Since we’ve been speaking of wealth ’round here lately . . . a limerick for today’s feast:
When faced with a room full of clutter,
I’ve been known to piously utter,
“Help me to know,
what should stay, what should go?
Oh blessed Teresa of Calcutta!”
In other news: Chris Tollefsen writes brilliantly at Public Discourse today. I’m a shameless Chris T. fan, so no surprise that I like the message. But I don’t get to say it as often as I’d like: This is far and away his best piece ever. That I’ve seen, anyhow. Go take a look.
In places NOT to look: Front Porch Republic, which I subscribe to but very rarely read, because publishing just a snippet for the feed reader is a very effective way to discourage me from reading your work, recently ran a piece about liturgy and limericks. The idea was spot on, unfortunately the chosen limericks were dreadfully lewd. Really? Was that necessary? No it was not.
To which end, perhaps not the most incisive wit, but making the same point as the FPR piece:
The rabbit who traveled by plane
said, “Security can be such a pain.
They opened my baggage,
and out fell my cabbage,
and I had to re-pack it again.”
The point FPR was making? A good genre, delightful in its context, is not necessarily the right genre for the holy liturgy. And another example, same rabbit theme, we have quite the collection growing*:
To my door came a poor little bunny,
who needed to earn some money,
“I’ll cut your grass for a dime,
one bite at a time–“
But in the end, the lawn looked quite funny.
See? Perfectly moral, g-rated limericks. It can be done. And the argument FPR wants to make is stronger when you acknowledge the genre isn’t used soley for smut. Show tunes are wrong at Mass not because Hollywood’s a den of sin, or because the cabaret / jazz / pop sound is always and everywhere associated with immorality. It’s because these types of music are about something else — something that can be beautiful and true and good and inspiring — but it’s something other than the worship of God.
And thus a final contribution for today:
On the feast of Teresa of Calcutta,
this pundit is likely to mutter,
“You’re housed and you’re fed,
but your brain is half dead,
’till you rescue your wit from the gutter.”
Happy Feast Day. Straighten up and fly right, FPR.
*The limerick fest began because, to my genuine shock and surprise, no irony there, my teenage boy does not love his poetry course for literature. I was stunned. A teenager? Not like poetry? Really? It’s all about love, death and self-centered dramatizing . . . that should be just the thing! Certainly was for me at that age. SuperHusband wisely suggested we begin with something a little lighter. And thus I succeeded, not in converting my skeptical teen, but in launching a festival of animal-themed verse among the the two youngest.
I’ll take my victories where I can.
Meanwhile, any poetry recommendations for less-romantic, very modern boys, who mostly read Dr. Boli?
Rabbit Photo: Larry D. Moore [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
5 thoughts on “Verse and Censure for the Feast Day + Chris Tollefsen at Public Discourse”
My own limerick:
On a summer’s day so fine, a
trip to Denmark and Norway was mine. U
pon my return
From La France did I learn
I’d never left South Carolina.
Very silly. Approved.
Chesterton and Belloc might do; one of Belloc’s best works of verse, Cautionary Tales for Children, is a hilarious parody of stories told to children to make them behave.
I think that’s what I need. Thanks Brandon!
Update: Read the cautionary tales in one sitting. Assignment this week is to compose one of his own.