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Could be Verse...

By Paul Slade
Murder Ballads
Secret London
My coronavirus limerick (May 2020).

We're battling a virus called covid,
Which struck like a plague out of Ovid,
To get through it quick,
Constant testing's the trick,
But Boris and Trump can't be bov'id.


Lines inspired by a Jimmy Olsen caption

I came across this glorously silly Jimmy Olsen story in Chris Sims' Comics Alliance essay The 10 Most Insane Jimmy Olsen Moments of All Time. For some reason the caption shown here stuck in my mind, and that evening I produced a bit of doggerel to go with it.
The story, written by Leo Dorfman and drawn by George Papp, dates from Mort Weisinger's reign editing the Superman books. This was what comics fans now call the "Silver Age", a delightfully daft and innocent era of Superman's adventures, which looks all the more charming when set against the torture porn and rape fantasies superhero comics routinely traffic in today.
The plot of The Red-Headed Beatle of 1,000 BC, briefly, is this:
A traveller from the future turns up at Jimmy Olsen's apartment, introduces himself as Kasmir and tells Jimmy he's a policeman from the future.
The Legion of Superheroes (of which Jimmy is a honorary member) has lent Kasmir a time bubble, he explains, so he can collect Jimmy and the two of them can carry out a vital mission into the past.
Jimmy agrees to go along, but Kasmir turns out to be a crook, who needed our hero only to teach him how to operate the time bubble's controls. He strands Jimmy in the Holy Land of the Old Testament, where he's forced to earn his keep by selling home-made Beatle wigs and performing Beatles-style songs in the marketplace to an enthusiastic dancing crowd.
It's this scene which provides the issue's Curt Swan cover. "That catchy drum beat!" one passing Hebrew babe declares. "I can't keep my own feet from twitching!"
Eventually, the teenage Samson (who Jimmy's befriended) punches Kasmir out and Superman turns up to take Jimmy back to present day Metropolis. "You've really started a 'Beatle' fad here, Jimmy," Superman says. "You seem to be as popular as Ringo, the Beatle drummer!"
Sims has more details, including scans of the cover and several more key panels. That link again is: The 10 Most Insane Jimmy Olsen Moments of All Time.

Shortly, in the distant past,
The first comes in behind the last,
The evening's early, morning's late,
Your history fills a future date,
Time's arrow turns the other way,
And points ahead to yesterday,
Slow progress circles backward fast,
Shortly, in the distant past.


A sonnet in praise of PG Wodehouse

I love Wodehouse's books, and they're always the first place I turn when I need a bit of cheering up.
Because his characters lead such privileged lives, some class warrior types deem Wodehouse unacceptable, but I always feel they're missing the point. Politics doesn't really exist in his books' world - anymore than sex does - and why would anyone deprive themselves of the chance to read such sublimely funny prose?
This sonnet - in a slightly different form - was first published in Wooster Sauce, the PG Wodehouse Society's newsletter. Line four's a bit dodgy, but otherwise I'm quite pleased with it.

It's no surprise Plum's called the master scribe,
As antidote to gloom he can't be beat,
His subjects are the leisured English tribe,
Named Bingo, Bertie, Gussie and Catsmeat,
Their revels are conducted at the Drones,
Where bread-roll missiles nightly fill the air,
A world unstained by death or mobile phones,
Where lovers' tiffs and scrapes are worst you'll bear,
Where foolish, harmless, innocent young men,
Invite us in to share their sunlit bliss,
All problems yield to Jeeves' advice and then,
Each man's united with his ideal miss,
Inverted snobs who shun the pleasures here,
Achieve but this: to rob themselves of cheer.


Twitter Poetry

Twitter is perfect for short-form poems like limericks, clerihews and haikus. Remaining within the 140-character limit while still maintaining a strict rhyme sceme and making sure everything scans adds an interesting extra discipline.
Under my somewhat arbitrary house rules, punctuation is optional, ampersands allowed and bonus marks awarded whenever you hit 140 characters on the nose."

Limerick tweet (character count: 140)
Why limerick tweets don't abound?
The reason is simple & sound
12 squared minus 4
(Not one letter more)
Will drive you right into the ground

Clerihew tweet (character count: 99)
Clerihew tweeting,
Is quite self-defeating,
It's only in Heaven your,
Count will reach seven-score.

Iambic pentameter tweet (character count: 140)
I say we all must write in iambs now
Pentameter as well, as did the Bard
He often wrote in this poetic form
& we do well to copy him in that


"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts"

You either find farting funny or you don't. Guess which camp I'm in?
This one was inspired by a genuine piece of playground grafitti I spotted near where I live in north London. The rhythm of the key phrase made it stick in my head, so I wrote these lines to try and make it stick in your head too. You're welcome.

"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Chalked up on the playground wall,
"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Free advice for one and all,

"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Silent farts, I think it means,
"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
(Also powered by sprouts and beans),

"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Noiseless burst of noxious air,
"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
No-one knows who left it there,

"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Bobby's planning further fun,
"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Brewing up another one,

"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Smugly, he lets loose the next,
"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Foul air spreading from his kecks,

"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Birds fall choking from the skies,
"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Stench so bad it burns your eyes,

"Mushy peas for ninja stealth farts",
Passers-by drop to their knees,
Meanwhile, Bobby, back at home, re-
Loads his tum with mushy peas.