I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Limericks by Edward Gorey (1925-2000)

An innocent maiden named Herridge,
Was cruelly tricked into marriage;
When she later fond out
What her spouse was about,
She threw herself under a carriage.

There's a rather odd couple in Herts
Who are cousins (or so each asserts).
Their sex is in doubt
For they're never without
Their moustaches and long, trailing skirts.

They had come to the fugue in the stretto
when a dark, bearded man from a ghetto
slipped forward & grabbed
her tresses & stabbed
her to death with a rusty stiletto

a clerical student named bryne
through pain sought to reach the divine:
he wore a hair shirt
quite often ate dirt
and bathed every friday in brine

there was a young woman whose stammer
was atrocious, & so was her grammar;
but they were not improved
when her husband was moved
to knock out her teeth with a hammer

Two Harvard men, stalwart and hairy
Drank up several bottles of Sherry;
In the Yard around three
They were shrieking with glee,
"Come on out, we are burning a fairy!"

each night father fills me with dread
when he sits on the foot of my bed;
i'd not mind that he speaks
in gibbers & squeaks
but for seventeen years he's been dead

a timid young lady named jane
found parties a terrible strain;
with movements uncertain
she'd hide in a curtain
and make sounds like a rabbit in pain

from number nine, penwiper mews
there is really abominable news:
they've discovered a head
in the box for the bread
but nobody seems to know whose

A beetling young woman named Pridgets
Had a violent abhorrence of midgets;
Off the end of a wharf
She once pushed a dwarf
Whose truncation reduced her to fidgets.

A certain young man, it was noted,
Went about in the heat thickly-coated;
He said, "You may scoff,
But I shan't take it off;
Underneath I am horribly bloated."

A dreary young bank clerk named Fennis
Wished to foster an aura of menace;
To make people afraid
He wore gloves of grey suede
And white footgear intended for tennis.

A gentleman, otherwise meek,
Detested with passion the leek;
When offered one out
He dealt such a clout
To the maid, she was down for a week.

A gift was delivered to Laura
From a cousin who lived in Gomorrah;
Wrapped in tissue and crepe,
It was peeled, like a grape,
And emitted a pale, greenish aura.

A guest in a household quite charmless
Was informed its eccentric was harmless:
"If you're caught unawares
At the head of the stairs,
Just remember, he's eyeless and armless."

A headstrong young woman in Ealing
Threw her two weeks' old child at the ceiling;
When quizzed why she did,
She replied, "To be rid
Of a strange, overpowering feeling."

A lady born under a curse
Used to drive forth each day in a hearse;
From the back she would wail
Through a thickness of veil:
"Things do not get better, but worse."

A lady both callous and brash
Met a man with a vast black moustache;
She cried, "Shave it, O do!
And I'll put it with glue
On my hat as a sort of panache."

A lady who signs herself "Vexed"
Writes to say she believes she's been hexed:
"I don't mind my shins
Being stuck full of pins,
But I fear I am coming unsexed."

A nurse motivated by spite
Tied her infantine charge to a kite;
She launched it with ease
On the afternoon breeze,
And watched till it flew out of sight.

A young lady who lived by the Usk
Subsisted each day on a rusk;
She ate the first bite
Before it was light,
And the last crumb sometime after dusk.

A young man grew increasingly peaky
In a house where the hinges were squeaky,
The ferns curled up brown,
The ceilings flaked down,
And all of the faucets were leaky.

An Edwardian father named Udgeon,
Whose offspring provoked him to dudgeon,
Used on Saturday nights
To turn down the lights,
And chase them around with a bludgeon.

An incautious young woman named Venn
Was seen with the wrong sort of men;
She vanished one day,
But the following May
Her legs were retrieved from a fen.

An old gentleman's crotchets and quibblings
Were a terrible trial to his siblings,
But he was not removed
Till one day it was proved
That the bell-ropes were damp with his dribblings.

As tourists inspected the apse
An ominous series of raps
Came from under the altar,
Which caused some to falter
And others to shriek and collapse.

At the Villa Nemetia the sleepers
Are disturbed by a phantom in weepers;
It beats all night long
A dirge on a gong
As it staggers about in the creepers.

At whist drives and strawberry teas
Fan would giggle and show off her knees;
But when she was alone
She'd drink eau de cologne,
And weep from a sense of unease.

Augustus, for splashing his soup,
Was put for the night on the stoop;
In the morning he'd not
Repented a jot,
And next day he was dead of the croup.

There was a young curate whose brain
Was deranged from the use of cocaine;
He lured a small child
To a copse dark and wild,
Where he beat it to death with his cane.

There was a young lady named Fleager
Who was terribly, terribly eager
To be all the rage
On the tragedy stage,
Though her talents were pitifully meagre.

There was a young lady named Rose
Who fainted whenever she chose;
She did so one day
While playing croquet,
But was quickly revived with a hose.

There was a young woman named Ells
Who was subject to curious spells
When got up very oddly,
She'd cry out things ungodly
by the palms in expensive hotels.

There was a young woman named Plunnery
Who rejoiced in the practice of gunnery.
Till one day unobservant,
She blew up a servant,
And was forced to retire to a nunnery.

To a weepy young woman in Thrums
Her betrothed remarked, "This is what comes
Of allowing your tears
To fall into my ears -
I think they have rotted the drums."

To his clubfooted child said Lord Stipple,
As he poured his post-prandial tipple,
"Your mother's behaviour
Gave pain to Our Saviour,
And that's why He made you a cripple."

While his duchess lay practically dead,
The Duke of Daguerrodargue said:
"Can it be this is all?
How puny! How small!
Have destroyed this disgrace to my bed."

While travelling in farthest Tibet,
Lord Irongate found cause to regret
The buttered-up tea,
A pain in his knee,
And the frivolous tourists he met.

The babe, with a cry brief and dismal
Fell into the water baptismal.
'Ere they'd gathered it's plight
It had sunk out of sight,
For the depth of the font was abysmal.

Little Zooks, of whom no one was fond,
They shot toward the roof and beyond.
The infant's trajectory
Took it over the rectory
And into a lily-choked pond.

The sinking spell

oh look, there's something way up high:
a creature floating in the sky.
it is not merely sitting there
but falling slowly through the air.
the clouds grew pink & gold; its knees
were level with the evening trees.
morose, inflexible, aloof.
it hovered just above the roof.
it's gone right through, & come to rest
on great grand-uncle ogred's chest.
it settled further in the night,
& gave the maid an awful fright.
head first, without a look or word,
it's left the fourth floor for the third.
the weeks went by; it made its way
a little lower everyday.
each time one thought it might have stopped
one found, however, it had dropped.
one wonders just what can be meant
by this implacable descent.
it did not linger, after all,
forever in the upstairs hall.
it found the drawing room in turn
& slipped inside the chinese urn.
it now declines in fretful curves
among the pickles & preserves.
it's gone beneath the cellar floor;
we shall not see it anymore.