This is just poetry. It won't save you, but it may locate you so that a rescue party can be sent out. — Dean Blehert

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Replete With Gleet, I Bleet

Today I discovered gleet.
It's been right here in my lexicon all these years,
but I didn't seet.
Gleet: FORMERLY any morbid discharge from the
body [including feet?]
(And to the Scots, slimy matter, ooze--Neat!),
NOW a chronic mucous discharge from the Urethra
in Gonorrhea
[And maybe from other tribes in neighboring
nations?], another reason why condoms are
good forrhea.
Also, a "chronic discharge from the nasal cavities
of horses, etc."
(I wonder what is "etc." to the nasal cavities of
horses? Shall we discuss it long after we've
the soups and white-saurces et and especially
the tapioca courses? Let's!)
Also a verb; To gleet.
Gleetings, my fellow poets, and salivatations
wherever we may meet,
But not just before we eat.

[Note: A very silly poem a la Ogden Nash, who liked the variable line lengths and the forced rhymes, such as Gonorrhea rhymed with "good forrhea" -- that is, good for ya; and gleet rhymed with seet (see it); and the double outrage of rhyming "horses, etc." with "white-saurces et" (white sauces eaten) and "courses? Let's!"

(I thought white sauces and tapioca would be particularly hard to take during a discussion of gleet.)

What inspired the poem was, of course, in a dictionary, running into this word (gleet), amazed I'd never encountered it before, with all its juicy meanings, the sort relished by children, so easily enchanted by songs about greasy grimy gopher guts.

Many poets before Nash wrote stuff with irregular lines and bad rhymes, but Nash was one of the first to do it on purpose. Part of the fun of it is having the tail (rhyme) wag the dog (line rhythm and meter). In English, the rhythm of the line is far more important than the rhyme. Much English poetry lacks rhyme, but is recognizable as poetry because of regular meter (for example, most of Shakespeare's plays) or because of other rhythmic elements in the lines. Nash not only tossed out regular line lengths and kept rhyme, but emphasized the rhyme grotesquely with humorously strained rhymes. And what he did with his lines was done by a skilled writer of metrical poetry. He hid behind the irregularity all sorts of rhythmic elements. The main trick is that an extremely long line gets the reader to race through the words to get to the rhyme, after which a shorter line becomes slow and stressed, in contrast, enabling the poet to understate that last line and be more indirect, since the shortness of the line will give the reader pause enough to catch the poet's drift.

Not all of his poetry is in this form. And not all his poetry is humorous. But this form is most particularly his.

Nash's poetry has already out-lived the typical survival time for light verse. I think he'll be around for a long time. The Nash Rambler may yet outlive Chryslers and Chevrolets.]

Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
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