‘Poetry is Weird and Quite Possibly Illegal’

drawing, storage shelves with papersI have found that poetry describes itself in terms of both feet and meters, thereby flouting European Directives on measurement, which may still be a hanging offence in parts of Scotland[1]. Worse, I discovered that poets communicate using an exclusive and arcane language that looks like a hybrid of algebra and a medieval incantation. There are iambic pentameters, metonymys, tankas, and tragic flaws. There are also words I’m pretty sure have been made up and get changed, like code, so that only insiders know what they mean. I’m onto them though. These are some of the ones I think I’ve figured out:

Trochee: an operation you have when you’ve got your breathing spaces wrong in your performance poetry [cf trocheeostomy]

Enjambment: a distortion of enjambonment which is a crush at the ham counter of Sainsbury’s, or any branch of the Doggerel Bank.

Synecdoche: a form of currency used by the old East London Jewish community [cf ‘That’s a faarkin ridiculous amount of dosh!‘ in reference to the salaries of Premier League footballers.]

Quatrain: Gene Hunt’s[2] off-roader.

Squint poetry: poetry written in size 8 font.

Anapest: a type of wallpaper that obliterates tragic flaws.

Caesura: poetry needing radical surgery that ends up delivering a litter of haikus.

A Found Poem: something Network Rail Lost Property won’t let you have back even if you can prove it’s yours and no one else wants it anyway.

[1] The 2014 Scottish independence campaign wanted out of the UK but into Europe even though being in the UK meant they were also in Europe. The Conservatives, of course, were trying to get us all out of Europe and Alex Salmond was trying to get the Conservatives the hell out of Scotland. In the end, he still had both but he’s slung his hook and dumped the lot on another fish, Nicola Sturgeon.

[2] Life on Mars. The TV programme, not Bowie or anything Curiosity might have dug up and put in its pocket with its handkerchief.

From Not Being First Fish by P Spencer-Beck.  Available from Amazon (non-illustrated edition). Second edition (illustrated) due 2018


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