There Was An Old Man, Name Of Julius
THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN MUCH ADO about “The Ides of March.” We can pin that on William Shakespeare and his dramatic version of the offing of Julius Caesar. Also known as “Brutus and The Boys Giving the Shank to the Boss.” There have been plays, movies, books, a ballet and an opera about Julius going for a dirt nap. I’m also aware of a limerick about it all.
“Beware the Ides of March,”
Said the Sage from on top of the Arch.
But Caesar ignored him
And went to the Forum
And got stabbed right in the gazarch.
I didn’t say it was a good limerick.
Of course, every month has an “Ides.” There is an “Ides of October,” but nobody of note ever got killed on that day – so – no plays, movies, or even limericks have been penned highlighting that day.
According to the universally accepted infallible source of information called Wikipedia a limerick is, “A form of poetry, especially one in five-line, predominantly anapestic meter with a strict rhyme scheme (AABBA).”
That’s pretty heavy duty for Wikipedia.
“Anapestic” is NOT the name of the village in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Even I know that.
I thought that anything that was “anapestic” needed to be washed in boiling water, or at least, according to all the cowboy movies I’ve seen, held into an open fire for a few seconds. But I could be wrong.
Now that I think about it over coffee, most limericks could benefit from both or either of those practices before publishing.
Wikipedia goes on to say that most limericks are obscene – at least the good ones. The ones that are not obscene tend to end up in advertising and are extremely lame. That puts the limerick in the same lifeboat with most other poetry of any form or structure.
I’m sorry. I don’t mean to slam poetry or poets. It’s just that most of the poetry I’ve ever read screams out at me, “I was written by a college freshman who is an insufferable pain and hangs out with other insufferable pains. At some point this poet will either begin to smoke a pipe or cut their own hair with pinking shears.”
The world has produced some wonderful poets who, on rare occasion, produce some wonderful poetry. Unfortunately, their good stuff gets wiped out by a tsunami of the other 99% of poetry that wouldn’t make the cut at the Hallmark store in the mall.
I say these things openly admitting that I have never written a decent poem in my life that I suspect would please anyone who is both sober and beyond the range of your local Junior College. If you need a limerick of questionable taste – I’m your man, but a poetic retelling of the Fall of Troy – try hanging out at the Student Lounge.
So, why am I writing about poetry and the Ides of March on March the 1st? Two reasons:
- I needed to post something for this day.
- I wanted to be the first person to do so, avoiding the rush.
I really didn’t want to wait until the last minute and risk being stabbed right in the gazarch.