I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Monday, 13 April 2015

"I have a go" (Archie Rice)

Limerick trio

A writer of modest ambition,
Undergoing a late circumcision,
Said to he who was cutting:
"Please allow me to butt in,
I'm keen to lose no ammunition."

"Fear not," said the scalpel technician,
"You are part of a bookish tradition.
In trimming your member,
I'll not harm your gender,
Just bring out a smaller edition."

"I like that, it gives me a frisson,"
Said the scribe,"You have my permission,
To carve with free rein,
Taking care to retain,
A way to ensure micturition."

Query: "Said to he" or "Said to him"?


  1. "I'm trimming your member." Possibly the funniest line I have ever read in a limerick! Not sure why, maybe only us girls would laugh at that.

  2. I believe "he" is correct, it is a subject pronoun substituting for "Dr", "surgeon", or a proper name. Clever/funny!

  3. All: Auden said one of the signs of being a poet is that he or she is "always at it" - trying out more distant forms like villanelles, seeing if the format can be made to work. Only for the notebook, of course - a bit like a pianist running off études instead of scales.

    I am no poet but I like fiddling about with words. Writing more testing prose even at the risk of leaving the end-product obscure: in effect setting puzzles and seeing if I can wriggle out of them.

    Sitting in front of my computer wasting time (eg, playing solitaire, reading readers' comments to posts I wrote as Barrett Bonden for Works Well) I was suddenly struck by what a gift to versifiers words ending with "-ition" are. There are hundreds of them. The only thing was that one limerick, on its own, wouldn't sufficiently demonstrate this richness. The subsequent porny tone - VR would say - is proof I went to an all-boys public (ie, UK private or fee-paying) school.

    Thanks for responding. Not for the first time I wondered whether I'd overstepped the mark.

    Ellena: The patient is a writer, the surgeon says the patient and the op are part of a bookish tradition, a byproduct of the op is that the member ends up reduced, hence - in publishing terms - "a smaller edition". A play on words, known in the early nineteenth century as "a clinch".

    Blonde Two: As is usual with stuff I write, women end up on top (more porny tone). Even where, as here, they're not even mentioned.

    MikeM: I'm sure you're right. I was worried that I appeared to need an accusative pronoun in that one cannot speak to "he".

  4. Oh RR, I had understood that part.
    Just surprised that a surgeon would give wrong info. Patient should have chosen a good mohel for this job.

  5. You could be right too, RR. I'm going with "for poetry, rules are out the window".

  6. Well I should think it would shrink at the prospect. Oddly perhaps, the bit which makes me wince most is the word 'micturition', don't ask me why.

    'Said to him' I think; the pronoun belongs surely to the primary clause first rather than the subordinate 'who' one? Rhyming 'frisson' with the 'ɪʃən/ɪʒən' suffixes amuses me.

  7. I could see "him" if "he" had been previously named. Given the edit, I'd go with "Said to his surgeon cutting", picking up the first syllable rhyme in surgeon/circumcision.

  8. MikeM: Oh no, the best limericks should parse and scan. As with (not mine):

    A tiger with tastes anthropophagus,
    Felt a yearning inside his oesophagus,
    When he spied a fat Brahmin,
    He said, "What's the harm in,
    A peripatetic sarcophagus?"

    Lucy: I won't ask. I'll merely assume you gave it up for Lent.

    Frisson. There's an intellectual snob thing here. Having established that these limericks are a riff on "-ission" words I then deliberately break this self-imposed rule in a way that shows - to intellectual snob readers - that I know what I'm doing and that I know that they know.

    I note you are part of this game. Hence the phonetic symbols.

    MikeM: Alas it doesn't scan. The right number of syllables but the stresses aren't right. The simplest solution is:

    Said, regarding the cutting,

    Time for a small confession. I'm blessed with readers resident in the Northern American continent (or is it sub-continent?) but this means that comments from even the most sedulous are delayed. Most are at bye-byes when I'm posting. As a result, I often feel I may re-write posts I'm subsequently dissatisfied with, without the NA audience seeing the inferior version. Several lines in the above limericks were changed half an hour or so after posting.

    However, I always have to bear you in mind. Like a variant of the US's early warning system for missiles you get up at some unholy hour and have been known to slip me a reaction - between sips of intellect-enhancing coffee - much earlier than most. Thus when I make these post-publication corrections I'm often on tenterhooks wondering whether I'm a few minutes late and you've seen me with my pants down. Knowing that sooner or later you will.