Sonntag, 1. Januar 2017

Harry Graham (10)

Aus »The World We Laugh In«:
Harry Graham: »Funny!«
(On being asked by an Editor for a
»funny poem«)

»A funny poem?« No, my friend,
   Though loth to set your ardour cooling,
I cannot honestly pretend
To deal in that peculiar blend
   Of literary fooling
Which other bards, for love or money,
Express in verse that's frankly »funny.«

Some enemy of mine, mayhap,
   Has spread abroad this senseless rumour
Which stamps me as the sort of chap
Who keeps, as one might say, on tap,
   A constant flow of humour:
A bright buffoon, of nature sunny,
Who earns his bread by being »funny!«

My art I rather would express
   In lyric ode or tale dramatic
Of lovelorn swain and proud princess,
Of captive damsel in distress
   Locked in ancestral attic,
Of maiden fair with hair like honey
And no pretence to being »funny!«

Or I would sing of babbling brook,
   Of vales where nightingales grow tender,
Of forest groves where nests the rook,
And cuckoos »oo« before they »cuck,«
   'Neath summer's sunlit splendour;
Of verdant swards where basks the bunny –
But even these are far from »funny!«

Bid me compose a stirring song,
   My rhyming lexicon I'll lug out
And tell of how, to right the wrong,
Heroic conscripts, stern and strong,
   Came leaping from their dug-out
And taught the Hun to be less Hunny;
But do not ask me to be »funny!«

Or bid me praise the lads that roam
   The salt sea waves with such devotion
In submarines beneath the foam,
Who seem to feel as much at home
   In the Atlantic Ocean
As monster fish (e.g. the tunny);
But do not ask me to be »funny!«

Implore me, if you must, some day
   To write you verses sad and serious,
A sober, quaint, old-fashioned lay,
A ballad sentimental, say,
   Or tragic and mysterious.
But if you prize my friendship, sonny,
Don't ever ask me to be »funny!«

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