15 June 2006

Light Verse - frivolous or worthwhile?

Read: The Awakened Heart, Gerald May
Listened to: a bit of Beethoven's 7th Symphony (through the phone, while talking to my parents who were listening to it on the radio)

Tony Crafter posted this pair of poems (the second an anagram of the first) to the Anagrammy Forum (one of my favorite haunts) today:

Asterisks and Ampersands

An author owned an *
And kept it in his den,
Where he wrote tales, which had large sales,
Of erring maids and men;
And every time he breached the point
Where stuffy censors lurk,
He called upon that * to do his dirty work!


I hate the wretched ampers&
It's rude, rash, stark & underh&
Oh how annoying when you scan
An ampers& instead of 'and'!
If I were king of all the l&
I'd decree to have it b&,
Or well & truly choked in s&,
Then drowned - the hated ampers&!

I was in the mood for light verse anyway, so I really enjoyed it. I had just bought The New Oxford Book Book of Light Verse in a used bookstore the other day. This type of poetry is not as "great" as some of the art and poetry we've discussed on the blog, but I believe that God delights in word play and silliness as well as ponderous thoughts, deep spiritual imagery, etc. After all, he gave us the creative minds to think this stuff up, and the physiology in the brain, vocal chords and diaphram to find it funny and to laugh. And I believe laughter is wholesome and healthy for body, mind, and spirit. Jesus used humor in his parables and interactions with people (see Earl Palmer's The Humor of Jesus).

What do you think is the value of light verse and humor literature, or do you simply find it a waste of time? Do you think it has anything to do with the Kingdom of God?

1 comment:

Iambic Admonit said...

I think the Lord loves our laughter! Have you ever heard Tony Campolo speak? He spoke at a chapel service at Gordon College once, and told one of his favorite--I don't know what to call it--stories? metaphors? illustrations? fictions? Anyway, he is a very energetic speaker, and he painted a word-picture for us of God making a daffodil, then laughing and saying, "Do it again! Do it again!" over and over as He made more and more daffodils.

So, that may have been a bit overboard. And lots of "light verse" drives me crazy. But there are other funny poems that are delightful, clever, well-crafted, and valuable. One of my favorites is "Very Like a Whale" by Ogden Nash. The lines breaks are slightly off here, but you can figure them out.
And of course I love "The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay."

I'm reading The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare by Rus McDonaldn right now, and it has a lovely section on word play, puns, and all those thrilling and lovely little bits ofl literary fun.

I have not addresses the devotional/spiritual question much. I'll have to think about it.