Applied Poetry

Posted: January 20, 2008 in News and politics

This morning I am reading a poem forwarded to me by Garrison Keillor in today’s edition of The Writer’s Almanac called “The Jumblies” by Edward Lear. You know Edward Lear, Mrs. Lear’s little boy Edward, right? I am going to bet that Edward Lear isn’t very well known because there is no link to any web-site that has information about him as is usually the case in Garrison’s daily missives. But Mrs. Lear’s little boy has written an absolutely delightful poem that I intend to read to my grandsons. I haven’t read anything to them for a long time because the usually reading time – bed-time – finds me pounding my ear because I have to get up at 1 AM most mornings to eat and get ready to go out, with my son, to deliver papers. But, this poem will get read or my name isn’t Sweet Old Bob. Ok, here’s the poem. It is public domain so I can include it here without fear of violating a copyright.

 


The Jumblies
by
Edward Lear

                                 I
They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
   In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
   In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, "You’ll all be drowned!"
They called aloud, "Our Sieve ain’t big,
But we don’t care a button! we don’t care a fig!
   In a Sieve we’ll go to sea!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

                                 II
They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
   In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
   To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,
"O won’t they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it’s extremely wrong
   In a Sieve to sail so fast!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

                                 III
The water it soon came in, it did,
   That water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
   And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, "How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
While round in our Sieve we spin!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

                                 IV
And all night long they sailed away;
   And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
   In the shade of the mountains brown.
   "O Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a sieve and a crockery-jar;
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
   In the shade of the mountains brown!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

                                 V
They sailed to the
Western Sea, they did,
   To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
   And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
   And no end of Stilton Cheese
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

                                 VI
And in twenty years they all came back,
   In twenty years or more,
And every one said, ‘How tall they’ve grown!
For they’ve been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
   And the hills of the Chankly Bore;
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, "If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve, ~
   To the hills of the Chankly Bore!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve


 

All that being said I must get to the point of this piece about applied poetry. You’ve never heard of applied poetry? Well, why not? There’s applied math. Why can’t there be applied poetry? The truth being said I can often read a really good poem and find an application in my life; and this one offers a particularly apt application: our present presidential campaign. The application I am finding is the increasing likelihood that we democrats are going to deem Hillary Rodham Clinton our next nominee for President of the United States. The question is, “are we going to put to sea in a sieve?”

For those of us who were Deaneacs during the last presidential election cycle it might be disheartening to see Barack Obama as the best candidate and have our wishes tromped by the collective wisdom of the majority of democrats. When I go to Seattle to find the Barack Obama election headquarters I will make the comparison to the one I visited many times dedicated to Howard Dean’s candidacy. I haven’t decided yet whether I will simply walk away or acquire (probably purchase) multiple copies of campaign posters, buttons, etc. to proudly display in Bremerton and the surrounding area. I will probably ride the bus all around Kitsap County to show off my pick for president. And, shame on me for being a precinct committee officer and brazenly displaying my preference for the democratic nominee for president. I won’t find out until next Tuesday at the Kitsap Democrats’ meeting and its emphasis on training for the upcoming caucus. To date, the most onerous proscription for P. C. O.’s is that of having to run the caucus for his/her precinct in a fair and equitable manner if it includes the proscription against speaking for or against a candidate or candidates. The last presidential caucus I attended the P. C. O. did not show his preference to my recollection. I might be wrong. I don’t think he showed up at the Kitsap County Democratic convention so I think he wasn’t a very good P. C. O. Maybe I am remembering the last P. C. O. for my new precinct where I moved a couple of years ago. He definitely was not at the county convention: shame on him. Maybe it was because he backed the track [1]and was effectively rebuffed by the vast majority of democrats in Kitsap County. After he asked the other two attendees our thoughts he told us his preference. I don’t have any problem with that. Maybe that is the prescribed way to conduct a caucus; I’ll find out Tuesday.


[1] This refers to the movement to have a nationally approved racetrack in Kitsap county.

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