shape of a sea cow or manatee,
And if you say No, my dear, she says you are just lying to make her feel better, and if you say Yes, my dear, you injure her vanity.
Once upon a time there was a girl more beautiful and witty and charming than tongue can tell,
And she is now a dangerous raving maniac in a padded cell,
And the first indication her friends and relatives had that she was mentally overwrought
Was one day when she said, I weigh a hundred and twenty-seven, which is exactly what I ought.
Oh, often I am haunted
By the thought that somebody might someday discover a diet that would let ladies reduce just as much as they wanted,
Because I wonder if there is a woman in the world strong-minded enough to shed ten pounds or twenty,
And say There now, that’s plenty;
And I fear me one ten-pound loss would only arouse the craving for another,
So it wouldn’t do any good for ladies to get their ambition and look like somebody’s fourteen-year-old brother,
Because, having accomplished this with ease,
They would next want to look like somebody’s fourteen-year-old brother in the final stages of some obscure disease,
And the more success you have the more you want to get of it,
So then their goal would be to look like somebody’s fourteen-year-old brother’s ghost, or rather not the ghost itself, which is fairly solid, but a silhouette of it,
So I think it is very nice for ladies to be lithe and lissome.
But not so much so that you cut yourself if you happen to embrace or kissome.