The Waste Land: Five Limericks [by Wendy Cope]

The Waste Land: Five Limericks

I

In April one seldom feels cheerful;
Dry stones, sun and dust make me fearful;
Clairvoyantes distress me,
Commuters depress me–
Met Stetson and gave him an earful.

II

She sat on a mighty fine chair,
Sparks flew as she tidied her hair;
She asks many questions,
I make few suggestions–
Bad as Albert and Lil–what a pair!

III

The Thames runs, bones rattle, rats creep;
Tiresias fancies a peep–
A typist is laid,
A record is played–
Wei la la. After this it gets deep.

IV

A Phoenician named Phlebas forgot
About birds and his business–the lot,
Which is no surprise,
Since he’d met his demise
And been left in the ocean to rot.

V

No water. Dry rocks and dry throats,
Then thunder, a shower of quotes
From the Sanskrit and Dante.
Da. Damyata. Shantih.
I hope you’ll make sense of the notes.

I like Wendy Cope’s poems – fun, clever and this one rhymes. I also have a thing about “The Waste Land”, which I find overlong, over intellectual, clever in an annoying way. It may be a great 20th century work of art but frankly it leaves me cold. Wendy Cope’s parody put humour back into dry Eliot

Wendy Cope - Literature

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