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Jack Smith

Poets in Brief: For Better or for Verse

July 06, 1989|Jack Smith

My columns reviving terse verse have brought a lot of versifiers out of the closet and have revived many ghost verses from an earlier day.

My friend Sara Boynoff Coonradt, for example, recalls one she wrote for the late Matt Weinstock's column after Dr. Alfred Kinsey revealed that poorly educated males were more sexually active than college graduates.

\o7 How doth our friend the human male

In basic pattern vary?

The range extends, the Doctor says,

From plethora to nary.

The male who's little been to school

Of pleasure has most knowledge

While scarcely any fun at all

Has he who's been to college.

A lesson clearly it implies

For woman who're discerning:

Do never aid nor comfort give

To males of higher learning.

Often, the titles are more revealing than the verses. This one, by Margaret Ehrlich, is called "Hope Is God's Flashlight."

He never said goodbye,

He wrote

A note,

And signed it ED.

"Had to have my car repaired,"

Was all it said.

He never said goodbye,

And I

Am broken-hearted.

Dale Eunson of Santa Barbara recalls one Ogden Nash wrote for the amusement of himself and novelist-playwright Jay Dratler when they shared an office while doing nothing for big bucks as contract writers at MGM.

Producers and such do not jostle

Just bring on the girls and the wassail

And plenty of cash

For Dratler and Nash

Ye Gods, they are simply colossal.

At age 80, Robert S. Seares of Redlands rues something he missed in life:

Alas and alack

As I look back

I never was the victim

Of an attack

By a nymphomaniac.

Ruth Sklar of Sherman Oaks neatly encapsulates an experience that I have had:

Did I have trouble

With my Spanish in Madrid?

Why, no, I didn't

But the Spanish people did.

Janet Krueger of Long Beach calls this one "Another Glorious Fourth:"

My plumbing, appliances, automobile,

Much to my dismay,

Time breakdowns so that they, not I,

Get every holiday.

Weinstock published this one by Roberta Case Levitt just when the jogging craze was starting:

To lose some weight, the experts state,

It helps to do some jogging.

You other guys can exercise--

I'd rather take a flogging.

Ida Eaton of Palm Springs calls her effort "poetry most profound":

Do you love me

Or do you not?

You told me once

But I forgot

Daniel Fleck of Upland offers reassurances after a date that was evidently not an unqualified success:

About last night

It was a blast

Don't take fright

You're not the last

The prolific Ormly Gumfudgin of La Crescenta laments a loss at tennis to his "attachment":

Tennis is

My nemesis

Nancy White of Glendale, who writes verses for children about animals, was inspired to write this one by my essay on the sex life of the sea slug (possibly not for children):

The snail is nature's hermaphrodite,


And this is not to some oversight due.

Being slow, it's complex

To find the right sex,

So any old snail he encounters will do.

Having misquoted the last word of Joan G. Gabrielson's verse, I feel obliged to get it right for posterity:

She asked The Doc to diagnose

Her pains--from head to toes.

Unperplex'd, he Rx'd:

You must cut down on leisure,

For you've had a Julius Seizure!

Perhaps having been reminded of Shakespeare, I transposed the last word from seizure to Caesar , which of course spoiled everything.

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