The HyperTexts

The Best Doggerel of Michael R. Burch
The Best Nonsense Verse of Michael R. Burch
The Best Subversive Verse of Michael R. Burch
A Brief History of Doggerel and Nonsense Verse

Is it an oxymoron to combine the terms "best" and "doggerel"? Is there such a thing as "good doggerel"? I think so, but I will simply present my work in the genre and let you be the judge ...

by Michael R. Burch

The limerick is one of the most common and most popular forms of doggerel. This is one of my favorite limericks:

There was a young lady named Bright
Who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day,
In a relative way,
And came back the previous night.
—Arthur Henry Reginald Buller

I find it interesting that one of the best revelations of the weirdness and zaniness of relativity can be found in a limerick! The limerick above inspired me to pen a rejoinder:

Ass-Tronomical
by Michael R. Burch

Einstein, the frizzy-haired,
proved E equals MC squared.
Thus, all mass decreases
as activity ceases?
Not my mass, my ass declared!

If you like any of my poems, you're free to share them for noncommercial purposes, as long as I'm credited as the poet.

These are "subversive" poems of mine, pardon the pun:

Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.

I came up with this epigram after reading the Bible from cover to cover at age eleven, and wondering how anyone could call the biblical God "good."

What Would Santa Claus Say
by Michael R. Burch

What would Santa Claus say,
I wonder,
about Jesus returning
to Kill and Plunder?

For he’ll likely return
on Christmas Day
to blow the bad
little boys away!

When He flashes like lightning
across the skies
and many a homosexual
dies,

when the harlots and heretics
are ripped asunder,
what will the Easter Bunny think,
I wonder?

A Child’s Christmas Prayer of Despair for a Hindu Saint
by Michael R. Burch

Santa Claus, for Christmas, please,
don’t bring me toys, or games, or candy . . .
just . . . Santa, please,
I’m on my knees! . . .
please don’t let Jesus torture Gandhi!

Willy Nilly
by Michael R. Burch

for the Demiurge, aka Yahweh/Jehovah

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
You made the stallion,
you made the filly,
and now they sleep
in the dark earth, stilly.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
You forced them to run
all their days uphilly.
They ran till they dropped—
life’s a pickle, dilly.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?
They say I should worship you!
Oh, really!
They say I should pray
so you’ll not act illy.
Isn’t it silly, Willy Nilly?

A Brief History of Doggerel and Nonsense Verse (the dates are the poets' birthdates, or approximates)

1343 - Geoffrey Chaucer coined the term "rym doggerel" for his Tale of Sir Topas, a burlesque of long-winded medieval romances.
1460 - John Skelton described his rhymes as "ragged, tattered and jagged" in Colin Clout.
1552 - Edmund Spenser wrote Mother Hubberd's Tale, the first known example of the Mother Goose tales.
1564 - William Shakespeare employed limericks and/or limerick meter in Othello, King Lear and The Tempest.
1613 - Samuel Butler employed doggerel in his long narrative satire Hudibras.
1626 - The first texts containing the French terms mere l’oye or mere oye (Mother Goose). 
1812 - Edward Lear popularized the limerick form with his popular Book of Nonsense.
1825 - William McGonagall became famous (or infamous) for his doggerel.
1832 - Lewis Carroll employed doggerel in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
1902 - Ogden Nash would become one of the best-known modern penners of doggerel.
1904 - Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, has probably made more money from doggerel than anyone.

Animal Limericks

Dot Spotted
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a leopardess, Dot,
who indignantly answered: "I’ll not!
The gents are impressed
with the way that I’m dressed.
I wouldn’t change even one spot."

Stage Craft-y
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a dromedary
who befriended a crafty canary.
Budgie said, "You can’t sing,
but now, here’s the thing—
just think of the tunes you can carry!"

Clyde Lied!
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a mockingbird, Clyde,
who bragged of his prowess, but lied.
To his new wife he sighed,
"When again, gentle bride?"
"Nevermore!" bright-eyed Raven replied.

Other Animal Poems

Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!

Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.

honeybee
by Michael R. Burch

love was a little treble thing—
prone to sing
and sometimes to sting

Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
by Michael R. Burch

Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
the bees rise
in a dizzy circle of two.
Oh, when I’m with you,
I feel like kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’ too.

Generation Gap
by Michael R. Burch

A quahog clam,
age 405,
said, “Hey, it’s great
to be alive!”

I disagreed,
not feeling nifty,
babe though I am,
just pushing fifty.

Note: A quahog clam found off the coast of Ireland is the longest-lived animal on record, at an estimated age of 405 years.

Naughty & Bawdy Limericks

There was a young gal name of Sally
Who loved an occasional dally.
She sat on the lap
Of a well-endowed chap
Crying, "Gee, Dick, you're right up my alley!"
—Anonymous (I touched this one up slightly)

There was a lewd whore from Nantucket
who intended to pee in a bucket;
but she was really a man
so she missed the damn can
and her johns fled the joint, crying, "Fuck it!"
—Variation on a classic limerick by Michael R. Burch

There once was a manic bartender,
a transvestite who went on a bender.
"I cut myself off,"
she exclaimed with a sob,
"there’s the evidence, there in the blender!"
Michael R. Burch

Shotgun Bedding

A pedestrian pediatrician
set out on a dangerous mission;
though his child bride, Lolita,
was a sweet senorita,
her pa's shotgun cut off his emissions.
Michael R. Burch

As one critic put it, the limerick "is the vehicle of cultivated, unrepressed sexual humor in the English language." But while some experts claim that the only "real" limerick is a bawdy one, the form really took off initially, in terms of popularity, as a vehicle for nonsense verse and children's poems. And the limerick has has frequently been used for political purposes. Here are are three muckraking limericks of mine:

Baked Alaskan

There is a strange yokel so flirty
she makes whores seem icons of purity.
With all her winkin’ and blinkin’
Palin seems to be "thinkin’"—
"Ah culd save th’ free world ’cause ah’m purty!"


Copyright 2012 by Michael R. Burch
from Signs of the Apocalypse
all Rights and Violent Shudderings Reserved

Going Rogue in Rouge

It'll be hard to polish that apple
enough to make her seem palatable.
Though she's sweeter than Snapple
how can my mind grapple
with stupidity so nearly infallible?


Copyright 2012 by Michael R. Burch
from Signs of the Apocalypse
all Rights and Violent Shudderings Reserved

Pls refudiate

“Refudiate” this,
miffed, misunderstood Ms!—
Shakespeare, you’re not
(more like Yoda, but hot).
Your grammar’s atrocious;
Great Poets would know this.

You lack any plan
save to flatten Iran
like some cute Mini-Me
cloned from G. W. B.

Admit it, Ms. Palin!
Stop your winkin’ and wailin’—
only “heroes” like Nero
fiddle sparks at Ground Zero.


Copyright 2012 by Michael R. Burch
from Signs of the Apocalypse
all Rights and Violent Shudderings Reserved

I wrote the last poem above after Sarah Palin compared herself to Shakespeare, who coined new words, rather than admit her mistake when she used "refudiate" in a Tweet rather than "repudiate." The copyright notices above are ironic, as the poems above were written and published before 2012.

Nonsense Verse

There was an old man from Peru
who dreamed he was eating his shoe.
He awoke in the night
with a terrible fright
to discover his dream had come true.
—Variation on a classic limerick by Michael R. Burch

There once was a mockingbird, Clyde,
who bragged of his prowess, but lied.
To his new wife he sighed,
"When again, gentle bride?"
"Nevermore!" bright-eyed Raven replied.
Michael R. Burch

Dear Ed: I don’t understand why
you will publish this other guy—
when I’m brilliant, devoted,
one hell of a poet!
Yet you publish Anonymous. Fie!

Fie! A pox on your head if you favor
this poet who’s dubious, unsavor
y, inconsistent in texts,
no address (I checked!):
since he’s plagiarized Unknown, I’ll wager!
—"The Better Man" by Michael R. Burch

The English are very hospitable,
but tea-less, alas, they grow pitiable ...
or pitiless, rather,
and quite in a lather!
O bother, they're more than formidable.
—"Of Tetley’s and V-2's," or, "Why Not to Bomb the Brits" by Michael R. Burch

Relativity, the theorists’ creed,
proves all mass increases with speed.
My ass grows when I sit it.
Albert Einstein, get with it;
equate its deflation, I plead!
Michael R. Burch
 
Hawking, who makes my head spin,
says time may flow backward. I grin,
imagining the surprise
in my mothers’ eyes
when I head for the womb once again!
Michael R. Burch

Hawking’s "Brief History of Time"
is such a relief! How sublime
that time, in reverse,
may un-write this verse
and un-spend my last thin dime!
Michael R. Burch

A proper young auditor, white
as a sheet, like a ghost in the night,
saw his dreams, his career
in a "poof!" disappear,
and then, strangely Enronic, his wife.
Michael R. Burch
 
There once was a troglodyte, Mary,
whose poots were impressively airy.
To her children’s deep shame,
their foul condo became
the first cave to employ a canary.
Michael R. Burch

There once was a Baptist named Mel
who condemned all non-Christians to hell.
When he stood before God
he felt like a clod
to discover His Love couldn’t fail!
Michael R. Burch

Longer Doggerel

When I Was Small, I Grew
by Michael R. Burch

When I was small,
God held me in thrall:
Yes, He was my All
but my spirit was crushed.

As I grew older
my passions grew bolder
even as Christ grew colder.
My distraught mother blushed:

what was I thinking,
with feral lust stinking?
If I saw a girl winking
my face, heated, flushed.

“Go see the pastor!”
Mom screamed. A disaster.
I whacked away faster,
hellbound, yet nonplused.

Whips! Chains! Domination!
Sweet, sweet, my Elation!
With each new sensation,
blue blood groinward rushed.

Did God disapprove?
Was Christ not behooved?
At least I was moved
by my hellish lust.

The HyperTexts