Nonsense and Some Sense Verse Smackdown, Round 2!
(Revisit Round 1)
This is late and backdated, so I'm going to be quick. But first, thanks to Amy, Brandon, Christopher, Itinerante, Mrs. Darwin, Stilwell, and Sheila for participating in Round 1! Here are your results . . .
Lewis Carroll vs. Edward Lear -- Winner: Lewis Carroll
A.A. Milne vs. Dr. Seuss -- Winner: A.A. Milne
Rudyard Kipling vs. Ogden Nash -- Winner: Ogden Nash
Guy Wetmore Carryl vs. Roald Dahl -- Winner: Guy Wetmore Carryl
Maurice Sendak vs. Shel Silverstein -- Winner: Maurice Sendak
Hilaire Belloc vs. Oliver Herford -- Winner: Hilaire Belloc
Eugene Field vs. Laura E. Richards -- Winner: Laura E. Richards
G.K. Chesterton vs. Spike Milligan -- Winner: G.K. Chesterton
I feel a little bad that Milligan got the dreaded null points (#EurovisionBlog), because it's clearly due to my putting him next to Chesterton. Not only was Milligan handicapped by having to fit the ANIMALS theme and to represent himself with a poem that complemented one by Chesterton, but also had to do it on a blog frequented by avowed Chesterton fans. It couldn't have ended any other way. To make it up to him a little, I'll let him show off a second poem now . . .
Have a Nice Day
"Help, help," said a man. "I'm drowning."
"Hang on," said a man from the shore.
"Help, help," said the man. "I'm not clowning."
"Yes, I know, I heard you before.
Be patient dear man who is drowning,
You, see I've got a disease.
I'm waiting for a Doctor J. Browning.
So do be patient please."
"How long," said the man who was drowning. "Will it take for the Doc to arrive?"
"Not very long," said the man with the disease. "Till then try staying alive."
"Very well," said the man who was drowning. "I'll try and stay afloat.
By reciting the poems of Browning
And other things he wrote."
"Help, help," said the man with the disease, "I suddenly feel quite ill."
"Keep calm." said the man who was drowning, "Breathe deeply and lie quite still."
"Oh dear," said the man with the awful disease. "I think I'm going to die."
"Farewell," said the man who was drowning.
Said the man with the disease, "Goodbye."
So the man who was drowning, drownded
And the man with the disease past away.
But apart from that,
And a fire in my flat,
It's been a very nice day.
And now it's time for our next round! This time, in keeping with tradition, I am choosing the winners. But I have also included some new poems by each of them, so we can share this reading journey together. This time, our theme is OLD AND YOUNG.
The Amusing Eight
Again, we begin with a face-off between two classic children's authors. So skilled were they at seeing the world through children's eyes that they can help us to remember what it was like to look up to--and perhaps, askance at--those giants who ruled our worlds. But is it the precocious "young man" in You Are Old Father William or the frustrated and imperial toddler in Disobedience who has the better view?
Winner: Lewis Carroll--because his poem is simply the stronger one.
What? We can't have the entire Chesterbelloc in the Final Four: it would throw the whole smackdown off balance! So let's just tip the scales here. Belloc contributes one of his many "bad child" poems. (I chose Sarah, the one whom I thought book blog readers would dislike the most--LOL!) And Chesterton honours us with some moody thoughts on Second Childhood.
Winner: Hilaire Belloc--because whether
you we Chesterheads like it or not, Belloc's poems are just consistently funnier.
In the end there can only be One . . . That is, only one writer whom I am discovering for the first time. A decent Final Four takes a lot of research, you know! Below is another of Carryl's insightful parodies of well-known stories, which is both faithful to the source and startlingly new: How Jack Made the Giants Uncommonly Sore. I'm quite impressed that he shared my belief that the Giant is the "double" of Jack's father and turned the faerie tale into a satire of education. And I'm charmed by Richards's poem Master Jack's Views (After a Lesson in Astronomy), in which the fruits of learning are imagination, empathy, and joy in creation . . . just as things ought to be!
Winner: Laura E. Richards--because I've got to go with my gut here.
And now this is going to be . . . odd. I don't think OLD AND YOUNG is the best theme for either Nash or Sendak. The former's crusty message To A Small Boy Standing On My Shoes While I Am Wearing Them is the buzzkill of The Amusing Eight, while the latter's Pierre is probably his weakest children's book and reads like rewarmed Belloc. (Yikes!) Their legendary literary strengths lie in other areas, and I hope it's not too unfair to the other contenders that I considered those when deciding between these two.
Winner: Ogden Nash--because while Sendak wins all the art, Nash wins all the rhymes.
Are you all ready for a mini face-off now? Here are two women now with a sense of humour who also wrote some verses.
Louisa May Alcott vs. Susan Coolidge
Although these two writers never became famous for their verse, their respective "signature" characters liked to use rhyme, meter, and metaphor to cheer their loved ones and to add to the comforts of home. And in their books, poetry was as much a domestic art as the baking of cookies and the knitting of socks. Since I'm featuring Alcott's Song of the Suds, written by Jo March to amuse her veteran father while he is in hospital far from home, I probably should pair it with one of the personalised Valentines that Coolidge's Katy Carr makes for each of her four siblings . . . but I've learned the lesson of Chesterton vs. Milligan and know I can't do that again. So what we have below is classic March against classic Carr. The latter's untitled poem is her contribution to the Word & Question game that she plays with friends at school and that has inspired our own!
Tell me in the combox which one you like best and get a chance to win another entry in the Rafflecopter!
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Image Sources: a) Louisa May Alcott, b) Susan Coolidge