Rimickles of a recumbent man

1 Conversation

First some rimickles1 on fictional, mythological and historical personages.
In Rhodes the Colossus
Grew lichens and mosses
All over his shoulders and hair
'Twas droppings from birds of the air
That started the process

Medusa the Gorgon
Performed on the organ
But bored every audience stiff
Consistently; it was as if
The conclusion were foregone

When Captain Othello
Went to the bordello
And said “Bring me your bill of fare”
They sent him in William, whose hair
Was shiny and yellow

Leonardo da Vinci
Found hard puzzles cinchy
Excelling in science and art;
Though Lisa could not win his heart
At least she tried, di'nt she?

Napoleon one day
Called Maréchal Ney
“Ney” he said, “Ney, my old pal”
Said Ney “I am not a cheval”
And cantered away2

Said Lego to Gimli
“If I climb up nimbly
And look out, will you watch my back?”
“I'll keep a sharp eye up the crack”
The dwarf replied grimly

The Gilgamesh legend
Was partly imagined
And partly recorded as history;
Of tall tales to justify mystery
It's the thin wedge-end

The Pharaoh at Cairo
While writing in biro
Cried out “To explain this I lack words!
My symbols are coming out backwards:
First glyphics, then hiero!”

The Prophet Mahomet
While watching a comet
Proceeding across the night sky
Regretted that he couldn't fly
Like Wallace and Gromit

Francis of Assisi
Liked taking it easy
And shooting the breeze with the birds
Such intercourse needed no words
Unlike us on PC

The Mayor of Granada
Was climbing a ladder
Attempting to take the Alhambra;
Despairing, he muttered “Caramba!
I need an armada”

The name is James Bond
I'm blasé but fond
Of cars, weapons, vodka, and schemin'
To shoot foreign men, shag their women
And smartly abscond

In Caroline Britain
Soft ditties were written
To praise Charles the First to the skies
But with rolling of puritan eyes
The monarch was smitten

King Arthur, whose knights
Were always in fights
Over precedence, made a round table
Despite which he still wasn't able
To put them to rights

Monsieur Marcel Proust
Got a memory boost
From a little French bun (not the hairdo)
And À la Recherche du Temps Perdu
He therefore produced

The prophet Elijah
If he sat beside you
Would cause you discomfort and pain
And if you asked him to refrain
I doubt he'd oblige you

Today’s Dalai Lama
Was born to a farmer
In far-off northeastern Tibet
If you wonder what caused him to get
Promoted, it's karma

The French novelist
George Sand, would insist
On sex that was hearty and heady
So she lost no time putting Freddy
On her Chopin list

The Great Captain Cook
Sailed south for a look
At a very rare transit of Venus
The officers said “Whip my hawser!”
The seamen said “Blimey!”

Oscar F Wilde
Was constantly smiled
On, by those who enjoyed his polemics
And also by gruff academics
His wit had beguiled

Now Oscar's a saint
His enemies ain't
Looking good, turning up their proud noses
At loving that now smells of roses.
Is not the world quaint?

The great Bernard Shaw
Gained knowledge galore
By reading the Encyclopædia;
Googling now we find speedier
And less of a chore

Philosophical infestations

Socrates caused a ripple
By saying “One sip'll
Allow my poor soul to get out
So keep all your red wine and stout
Now hemlock's my tipple”

Great Plato, the master
Averted disaster
Like that which befell Socrates
He lived to old age in great ease
And rarely got plastered

René Descartes
Cared not a fart
For geometry non-algebraic;
Co-ordinates, though formulaic
Were close to his heart

The famous John Locke
Was easy to knock
And George Berkeley knocked out his stuffing
By showing that there can be nothing
Inert in a rock

Arthur Schopenhauer
Got caught in a shower
But made no attempt to stay dry
He had an idea he could try
But lacked the will-power

Music and musicians

Busoni would do no
Such thing; it was Gounod
Who added an Ave Maria
To Bach's Prelude for the Clavier
As of course you know

Sebastian Bach
Fulfilling a lack
Wrote regular weekly cantatas
In such compositional matters
He had quite a knack

The young William Lawes
Won hearts and applause
By playing his violl with passion;
When monarchy went out of fashion
He died in the cause

When Ludwig Beethoven
Got fed up of roving
The streets of Vienna, he'd stump
To his flat, which resembled a dump,
In a hat that was stove in

The great Johann Strauss
Was famed for his house
Kept spotlessly clean by the missus
To whom he responded with kisses
And Die Fledermaus

The young Amadeus
Was put on display as
A prodigy by his fond daddy;
Though hailed as divine while a lad, he
Descended to chaos

Debussy's another—
La Mère was his mother—
Tempestuous, sparkling, brooding;
He captured her motions, including
The surge and the shudder

While living alone
Debussy had grown
Morose, misanthropic and seedy
And wrote Prélude à l'après-midi
For his mobile faune

When Guido d'Arezzo
Was using a fretsaw
He cut his Guidonian hand
But said to his pupils “I'm grand—
Take an intermezzo”

The Prince of Venosa
Gesualdo, composer
Of music that made himself cry,
Despatched both his wife and her guy
Then got lachrymoser

It's true Jean Sibelius
Composed many failures
And yet they are hard to exhume;
He used various noms de plume
(What lawyers call 'alias')

Luca Marenzio
Abhorred a silenzio
His madrigals count as pure treasure;
You must be a boor beyond measure
If such stuff offends you

Gods and mortals

When you're in a boat
Take care not to gloat
Over jellyfish, molluscs or fishes.
The gods hear; you need their good wishes
To keep you afloat

I made a plan one day
To try church on Sunday
But left while the bell was still ringing
The sheet said the choir would be singing
An anthem by Munday

If heaven's so great
We're better off late
So nuke us all now on our way
And when we get there we will pray
For you the same fate

From nothing we've come
And when we succumb
It's straight back to nothing, they say
So what have we lost on the way?
Why, nothing old chum!

Café Canterbury:
Our waiters are very
Well-spoken; the fare that they dish up,
Though simple, is fit for a bishop—
Dry bread and sweet sherry

A bishop of Sarum
Was seen in a barroom
Conversing at length with young men
About hocus-pocus and then
About harum-scarum

Politicians and others

The British Prime Minister
Starts turning sinister
When somebody mentions the euro;
He makes occult signs at the Bureau
And puts them all in a stir

The young Enoch Powell
Was wearing a towel
While gardening, to cover his nudity.
It slipped; the bystanders who viewed it he
Hit with his trowel.

Osama bin Laden
Said “If I can madden
America, they might attack
That Ba'athard that's running Iraq”
Oh he was a bad 'un

The joys of recumbency

It has to be said
That lying in bed
Is not the worst way to spend Tuesday
So if it's your singing-the-blues day
Then go right ahead

As I lay in bed
It entered my head
That I should keep open my eyes, as
The world can be full of surprises;
I closed them instead

The sun rose in fire,
Grew hotter and higher
To dominate all at its noon,
Then rode to its setting-place; soon
The day will expire

World Snooker Championship 2003

On the occasion of Ken Doherty making an amazing come-back in what seemed a lost round:—

Ken Doherty's name
Sets Dublin aflame
As he knocks them in frame after frame
John Higgins is left looking lame
More power to your game!

The punters have punted
The balls have been shunted
From end to end; sorry to say
It looks, with superior play,
As though Ken has been Hunted

Well Ken is the guy
To give it a try
And haul the game back from oblivion;
And I'm a twelfth-century Bolivian
And piggies might fly

Now Ken has done wellish
And not to embellish
The faithless prediction I made,
My words, though remaining displayed,
I now eat with relish

In ancient Bolivia
I live by the river Ya-
catupi, majestic and big;
While nibbling wings of roast pig
I play games of trivia

Miscellaneous mutterings

If life is a joke
Then why should a bloke
Take umbrage and find it unfunny?
Accept it: sometimes you have money,
More often you're broke

When dancing the tango
Do not let your hand go
Below your co-tangoist's waist
It's tempting, but very poor taste
According to Django

At twenty-six paces
I can't tell the faces
Of friends from my deadliest rival
Which doesn't bode well for survival
In desperate cases

If anyone goes up
Sufficiently close up
And slanders me where I can see
He'll get a rude answer from me
I'll soften his nose up

There once was a man
Whose horse 'also ran'
Whenever he'd pick one and back it
Till he said “Had enough of this racket
And I'm not a fan”

That miserly chap
He got in a flap
When anyone asked him a favour
And for his wife's birthday he gave her
Some fresh bubble wrap

A fellow from Bray
Whose hair first went grey
Then fell out, decided to rig
Himself out in a fiery horned wig:
The “Devil Toupée”

I may be mistaken
I'm certainly making
No claim I would swear to in court
But Chu Hon Fat here says he's bought
Some good flying bacon

I told my friend Bradley
“I notice how badly
Your wife treats you when you're together,
She even blames you for the weather—
She must love you madly”

The impulse to chat
Is stronger than that
To tidy the room of your bedstead
So let us just chat right ahead, said
The aristocrat

Music, Wittgenstein
And crosswords are fine
To save the brain cells from decay
With half an hour's Scrabble a day
I exercise mine

What's sauce for the goose
Will surely produce
Enhancement alike in the gander
Though one might prefer something blander
To go with couscous

The Beatles' was yellow
And though they lived well, oh
I'd hate to be cooped in a sub!
No matter how tasty the grub
The farts would be mellow

“Come on, Dad, let's go!
We're late for the show!”
Called out an impatient young lad
To whom his long-suffering dad
Said “Andy, a mo!”

History of the Rimickle

The Rimickle3 was spawned on the 7th of April 2003 in the h2g2 thread 'Each Post a Limerick' when McKay The Disorganised entered a slightly loose-knit limerick as post 827:

So we mess about in rhyme
Killing hours, wasting time
Whilst elsewhere 'neath a burning sun
A young man sits and clutches a gun
And a death knell starts to chime

—in reference to the invasion of Iraq then going on (and banned for discussion in h2g2).

Recumbentman replied (post 828):

A change to the norm
Refreshes the form—
Why not have long lines in the middle?
Meanwhile the East burns as we fiddle
To keep ourselves warm

but Oggie felt:

this departure from normal is gross
it leads to feelings morose
good folk cannot change
what the masters arrange
you will perish before you come close

while Trillian's Child confessed:

Though a stickler for tradition, I am
in awe of Recumbentman
A Limerick variation
For his own recreation
Is fine by me, despite strangeness of scan.

Next day Mr Christopher added a verse, to his own choice of scansion (4, 4, 10, 10, 4):
On column tall,
Up there, sat Paul
A saintly fellow who felt that his prayer
Would be carried high and long through the air
Like a bird call

Ekki pleaded:
This thread is needing excised
of the madness of which it's comprised
Can't say I'm a fan
of adjustments to scan
they just leave my brain liquidised

and wishing to stop muddying the pure waters of the Limerick thread Recumbentman set up another devoted entirely to the new form, and told the Limerick thread readers:
Those who take our new form as a gimmick'll
Predictably find it inimical;
Perhaps a new thread
Is called for instead:
Let's start one called "Each post a Rimickle"

Almost two hundred postings were made to the new thread between April and midsummer 2003. The major contributors were Mr. Christopher, Chaiwallah and Recumbentman4. This Guide Entry, assembled by Recumbentman, is restricted to his own efforts in those first three months, edited, tightened, corrected and improved.

The form of the rimickle

There's a chap in some college
Compiling antholog
-ies of vapid verses like these
So here are some scraps to increase
The sum of his knowledge

Whatever your mood
Reflective or rude
These rhymes can convey the essential
From thoughts with life-changing potential
To pranks in the nude

A rimickle must
Be five lines long, just
Like this, two long ones in the middle
We've got to make sense of this riddle
And solve it or bust

A syllable count
Should give the amount
Five, five, eight, eight, five, line by line
A small variation is fine
But in-or-around

In six-eight time place
A seven-bar phrase:
One bar (with its upbeat), repeated;
A bar and a half, twice; completed
With one bar, I says

Now some smart Alicks
Will point out “That's six”
But twice you will need to hold steady
For half a bar's rest. When that's ready
The rimickle clicks

Some people think that anything goes
But I'm not one of those;
Some treat poetic metre like trash
And jettison it altogether (for instance Ogden Nash)
But in my humble opinion free verse, as Jeremy Bentham
once wisely remarked, is merely unjustified prose

A verse needs a beat, or
Some regular metre
To drive it along with a scamper;
Without it your squib will be damper
Than unsalted petre

Enough of this stuff—
A poem that's rough
And ready will make its point better
Than one that abides by the letter;
They're best off the cuff

1To find the history of the rimickle, click below on the number of footnote 3.2No doubt he would have said rather "Je ne suis pas cheval moi hein zut alors"3Yes, click the coloured "3" just here to the left.4In November 2003 the thread was revived by a visit from Lurcher, and it lurched unsteadily on for a short while before collapsing, presumably for good.

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