This is but one of several works attributed by Wendy Cope to the impressionable South London poet Jason Strugnell, whose misfortune has been to fall under the all-too-obvious influence of one great poet after another... here, Strugnell encounters Edward Fitzgerald and Omar Khayyam:
(Poem #587) Strugnell's Rubaiyat
1 Awake! for Morning on the Pitch of Night Has whistled and has put the Stars to Flight. The incandescent football in the East Has brought the splendour of Tulse Hill to Light. 7 Another Pint! Come, loosen up, have Fun! Fling off your Hang-ups and enjoy the Sun: Time's Spacecraft all too soon will carry you Away - and Lo! the Countdown has begun 11 Here with a Bag of Crisps beneath the Bough, A Can of Beer, a Radio - and Thou Beside me half asleep in Brockwell Park And Brockwell Park is Paradise enow. 12 Some Men to everlasting Bliss aspire, Their lives, Auditions for the heavenly Choir: Oh, use your Credit Card and waive the Rest - Brave Music of a distant Amplifier! 26 Oh, come with Strugnell - Argument's no Tonic. One thing's certain: Life flies supersonic. One thing's certain: Man's Evasion chronic - The Flower that's blown can never be bionic. 51 The Moving Telex writes, and having writ, Moves on; nor all thy Therapy nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line Nor Tide nor Daz wash out a word of it.
Wendy Cope is one of the most gifted parodists around, and Strugnell's Rubaiyat invariably has me laughing out loud - especially the line about "the incandescent football in the East". Actually, it's not just the one line; the entire poem is blisteringly funny, transforming the sublime to the ridiculous with effortless ease. Where Khayyam talks amout Life and the Soul and Desire, Strugnell's subjects are humbler: the distant Amplifier, the Moving Telex, Therapy, Tide and Daz... thomas. PS. Time's Spacecraft - perhaps a descendant of Time's Winged Chariot? See Andrew Marvell, poem #158 [Links] The complete Rubaiyat can be found at http://www.arabiannights.org/rubaiyat/index2.html We've run a few excerpts from it in the past (including several of the verses parodied above); you can read them at poem #162 poem #342 poem #545 [Britannica on the Art of Parody] (Greek paroidía, "a song sung alongside another"), in literature, a form of satirical criticism or comic mockery that imitates the style and manner of a particular writer or school of writers so as to emphasize the weakness of the writer or the overused conventions of the school. Differing from burlesque by the depth of its technical penetration and from travesty, which treats dignified subjects in a trivial manner, true parody mercilessly exposes the tricks of manner and thought of its victim yet cannot be written without a thorough appreciation of the work that it ridicules. -- EB [thomas on the ditto] Incongruity, technical ingenuity, the inversion of the normal relationship between form and content, the conscious walking of a fine line between structural exactitude and semantic absurdity... I like parodies <grin>. [More Links] Parodies: poem #400 poem #468 Oft-parodied poems: poem #85 poem #88 poem #90 Poems run specifically for their parodies: poem #376 poem #378 poem #380 The most ingenious parody I've ever read: http://members.aol.com/s6sj7gt/mikerav.htm [Moreover] One of the most notorious hoaxes of recent years is Alan Sokal's classic paper "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity", which you can read at http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/transgress_v2/transgress_v2.html Paul Boghossian has an interesting followup thereto: http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/boghossian/papers/bog_tls.html And finally, I leave you with this [Bonus Poem] I liked the project not one bit. I didn't think I had a hope, But got it done, and this is it: A parody of Wendy Cope! -- Kit Wright