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What is the most humorous poem you have ever read? 
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Post What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
I must confess that I am a bit of a fraud when it comes to poetry. Scholars can go on and on about the symbolism in Frost's Woods but I see only snow and trees. Ok, maybe I am not that bad, but most of the time my mind is just not flexible enough to extract the nuggets the poets have crafted. I prefer more slap in the face poetry which brings me to the funniest poem I ever read. It is by Robert Service and is called Bessie's Boil.

I am asking interested parties to post the funniest poems they have ever read. I would prefer that they not be limericks and that they be suitable for PG audiences. With that in mind Bessie's Boil may be on the fringe, but the first time I read it I was rolling.

Bessie's Boil
A Lancashire Ballad
Read in yer best Lancaster brogue
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Says I to my Missis: "Ba goom, lass! you've something I see, on your mind."
Says she: "You are right, Sam, I've something. It 'appens it's on me be'ind.
A Boil as 'ud make Job jealous. It 'urts me no end when I sit."
Says I: "Go to 'ospittel, Missis. They might 'ave to coot it a bit."
Says she: "I just 'ate to be showin' the part of me person it's at."
Says I: "Don't be fussy; them doctors see sights more 'orrid than that."
So Misses goes off togged up tasty, and there at the 'ospittel door
They tells 'er to see the 'ouse Doctor, 'oose office is Room Thirty-four.
So she 'unts up and down till she finds it, and knocks and a voice says: "Come in,"
And there is a 'andsome young feller, in white from 'is 'eels to 'is chin.
"I've got a big boil," says my Missis. "It 'urts me for fair when I sit,
And Sam (that's me 'usband) 'as asked me to ask you to coot it a bit."
Then blushin' she plucks up her courage, and bravely she shows 'im the place,
And 'e gives it a proper inspection, wi' a 'eap o' surprise on 'is face.
Then 'e says wi' an accent o' Scotland: "Whit ye hae is a bile, Ah can feel,
But ye'd better consult the heid Dockter; they caw him Professor O'Niel.
He's special for biles and carbuncles. Ye'll find him in Room Sixty-three.
No charge, Ma'am. It's been a rare pleasure. Jist tell him ye're comin' from me."

So Misses she thanks 'im politely, and 'unts up and down as before,
Till she comes to a big 'andsome room with "Professor O'Neil" on the door.
Then once more she plucks up her courage, and knocks, and a voice says: "All right."
So she enters, and sees a fat feller wi' whiskers, all togged up in white.
"I've got a big boil," says my Missis, "and if ye will kindly permit,
I'd like for to 'ave you inspect it; it 'urts me like all when I sit."
So blushin' as red as a beet-root she 'astens to show 'im the spot,
And 'e says wi' a look o' amazement: "Sure, Ma'am, it must hurt ye a lot."
Then 'e puts on 'is specs to regard it, and finally says wi' a frown:
"I'll bet it's as sore as the divvle, especially whin ye sit down.
I think it's a case for the Surgeon; ye'd better consult Doctor Hoyle.
I've no hisitation in sayin' yer boil is a hill of a boil."

So Misses she thanks 'im for sayin' her boil is a hill of a boil,
And 'unts all around till she comes on a door that is marked: "Doctor Hoyle."
But by now she 'as fair got the wind up, and trembles in every limb;
But she thinks: "After all, 'e's a Doctor. Ah moosn't be bashful wi' 'im."
She's made o' good stuff is the Missis, so she knocks and a voice says: "Oos there?"
"It's me," says ma Bessie, an' enters a room which is spacious and bare.
And a wise-lookin' old feller greets 'er, and 'e too is togged up in white.
"It's the room where they coot ye," thinks Bessie; and shakes like a jelly wi' fright.

"Ah got a big boil," begins Missis, "and if ye are sure you don't mind,
I'd like ye to see it a moment. It 'urts me, because it's be'ind."
So thinkin' she'd best get it over, she 'astens to show 'im the place,
And 'e stares at 'er kindo surprised like, an' gets very red in the face.
But 'e looks at it most conscientious, from every angle of view,
Then 'e says wi' a shrug o' 'is shoulders: "Pore Lydy, I'm sorry for you.
It wants to be cut, but you should 'ave a medical bloke to do that.
Sye, why don't yer go to the 'orsespittel, where all the Doctors is at?
Ye see, Ma'am, this part o' the buildin' is closed on account o' repairs;
Us fellers is only the pynters, a-pyntin' the 'alls and the stairs."

--- Robert Service


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Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:49 am
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
That one isn't in my humor wheelhouse, but humor is difficult to peg. A lot of poems said to be humorous are witty, not laugh-out-loud funny. I don't know how you'd classify the following by Ogden Nash. I think it's both witty and funny. Coincidentally, it appears certainly to be a parody of a poem I posted very recently in the top 500, "Abou Ben Adhem," by Leigh Hunt.

P.S. to Stahrwe: symbolism is vastly overrated in poetry.

À Bas Ben Adhem

My fellow man I do not care for.
I often ask me, What's he there for?
The only answer I can find
Is, Reproduction of his kind.
If I'm supposed to swallow that,
Winnetka is my habitat.
Isn't it time to carve Hic Jacet
Above that Reproduction racket?

To make the matter more succint:
Suppose my fellow man extinct.
Why, who would not approve the plan
Save possibly my fellow man?
Yet with a politician's voice
He names himself as Nature's choice.

The finest of the human race
Are bad in figure, worse in face.
Yet just because they have two legs
And come from storks instead of eggs
They count the spacious firmament
As something to be charged and sent.

Though man created cross-town traffic,
The Daily Mirror, News and Graphic,
The pastoral fight and fighting pastor,
And Queen Marie and Lady Astor,
He hails himself with drum and fife
And bullies lower forms of life.

Not that I think much depends
On how we treat our feathered friends,
Or hold the wrinkled elephant
A nobler creature than my aunt.
It's simply that I'm sure I can
Get on without my fellow man.

Ogden Nash



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Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:15 pm
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
This one always tickles me.

***

Resume

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

-Dorothy Parker



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stahrwe
Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:33 pm
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
DWill wrote:
That one isn't in my humor wheelhouse, but humor is difficult to peg. A lot of poems said to be humorous are witty, not laugh-out-loud funny. I don't know how you'd classify the following by Ogden Nash. I think it's both witty and funny. Coincidentally, it appears certainly to be a parody of a poem I posted very recently in the top 500, "Abou Ben Adhem," by Leigh Hunt.

P.S. to Stahrwe: symbolism is vastly overrated in poetry.

À Bas Ben Adhem

My fellow man I do not care for.
I often ask me, What's he there for?
The only answer I can find
Is, Reproduction of his kind.
If I'm supposed to swallow that,
Winnetka is my habitat.
Isn't it time to carve Hic Jacet
Above that Reproduction racket?

To make the matter more succint:
Suppose my fellow man extinct.
Why, who would not approve the plan
Save possibly my fellow man?
Yet with a politician's voice
He names himself as Nature's choice.

The finest of the human race
Are bad in figure, worse in face.
Yet just because they have two legs
And come from storks instead of eggs
They count the spacious firmament
As something to be charged and sent.

Though man created cross-town traffic,
The Daily Mirror, News and Graphic,
The pastoral fight and fighting pastor,
And Queen Marie and Lady Astor,
He hails himself with drum and fife
And bullies lower forms of life.

Not that I think much depends
On how we treat our feathered friends,
Or hold the wrinkled elephant
A nobler creature than my aunt.
It's simply that I'm sure I can
Get on without my fellow man.

Ogden Nash


Parody seems to be a frequent source of humor in poetry. I am posting a poem called Casablanca which is about war, but it has spawned countless, humourous takes on the opening stanza though I don't know why.


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Sum n = -1/12
n=1

where n are natural numbers.


Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:35 am
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
http://endtimepilgrim.org/boystood.htm

The poem 'Casabianca' was written by Mrs. Felicia Dorothea Hemans. It starts out with the well known line, "the boy stood on the burning deck". The story relates to an extraordinary incident of devotion and heroism witnessed during the Battle of the Nile.

It was on the evening of July 28 of 1798 that the English naval squadron under Lord Nelson sailed in. They had caught the French fleet at anchor and unprepared. The French flagship was the L'Orient and it soon found itself flanked by English ships attacking from both sides. A fierce battle was soon raging and the flashes of 2000 guns lit up the ships in the gathering darkness. L'Orient was caught by the English broadsides and was set ablaze.

It was then that the English sailors saw an amazing sight. There on that burning deck they saw a boy standing alone. He was Cassabianca, the 12 year old son of one of the ship's officers. There he stood, alone at his post. He was surrounded by flames and facing the astonished English foe. Soon afterwards the fire reached the powder magazine deep down in the hold. The boy perished when the whole ship erupted in a massive explosion.

The sound of L’Orient blowing up was heard at Rosetta 20 miles away. And the glow of the fireball was seen in Alexandria. It was an enormous explosion of a magnitude rarely seen back in those times. The English sailors stood in awe at what they had just witnessed. For some twenty minutes the guns were silent. The English officers and men were absolutely horrified at the carnage that had taken place. They sent a ship to rescue the survivors from the water. About 70 French sailors were saved.

The account of that boy who stood on that burning deck was told and retold. Eventually it passed on into legend. The story remains a classic example of devotion and faithful service. And the poem continues to serve as a source of inspiration and wonder for many throughout Christendom. That boy who stayed at his post on that burning deck has not been forgotten. And the story of his heroic stand is remembered right up to the present day.
________________________________________

Casabianca

The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form.
The flames roll'd on...he would not go
Without his father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.
He call'd aloud..."Say, father, say
If yet my task is done!"
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.
"Speak, father!" once again he cried
"If I may yet be gone!"
And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames roll'd on.
Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair,
And looked from that lone post of death,
In still yet brave despair;
And shouted but one more aloud,
"My father, must I stay?"
While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud
The wreathing fires made way,
They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And stream'd above the gallant child,
Like banners in the sky.
There came a burst of thunder sound...
The boy-oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds that far around
With fragments strewed the sea.
With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had borne their part;
But the noblest thing which perished there
Was that young faithful heart.
====================

If you google the first line you get a large list of variations. When I was a child I seem to remember one from Leave it to Beaver which went:

The boy stood on the Burning Deck
Eating peanuts by the peck.
The flames got closer his toes were toasted
He didn't move he liked his peanuts roasted.


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Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:40 am
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
Some poems seem to invite a cynical response from readers, and the result might be a parody of the poem. If the character portrayed seems too perfect, not cut from real life, the dramatic situation contrived and strained, or the sentiment treacly or naively idealistic, watch out! "Abou Ben Adhem" and "Casiabianca" both fit in there somewhere and were suitable as prey for the parodist.



Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:55 pm
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
Down, Wanton, Down!

Robert Graves (1895-1985)

Down, wanton, down! Have you no shame
That at the whisper of Love's name,
Or Beauty's, presto! up you raise
Your angry head and stand at gaze?

Poor bombard-captain, sworn to reach
The ravelin and effect a breach--
Indifferent what you storm or why,
So be that in the breach you die!

Love may be blind, but Love at least
Knows what is man and what mere beast;
Or Beauty wayward, but requires
More delicacy from her squires.

Tell me, my witless, whose one boast
Could be your staunchness at the post,
When were you made a man of parts
To think fine and profess the arts?

Will many-gifted Beauty come
Bowing to your bald rule of thumb,
Or Love swear loyalty to your crown?
Be gone, have done! Down, wanton, down!



We read this in AP Lit.... it took us a while to understand what it was talking about it. You're just as immature at 18 as you are at 14...


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Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:15 am
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
Talk about an aha! moment.



Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:43 am
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
A fun linguistics experiment and amusing but subtly meaningful poem by my dearest and most favorite poet.

***

anyone lived in a pretty how town

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain

-e.e. cummings



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Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:08 am
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
Genocide wrote:
Down, Wanton, Down!

Robert Graves (1895-1985)

Down, wanton, down! Have you no shame
That at the whisper of Love's name,
Or Beauty's, presto! up you raise
Your angry head and stand at gaze?

Poor bombard-captain, sworn to reach
The ravelin and effect a breach--
Indifferent what you storm or why,
So be that in the breach you die!

Love may be blind, but Love at least
Knows what is man and what mere beast;
Or Beauty wayward, but requires
More delicacy from her squires.

Tell me, my witless, whose one boast
Could be your staunchness at the post,
When were you made a man of parts
To think fine and profess the arts?

Will many-gifted Beauty come
Bowing to your bald rule of thumb,
Or Love swear loyalty to your crown?
Be gone, have done! Down, wanton, down!



We read this in AP Lit.... it took us a while to understand what it was talking about it. You're just as immature at 18 as you are at 14...


And when one is ag-ed
Comfortable with the loved one pledg-ed
Though summoned desperately thysef to shew
Thou only comes with a small pill blue.


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Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:42 pm
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
That, my dear sir, is clever. That poem just gives me bad visuals.


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Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:59 am
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Post Re: What is the most humorous poem you have ever read?
ok.......this is kind of off base, but my favorite most humerous poem is......Dr. Seuss' 'green eggs and ham'.... please don't laugh, it is always been my favorite! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I have a brother named Sam?



Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:32 pm
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