Today I suddenly found myself looking at our fridge magnet poetry. I’ve been back at my parents since the end of March, and I’m surprised that this is the first time since then that I’ve actually taken the time to read it all.
Poetry can be incredibly diverse: one the one hand you have sonnets, there are ancient sagas, the slightly off-the-wall classics such as Blake, and then you get the Byrons, the Sassoons and the angsty teenage “You’re the love of my life” stuff written by wannabe drama queens of today that you see on various sharing websites. One thing’s for certain: I remember doing poetry at school and it was hideously boring.
They tried to do a multi-cultural poem that most of the class didn’t really understand and neither were they interested in it. They were more interested in painting nails and other girly stuff that I thought was as equally boring. Sad, but true.
Well, I say hideously boring, but the only poetry I ever took an interest in is nonsense poetry, as those of you who have read my previous post on The Jabberwocky and its translations will know.
If only there had been a form of poetry more engaging and interesting to the teenage version of myself, then I probably would have started with my wordplay and manipulation of imagery a lot earlier.
On second thoughts, maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t.
One of the main reasons I find nonsense poetry so interesting is because it makes me think. At least, it makes me think in a far more abstract manner than “normal” poetry, for want of a better word, does. It certainly encourages me to play with imagery and produce things such as describing something as “bright black”.
My solution to the whole poetry problem in schools? Fridge magnet poetry. Wanting to get a bit of Shakespeare into the curriculum? Never fear, there’s a Shakespeare kit (which features on our fridge at home and further on here). Foreign language exam coming up? No worries, we have a German kit, too.
As the German kit in our house has not quite yet developed to the same level as the Shakespeare, I shall leave that for another time.
In any case, I think that fridge magnet poetry is seriously undervalued. The number of evenings spent gathered, sniggering around the fridge like school children has certainly provided more entertainment that most board games that you end up being forced to play at family gatherings.
Cluedo? Oh no. We don’t play
SquabbleScrabble any more, either. (And anyway, I received the equivalent to a lifetime ban as apparently you have to stick to the one language when playing? Spoilsports. They claimed it was unfair if you start speaking gibberish and called it Roospeak.)
In any case, I think I can safely say that my family are downright weird.
The one thing that is very apparent is that there are varying types of fridge magnet poetry. Some have the tone of a biblical commandment:
Thou will let him be vile at sea
Whilst some are a tad risqué:
We would be on earth, but alas circumstance has slain our passion king
I sleep with my tempting romeo as I love to rub his frothy wagtail
Prince sword fickle in o nunnery
Need an excuse for no homework? No problem:
Trouble is, I hast wilteth
Other phrases have a distinct style and the author is nearly always obvious:
The queen doth bestow dire wind on me then treachery doth soon bolt out
which is followed by:
Brest canst only quicken arrow spot of discontent as I bid thee war and say swod oft
These, however, are by no means a match for the classic:
slain by far toil
Say it out loud and think school boy humour. I can say that this was without the influence of alcohol. Anybody familiar with the phenomenon that is “Dad humour”?
Yeah. All I can say is apple. Fall. Tree.
But best of all, you get the epic Shakespearian sagas which are clearly dramatic works that have taken several alcohol influenced hours of sniggering, gesticulating and musing on the complexities and the finer points of life and human existance:
Well farewell noble trifle,
What straw seizeth golden fortune o’er ere?
Alas, after much woe and thought
From said,” o scorn melodious humility
& break every damn goblet!
How can one wage above?”
Overcome ladys, yield paid your arm,
Beware no jest;
Thus horse is up your breach but no mercy,
So thence there’s sorrow morrow.
Speak! You vile precedent!
We vow at all twire wherefore get loath by sullen vow,
Nay more love this direction.
Ambition dost strive when perchance ado,
Mind your wit to use about ghost hunting,
For impatience was madness and dire kingdom lose a drunk.
Record full wonder of mercy who say they suffer defunctive window blinds,
Could a midsommer beseech thy enemies to kiss despair and die?
Galeth doth speak of stanly; curse tongue of death day,
Our poor wench not eaten, like, if art a bloody tempest die like thine dair will.
Nor toil here, o chronicle lord, shall winter plead or weep?
‘tis frailty hadst haste’d,
Were oak to see well – thou damdt myself.
Foul reason I am sweating,
Is unfold her villain, where the wicked laughing which goes nay mouth.
How art my convent; methinks, tale hast pluck, Denmark.
Do dream she know well, vaunt & slinging you oftly vow, herein est un idle borrower on my thandess, toil by far questioning goblet
Why chance almost found sun!
Fool! Marry cold steel maiden:
And remember, when in doubt:
Always ask for the night witch.