Saturday, 15 November 2008

Give a Doggerel a Bad Name

Doggerel has a bad name in the Dictionaries of the World.

It is usually defined as a derogatory term for poetry considered of little literary value. The word probably derives from dog, suggesting either ugliness or unpalatability (as in food fit only for dogs)... trite, cliche, or overly sentimental content, forced or imprecise rhymes, faulty metre. A sort of loose or irregular verse; mean or undignified poetry. Pejorative words include rude, crude, poor, trivial

Well, with doggedness I'm going to campaign to have all the pejorativity removed and shift the meaning towards what some American dictionaries say "often of a humorous or burlesque nature". Work of the likes of Pam Ayres, Spike Milligan or Ogden Nash is not really poetry so it needs its own word....doggerel

Here's a few nice bits of doggerel

On yonder hill, there stood a coo
It's no there noo
It must have shifted

Often said to be by William Topaz McGonagall but he never used Scottish slang.
It is likely to have been by Spike Milligan in a sketch about Mc Goonagall

Howsabout this gem written by I know not

Hogamus, higamus
Men are polygamous
Higamus, hogamus
Women, monogamous

Or this by Roland Young

And here's the happy bounding flea?
You cannot tell the he from she.
The sexes look alike, you see
But she can tell and so can he. . . .

Or these by Ogden Nash

Celery, raw

Develops the jaw,

But celery, stewed,

Is more quietly chewed.

The Cow

The cow is of the bovine ilk;

One end is moo, the other, milk.

Or this by Me, inspired by Gary Larson's The Far Side cartoon, shown at the top of this page where Noah is saying "Listen up, we're going to do this alphabetically"

To all the animals waiting
At the gang plank of the Ark
Noah said "Load up alphabetically
Starting with aardvark"

The adder was very happy
The antelope said "good call"
But the yak and the zebra
Just weren't happy at all

"OK", said Noah "lets start with the ones with the fewest legs"
A centipede said "that's absurd"
"Well what a good idea"
Said a stork to another bird

So all the birds prepared to load
Filing in two by two
"I must be first " came the shout
Of a little kangaroo

"Wait your turn" said the birds
"You've got two legs just like us
Try to be patient
Stop making all this fuss"

It took a while for the little joey
To emerge from the bunch
It's not easy to hop when one of your legs
Was once a crocodile's lunch

It should be us, but we'll just swim
Said two hunch backed whales
"We must be first" said two french frogs
Assisted by two snails

All at once the heavens opened
Heavy rain came falling down
Noah said "Let's start with the smallest
Or they will surely drown

"Yippee" said the flea
"Aye, aye" said the fly
"Bah poey" was the call
Of both hippopotami

How long it took, we'll never know
But one thing's for sure
Noah spent the 40 days and nights
Shovelling manure

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