(Poem #421) The Jungle Husband
Dearest Evelyn, I often think of you Out with the guns in the jungle stew Yesterday I hittapotamus I put the measurements down for you but they got lost in the fuss It's not a good thing to drink out here You know, I've practically given it up dear. Tomorrow I am going alone a long way Into the jungle. It is all grey But green on top Only sometimes when a tree has fallen The sun comes down plop, it is quite appalling. You never want to go in a jungle pool In the hot sun, it would be the act of a fool Because it's always full of anacondas, Evelyn, not looking ill-fed I'll say. So no more now, from your loving husband Wilfred.
Stevie Smith's poetry is beguilingly simple, and incredibly impossible to imitate. It _sounds_ childlike, artless, direct; in reality, it betokens a complete and utter originality: she's certainly one of the most distinctive voices of the mid 20th century. Which raises the question, why isn't she more famous? I know I like her poetry; I like its irreverence and its whimsy and its no-holds-barred attitude to a number of society's sacred cows. But somehow, her poems are not _quite_ there - they fall just short of greatness. Maybe her subjects are too light; maybe her verse is just too pithy - I don't know. Pity. But I enjoy them anyway. thomas. [Links] There's a nice biography of Stevie Smith (and an essay wondering why her poetry isn't more widely read) at [broken link] http://community.wow.net/folio/Stevie_Smith.html 'hittapotamus' is straight out of Ogden Nash (though if I remember aright, Smith's poem predates Nash by a goodly bit). Assorted pieces of Nashery can be found at the Minstrels website, [broken link] http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/index_poet.html