This, This Is Poetry

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

Along the line of smoky hills the crimson forest stands and all the day the blue jay… wait a minute! That’s real smoke out there; the whole damned forest is on fire! No, I guess it isn’t it just looks like it. Now where were we?

I am sure that poem and a few others we learned in high school are as fresh in our minds today as they were (dare I say it?) sixty years ago. In public school that was called memory work. We had to stand up in front of the class – at least I think we did – that part seems a bit fuzzy at the moment. Sometimes it worked though, and today those poems pop right into our minds like it was September 1950.  I wandered lonely as a cloud is another one. I rewrote that one – not because there was anything wrong with the original The Daffodils it was because of the sad plight of his neighbour.

I’m sure most of you folks out there took English Lit at ODCI or whatever reform school you went to. No doubt you read the dreary odes of England’s greatest poet, William Wordsworth, who died in 1850 and not a moment too soon.

His most famous poem was The Daffodils, a piece of crap every captive school child has had to recite since he wrote the damn thing in 1807. Wordsworth scribbled out his masterpiece in a meadow after he got drunk with the Duke of Wellington (another jerk) and woke up lying in a field reeking of cheap booze and covered in cow poos. But aside from the fact he brought a whole new meaning to the word boring, what do we know about his personal habits and relationships with his peers?

Next to nothing –  except for the caustic works of another 19th century poet, Sir Patrick Fitzpatrick, who lived on the farm next door.

The Goldenrod

(With no apologies to Wordsworth)

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vale and sod

When all at once I saw a crowd

A host of friggin’ goldenrod

My face broke out, I sneezed, I wheezed

The flippin’ things were passed my knees

They spread for miles like some vast plain

Of waving, toxic, jaundiced grain

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way

A poet could not but be gay…

Bullpoop! Whacko, is what I say

My head swelled up, my nose ran too

Great teardrops ran down in my shoe

All because that Wordsworth schlemiel

Refused to spray his flippin’ field

Environment-friendly he claims to be

A lazy bastard if you ask me

His septic tank is bubbling over

His bloody lawn is mostly clover

His yard is ragweed. His house is filthy

While mine is spotless, clean and healthy

He moves his outhouse every May

About six inches either way

Last year he fell in to his chin

He forgot to fill the old one in

It took all day to hose him down

I think we should have let him drown

His wife took off. Her name was Sadie

Or as he called her, ‘my old lady’

She left him after their I do’s

She found him in her bra and shoes

To me, he’s just a pile of trouble

I’d like to pound his house to rubble

To pay him back for all my sneezing

My pounding head and nights of wheezing

My allergies will drive me crazy

All because he’s too damn lazy

To spray his field, his crops or flower

Instead he poets by the hour

I’ll fix his garden, use his mower

When I’m finished and the work is o’er

I’ll rake up all his weeds and grass

And ram the damn stuff up his bum.

(I’m sorry, I couldn’t think of a word to rhyme with grass)

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