Saturday, September 20, 2008

I have never before been paid to compose riddles in the form of rhyming couplets, and I am lucky to now work in a discipline in which I am. (Rhyming pony couplets.)

But even the writing of poetry can become tiresome, and after 8 hours of solid work on the kitchen table at the Hotel Xav I believe I deserve a break.

To those unfamiliar with this poetic form, the rhyming couplet, I wish to introduce that great 18th century writer Jonathan Swift, famous for the rhyming couplet that paired "wits" with "shits". Everyone quotes this naughty couplet, so I will not.

To illustrate the form of the rhyming couplet I will instead quote from another of my favourite Swift-penned poems, entitled:


It's about a young London woman who goes to a party. But the booze runs out, and she's hasn't gotten lucky, so she returns home alone, gets undressed and goes to bed.

"No drunken rake to pick her up;
No cellar, where on tick to sup;
Returning at the midnight hour;
Four stories climbing to her bower

"Then, seated on a three-legg'd chair
Takes off her artificial hair.

"Now picking out a crystal eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.

"Her eyebrow's from a moose's hide,
Stuck on with art on either side.

"Pulls off with care and first displays 'em
Then in a play-book smoothly lays 'em.

"She dextrously her plumpers draws [cheek pads!]
They serve to fill her hollow jaws

"Untwists a wire, and from her gums
A set of teeth completely comes.

"Pulls out the rags contrived to prop
Her flabby dugs [breasts!] and down they drop.

"Proceeding on, the lovely Goddess
Unlaces her steel-ribbed bodice
Which, by the operator's skill
Press down the lumps, the hollows fill.

etc. "

Alas, three centuries have passed and nothing much has changed aside from the ubiquitous wearing of glass eyes.


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