- Too Short Progression
- There once was a man from the sticks
Who liked to compose limericks.
But he failed at the sport,
For he wrote 'em too short.
There was a young man from Hong Kong
Who found limericks much too long.
He got to line three
There was a young man from Peru
Whose limericks stopped at line two
There was a young man of Verdun
- A Decrepit Old Gas Man Named Peter,
- A decrepit old gas man named Peter,
While hunting around for the meter,
Touched a leak with his light;
He rose out of sight,
And as anyone who knows anything about poetry can tell you, he also ruined the meter.
- There Once Was a Man of St. Bees,
- There once was a man of St. Bees
Who was stung on the arm by a wasp.
When asked, "Does it hurt?"
He replied, "No it doesn't.
I'm so glad it wasn't a hornet."
--W. S. Gilbert
Here are some of the sort of limericks that Peter likes. There are lots of this sort of thing out there if you look for them.
The other day, Peter asked me if I minded that he didn't like poetry much. I told him No. It used to bother me, lo many years ago, but it doesn't anymore. I like good poetry because it's got just the right words, cleverly arranged. A lot of what Peter does in editing translations is trying to find just the right word. He likes humorous poems like these because of the clever choice and arrangement of words. He likes, and has memorized a lot of filk songs that have to fit words and ideas to tunes that were meant to express something else entirely. In other words, he likes it when just the right words are cleverly arranged -- precisely what I like about poetry. Beyond that, it's just genre preference, which has no inherent virtue, it's just a question of taste.