Don’t worry – we’ll get to poetry in a sec; but first I want to explain why I’m boycotting Facebook. It’s because of their policy on breastfeeding: yes, like a lot of people Facebook has a gigantic double-standard (a double-D standard, perhaps) when it comes to breasts. Tits are OK when shown as – er – titillation; you can show a woman with cleavage as often as you like, so long as you don’t display a nipple. But a woman breastfeeding??? Gasps of horror! The sensitivities of the populace will be outraged!!! Civilisation will collapse!!! People will be – well, offended!!!
Bollocks. I could go on and on about the issues here, but I’ll save it for Wednesday. Because, today being Monday, we are on the theme of poetry and in response to a reader comment I am considering the question: Can limericks ever be serious?
Can limericks ever be serious?
Would gravitas be deleterious?
Does the form not depend
on a comedic end?
Would anything sober not weary us?
I am interested in the question because I have written a number of limerick series which kind of flirt with the form and verge on the serious: in fact I am interested altogether in the boundaries between the serious and the comic and how far they can be breached. Here’s part of a limerick series I wrote about the changing reputation of D H Lawrence:
They don’t give a fig about Lawrence
now sex is cascading in torrents
it’s hard now to credit
that folk who’d not read it
once looked on his work with abhorrence!
They don’t give a damn about Dave
the Messiah who came up to save
our bodies from virtue
– that bodice can hurt you –
but now he just spins in his grave
So, can limericks ever be serious? Answers below please – and preferably in limerick form…