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Dean's Daily Poems
|Speaking of candidates, many years ago, my children, a little man with big ears named H. Ross Perot, decided to run
for president as an independent candidate. He had odd ideas--for example, that a nation should pay off its debts. He
wanted to run the country as he'd run his prosperous business. Peppy little guy. Did pretty well, then mysteriously
that)--which the pundits ridiculed. All the pundits come to instant agreement sometimes, usually on the biggest lies (in
this case, the likely lie that Perot was simply a silly man making up stories).
Some lines I wrote at the time about Perot seem to apply to nearly all elections. I wasn't that fond of Perot myself
(though year by year he, as he was, looks better and better), which led me to write the following:
H. Ross Perot: The worst candidate
who's ever been the best candidate.
[And every election since, the best candidate seems worse. One of the things about Bush that most pisses me off is
that he "made" me vote for Kerry. (Apologies to those who still think W was a fine president. Personal opinions may be
closer to us than they appear in the mirror.)]
I also wrote the following, which is less meaningful, but more fun--just seeing what I could do with Perot's name, which
(like "Elmo" in "Where's Elmo?") comes up MANY times in the poem, in one form or another (I've Italicized his distorted
mirror reflections in the poem):
Simply peruse Perot's prose
To see why Perot's temper rose
At what this ponderous pauper owes,
As zeroes sprout in proper rows.
Faster than the hole in the upper oz-
-one, our deficit more monstrous grows.
We've got to dump the D.C. pros
Who think we're silly clowns, pierrots!
They paint our future in pure rose;
It's pure red ink, and up it goes!
If we don't pay the piper, who's
The loser who must reap our ruse?
Our kids! They'll have a country whose
Gross Product's paltrier than Peru's.
Face the music, cut the dross--
That's the only way, per Ross.
Perot pro patria's the pero-
-ation of H. Ross Perot.
[Note: The "pauper" is the United States Government. "Pay the piper" is an old idiom meaning to pay for one's
pleasures, take responsibility for one's obligations. "Pro Patria"--Latin: For the Fatherland. A peroration (pero-ration--a
ration of perot!) is the dramatic conclusion of a speech.]
Thanks to the weatherman with his map,
Numbers, moving arrows and rapid rap,
At last I understand the weather!
Today's rain, for example, is because
that big thing from down below and
that big thing from way up there
are rubbing together.
Tomorrow it may rain some more,
depending on whether
Those two big things keep rubbing together.
Now, that swirly mess is a satellite view of heaven,
And that's all there is to the weather, but
there'll be more at eleven.
[Note: Obviously meteorology is not my métier. Weatherman, meet your OWN ology.]
Replete With Gleet, I Bleet
Today I discovered gleet.
It's been right here in my lexicon all these years,
but I didn't seet.
Gleet: FORMERLY any morbid discharge from the
body [including feet?]
(And to the Scots, slimy matter, ooze--Neat!),
NOW a chronic mucous discharge from the Urethra
[And maybe from other tribes in neighboring
nations?], another reason why condoms are
Also, a "chronic discharge from the nasal cavities
of horses, etc."
(I wonder what is "etc." to the nasal cavities of
horses? Shall we discuss it long after we've
the soups and white-saurces et and especially
the tapioca courses? Let's!)
Also a verb; To gleet.
Gleetings, my fellow poets, and salivatations
wherever we may meet,
But not just before we eat.
[Note: A very silly poem a la Ogden Nash, who liked the variable line lengths and the forced rhymes, such as
Gonorrhea rhymed with "good forrhea" -- that is, good for ya; and gleet rhymed with seet (see it); and the double
outrage of rhyming "horses, etc." with "white-saurces et" (white sauces eaten) and "courses? Let's!"
(I thought white sauces and tapioca would be particularly hard to take during a discussion of gleet.)
What inspired the poem was, of course, in a dictionary, running into this word (gleet), amazed I'd never encountered it
before, with all its juicy meanings, the sort relished by children, so easily enchanted by songs about greasy grimy
Many poets before Nash wrote stuff with irregular lines and bad rhymes, but Nash was one of the first to do it on
purpose. Part of the fun of it is having the tail (rhyme) wag the dog (line rhythm and meter). In English, the rhythm of the
line is far more important than the rhyme. Much English poetry lacks rhyme, but is recognizable as poetry because of
regular meter (for example, most of Shakespeare's plays) or because of other rhythmic elements in the lines. Nash not
only tossed out regular line lengths and kept rhyme, but emphasized the rhyme grotesquely with humorously strained
rhymes. And what he did with his lines was done by a skilled writer of metrical poetry. He hid behind the irregularity all
sorts of rhythmic elements. The main trick is that an extremely long line gets the reader to race through the words to get
to the rhyme, after which a shorter line becomes slow and stressed, in contrast, enabling the poet to understate that last
line and be more indirect, since the shortness of the line will give the reader pause enough to catch the poet's drift.
Not all of his poetry is in this form. And not all his poetry is humorous. But this form is most particularly his.
Nash's poetry has already out-lived the typical survival time for light verse
http://deanotations.blogspot.com (short poems)
http://dearreader08.blogspot.com (essays and longer poems)
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