I was always the “go-to man” for silly rhymes in farewell or birthday cards at the office, but never had much interest in “real” poetry.
My first published “poem” was a bit of a surprise and the result of my wife and her friend being keen to have me leave them in peace for a few hours while they worked on a TAFE project. The friend told me that an ABC radio poet had declared that morning that “orange” was one word in the English language that didn’t rhyme with anything else. The implicit message was to go away until I’d come up with something.
What a challenge! Ten minutes later I returned with the following:
The soft, round fruit we call an orange
Was first discovered by a foreigng
Entleman, who walked his dog
Around some prehistoric bog.
Nowadays, for just a florinj
Am is made from tons of orange.
Countries round the world all trade
In various forms of Marmalade.
While Scotsmen kept through ancient history
The contents of their kilt a mystery,
It’s common knowledge they keep an orange
Tucked up carefully in their sporrang.
Enerally they last for weeks
(and taste much better than sprouts or leeks).
The English tongue is very strange,
It has no words to rhyme orange.
So if these verses make you cringe
You try to make one rhyme orange.
My wife’s friend emailed it later that day to the ABC, and I heard my own work recited on radio the very next day!
Thus emboldened, I attended a monthly meeting of the Queanbeyan Bush Poets, offering my “Orange” and asking for their tick of approval with:
The L-Plated Poet
Is doggerel in the ear of the beholder, and is poetry a “better” kind of verse?
Are television jingles just like Shakespeare or a sign that modern culture’s getting worse?
Am I only wasting time composing rubbish, or will “real” poets recognise my worth?
Will they hang on every word as I recite it, or just roll around in unconcealed mirth?
I stand before you now, a trembling mortal on judgement day – which way the verdict goes?
Is poetry an art I can aspire to, or should I really leave it to the prose?
With their support, I started writing and, in 2012 I was encouraged to enter the competition at Cooma’s “A Feast of Poetry”, awarded a “Highly Commended” with:
The Pope Goes to the Dance
Some years ago, in Holy Rome, a strange event took place,
In which the Blessed Mary and the Pope came face to face.
His Holiness, back then, came from Poland – John Paul Two,
And was barely in his sixties, and as fit as me or you.
JP went for a walk one day – he liked to meet his flocks.
Disguised in jeans and T-shirt, and with holy purple socks.
He liked to walk the back-streets – where the pizza parlours thrive,
And the sights and sounds and smells all made him really feel alive.
He found, that day, a brand new place, festooned with neon lights,
The signage said “The Pearly Gates – Pole Dancing here tonight”.
Well, John Paul was an active man, but rarely had the chance
To relax while at the Vatican – with whom was he to dance?
He also felt a need to reconnect with Polish ways,
Like old-time Polish dances – mazurkas, polonaise.
He booked a place and walked back home. He figured it was right
To let the priests and bishops know that he’d be out that night.
He thought that at The Pearly Gates he should be dressed his best
Just in case Saint Peter should be there to meet the guests.
His purple robes he covered with a simple plastic mac,
Which he discarded only at his seat right at the back.
The show began, and JP was intrigued at what he saw,
As a girl called “Blessed Mary” took her place upon the floor.
It then became quite clear exactly where she was so Blessed,
As a strange wardrobe malfunction soon exposed her ample breasts.
JP was quite upset at this mammarian display,
And he fiddled with his rosary and quickly knelt to pray.
But the more he praw, the more he saw. And he praw and praw and praw!
Till Blessed Mary danced for him, completely in the raw.
JP felt something stirring – in his heart – and in his pants!
These feelings were so strong that he felt quite compelled to dance.
He took her hand, and literally swept her off her feet,
Till the bouncers intervened and threw him out into the street.
“You filthy creep”, they said, “for dressing up just like the Pope!”
“Don’t dare ask for your money back – you haven’t got a hope!”
Well! Poor JP was mortified, and quickly fled the place,
But still the Blessed Mary brings a smile onto his face.
By John Walker – Poet
Find John’s poetry HERE