Being a right old clever clogs, I have drawn Keith into the competition to decide which of us presides over the other, in a way that he doesn’t (yet) suspect – he’s enthusiastic even! We are to hold a poetry competition between us, but one with a difference. Funnily enough both of us describe ourselves as Larkinists; he inclining to High Windows; me the best example of an Anglican Atheist since. Then we diverge, him to the war poets, me to Adlestrop and Prufrock. I digress. We can’t match those lads, so we have decided to try and write the worst poems we can. That too is a field boasting an overabundance of talent; so our rules:
… we get just one try, and the first to get a like on any form of social media, or other similar public recognition, wins. We may not promote our poems, nor explain what it is we’re up to. We must simply present them, without an introduction, as if we are proud of what we’ve produced. Then leave them there to be ignored. The likelihood is, they will remain that way forever: unread and unloved, so we may never say, “guess what we did once”. It will remain as a marker for us, for always; to be judged by one and all as witless pricks, lacking the most basic instincts of self-awareness.
I’ve had a preview of his (he’s in the revision stage now) and I was disheartened to see that he has latched on to the same awful trope of the bad poem as me – the pun. He has based his rhyme around craic and crack. I must say, it’s promisingly bad. Mine is below.
Sweet and Sour, who is kinder to us since Keith arrived, will allow us to carry out our jest using his phone. He restricts what we can do, and he does the typing, but he has set up Twitter accounts for us to get the ball rolling, In return we let him join in our games – which are mainly restricted to singing songs from the First World War whilst pretending to sit around a camp fire.
A word of explanation about the poem below before you get stuck into it. I have used Russian and French in order to widen the appeal, but don’t let that put you off, they are homomyns/cognates. OK, so, in Russian, if you wish to say, I/you/we/they/she have something, the construction you use is у меня (for I have), у тебя (you have) etc. The letter у, is pronounced oo, and is a prepostion which strictly means something like “at” but here translates better as “of”. The word for mother is мама, but, and here’s the rub – as you’re trying to say the ….(whatever) of mother, you must put мама in the genetive case. So, if you’d like to say mother’s …., (whatever) you’d say у мамы. You’d pronounce it oo mami (kind of). Then you add есть, pronounced yest, meaning there is. Get it? Of/at mum there is ….
Now, just when it starts getting interesting, we add another word, but in French – marmite (lower case m) is a cooking pot (pronounced marmeet). You may know if from menus where you’ll find marmite de …. (whatever). Most people think that marmite means stew – it sort of does, but strictly it means the thing in which the dish is cooked – like Balti or casserole.
Ooh Mammy, what’s for Tea?
У мамы ectь marmite
And in it, mum makes
Marvellous meaty meals
That have that savoury, flavoury,
Intensity which comes with a smack
Of indescribable deliciousness
But which doesn’t yet seem to have a name of its own.
Ooh Mammy, what shall we call it?
It’s a bit like Marmite
But ma might go potty if you say that.
Kinda yummy, mummy,
We want more-ish.
Even though you can’t cook.
Because the burnt bits have got that indescribable thing going on too.
For you mammy, are dark and mysterious
And yet everyone knows
When you’re about,
‘cos you come with a clout
But in a nice way.
Yes you. Our mammy.
You hit the spot,
у мамы ectь the lot.
Sweet and Sour has set up the following Twitter account, where you may follow our progress. You may safely assume that any followers there are bots, and you should perhaps consider reporting them to Elon Musk. @Anthony74522708