Women using leeches in 17th century Belgian woodcut.‘Bring On the Leeches’ and Other Humorous Poems by C.B. Anderson The Society February 2, 2020 Culture, Humor, Poetry 10 Comments Bring On the Leeches A condition called aspergillosis, And a touch of marasmus as well, Was the surgeon’s succinct diagnosis. All my innards were hurting like hell, And he told me that nothing he did Stood a chance of improving my grave Situation. I slipped him a quid Then requested a haircut and shave. After that he suggested a physic Of magnesia, ripe apples and plums To prevent constipation and phthisic And to buffer whatever next comes. Embracing Polyphenols A single cup of strong black coffee was enough To drive the cobwebs out and send me on my way, But if my psyche had been made of better stuff, I might have drunk it only every other day And wrested stimulation from the morning dew, Reducing somewhat my dependence on caffeine— Unlikely! Still, I sought a less corrosive brew That would emancipate me from the coffee bean. I happened to discover Mutan China white, A tea I’d be unhappy now to do without. It soothes my bowels, it doesn’t keep me up at night, And to its charm I am a proselyte devout. It’s also beneficial to my lungs and liver. On whether it’s a manly drink, opinions differ. Home Trek Sometimes the world afflicts us in extremis, And thus we hope that Scotty soon will beam us Up to The Enterprise, in order that We venture forward toward our Ararat. Imagine mountaintops as verdant shores Where, once we’ve done the necessary chores, The land becomes a fertile paradise With every breeze suffused with fragrant spice. In such a place I’d like to live, together With all my loved ones in the perfect weather An undiscovered planet might provide. So, Captain Kirk, I thank you for the ride, And for the many wonders that I saw, Which more than not engendered shock and awe. But now, if I may ask, please turn around And take me back to more familiar ground, For I would keep my roots on planet Earth, The place where I’ve been living since my birth. Miraculous terrain as yet unknown Cannot replace the world I call my own. An Indictment of Lewis Carroll On Noah’s Ark There was no snark. The looking glass A door? My ass! Invented myth Has little pith, And writers ought To give some thought To tales they spin And not begin Another till Their scruples kill The yen for flights Of fancy. Nights Are better used For less confused Endeavors. This Is bound to piss Some people off, But who would scoff If C.L.D., Advised by me, Stayed on the path Of higher math? C.L.D.: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (the real name of Lewis Carroll) C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden. Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India. His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 10 Responses Joseph S. Salemi February 2, 2020 Kip, these are absolutely great. The trimeter of “Bring on the Leeches” is so catchy that I had to recite the piece out loud several times, in sheer delight. And the rhymes? They are unexpected, and arresting. “Home Trek” surprises the reader, who begins by thinking that the poet is writing just another fantasy of an otherworldy paradise, but finds out in the last six lines that the poet really prefers the comforts and joys of Earth. And the rhyme of “extremis” and “beam us” is worthy of Belloc. “An Indictment of Lewis Carroll” is pleasant just for its perfect dimeters, hard masculine endings, and overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon lexical items. In fact, disregarding the Hebrew name Noah, I count only ten words in the poem of either Latin or Greek derivation. This gives the indictment a hefty and down-to-earth punch, to my perceptions. And by contrast, notice that “Embracing Polyphenols” has many Greek and Latin derivatives, which heighten the humor, smooth out the alexandrine meter, and allow for a delightful inversion like “proselyte devout,” and for wonderful phrasing like “wrested stimulation” and “a less corrosive brew.” Kip, you have given us here 1) trimeter, 2) alexandrines, 3) iambic pentameter, and 4) dimeter rhyming couplets in AABB quatrains. That is a real display of craftsmanship and talent. Reply C.B. Anderson February 3, 2020 Joseph, It might or might not surprise you, but all except “Home Trek” were previously rejected by other venues, including two of the best known magazines specializing in light verse. I have come to realize that writing good light verse is every bit as exacting as writing good “serious” verse. Reply Joseph S. Salemi February 3, 2020 Kip, I’m not surprised at all. The editors took “Home Trek” because it has an upbeat, happy, Smiley-Face ending. They rejected “Bring on the Leeches” because it’s about disease and the threat of death. They rejected “An Indictment of Lewis Carroll” because it presents some sharp criticism of a famous and beloved writer. They rejected “Embracing Polyphenols” because it is in alexandrines, which are considered too literary and recherche for brain-dead readers. Being an editor today is like being a publicity flack — your job is to hype your magazine, and keep the customers happy. The editors who now control the publication of “light” verse will no longer publish poems that have a real edge to them, or which are scary. They want stuff that’s isn’t traditional light verse, but basically just “lightweight” fluff, for their audience of suburban soccer moms and millennial snowflakes. Really brilliant light versifiers, like Praed or Belloc, whose poems could sting like scorpions, wouldn’t have a chance today. So you’re in good company. Rod February 2, 2020 I can only echo Joseph’s thoughts. Very enjoyable……thank you! Reply C.B. Anderson February 3, 2020 I’m glad you enjoyed, Rod. Reply David Watt February 3, 2020 C.B., your versatility is certainly evident in these witty pieces! Mutan China white may not be a manly drink, but ‘Embracing Polyphenols’ makes a decisive case for this beverage. Reply C.B. Anderson February 3, 2020 David, you should try it if you can get it. I buy it 2 1/2 pounds at a time. There is nothing I wrote about it in the poem that isn’t true. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant February 3, 2020 These admirably crafted pieces are a masterclass in poetry – they’re all highly amusing and wholly inspirational. Wonderful! Reply C.B. Anderson February 3, 2020 Susan, Coming from you, a master of humorous verse, the approbation is especially welcome. Reply Monty February 9, 2020 D’you remember late last year, CB, after I secured your book ‘Blue Yonder’ from Amazon; when I told you I was gonna take it to Nepal with me? Well, take it I did, and I’m about halfway through it at the moment. I was gonna wait till I’d finished it before giving you my appraisal. But after spotting your highly-humorous pieces above, I have to tell you . . . from what I’ve seen so far in the book, all the poems are absolutely of the high-standard I expected them to be from you: commandingly written and containing every poetic discipline. But there were only one or two (Sibling Rivalry comes to mind) which were intentionally humorous; all the others, although varying in subject-matter, seemed to come under the banners of either Philosophical or Things Experienced. I’m not complaining in the slightest, and I eagerly await completion of the book; I just felt a few more humorous pieces might give it a better balance. Perhaps there are more in the second-half of the book, so I wouldn’t normally have jumped the gun just yet . . . . but after seeing your quality pieces above, I couldn’t help thinking: “Why didn’t he throw some of them into Blue Yonder? As well as the varying poetic forms of each piece, they’re all genuinely and highly amusing . . and the fact that all but one were knocked-back by other venues is only indicative of the real danger in which proper poetry finds itself these days. It’s a crying shame. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.