Sunday, 28 August 2011

Spike Milligan and Edward Lear

On the Ning Nang Nong  

On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!
There's a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang
And you just can't catch 'em when they do!
So its Ning Nang Nong
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning
Trees go ping
Nong Ning Nang
The mice go Clang
What a noisy place to belong
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!

-Spike Milligan

Because poetry just doesn't have to make sense to be great!

Spike Milligan eventually, after being in the army and appearing on TV shows, made a living writing nonsense poetry for children. He wrote over many different genres, family and animals being two of the main ones, but all of them were nonsense.

However, Spike Milligan was not the first nonsense poet. From my resources (Google) I've managed to trace the line of nonsense poets back to Edward Lear. 

Edward Lear was born on 12th May 1812 and was the 21st child of a middle class family. From a very early age Lear suffered from medical problems such as epileptic seizures, bronchitis, asthma, depression and even partial blindness later in his life. Lear felt guilty and lonely because of his conditions, mostly because in his time epilepsy was thought to be a sign of demonic possession and he was forced to remove himself from society when his condition got worse.

Lear travelled when his health permitted him, he never married although he was offered two proposals by women 46 years younger than him and after 18 years of heart disease Lear died in 1888.

Yet, throughout his long life full of sickness Lear managed to do the following things -

  • became a serious ornithological draughtsman (by the age of 16)
  • was employed by the Zoological Society
  • worked with the private menagerie of the Earl of Derby
  • published his first book the Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots (Aged 19)
  • gave drawing lessons to Queen Victoria
  • and went on to publish many volumes of nonsense poetry
 The most famous poem from Edward Lear was one that you may know quite well -

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are."
Pussy said to the Owl "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?"
 Said the Piggy, "I will"
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon. 

Sometimes I wonder how the public reacted when Lear first published his book of nonsense poetry. Did they treat it with scorn and dislike because it didn't measure up to the verses of Tennyson or Shakespeare? Or did they embrace the new genre that he had created and enjoy it for the work of fiction that it was?

But I guess I'll never know :)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

W.H.Auden, Funeral Blues

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

 - - - - -

This is my 'sad times' poem. Let me just explain that, have you ever had a moment where you are so angry or frustrated or upset or alone or all four and you really really really need to just cry and let off some steam but no matter what you do the tears just won't come? I know I have, and sometimes it happens weekly.

In those times I read or listen to this poem and I've found that the best reading by far is from Four Weddings and a Funeral (you can find it on youtube) because it just shows the amount of emotion that this poem needs to be awesome (in the original meaning of the word). This is also the version I managed to find and put onto my ipod just because sometimes you need to cry on-the-go.

From the very first line I start to cry and blubber and sniffle because these are feelings I can relate to personally which makes it hit my heart every time I read it.

So when you're sad, read this poem, savour the words, think about the meaning and love W.H. Auden for creating such a beautiful poem.

Other 'sad times' poems or songs I'd like to recommend are -
 - Song - Les Miserables, Fantine's Death (the 10th Anniversary by Ruthie Henshall)
 - Song - Wicked, I'm not that Girl
 - Poem - Do Not Stand at My Grave - Various versions are available
 - Song - Sarah McLachlan, Arms of the Angels

Until next time Readers x

Born from a Biro

This is my blog. I know what you're thinking...'well duh! What a way to state the obvious' but I thought it was an appropriate introduction for my first ever blog. So because this is an introductory blog I'm just going to lay out some facts for you...

 - Some of you may recognise the phrase "Born from a Boombox" from Step Up 3 and I decided to take this and adapt it to my life thus the title 'Born from a Biro' came to life.

- I am a reader, it's what I do, it's who I am and it's what shapes my life.

- When I'm not reading I'm usually writing, from poetry to fiction to fanfiction.

- I may not be any good at it or I may be brilliant at it (I get different reviews) I love to sing. It's something I've always done and always loved doing. I love to sing everything; church hymns, show tunes, pop, rock, opera.

- As you probably have guessed I also love to listen to music anything interest's me except techno which I really cannot stand because it really gets on my nerves.

- I guess the last thing to mention is films. Comedy, musicals, romance, period dramas ... basically anything with the exception of horror.

Along with my family of Mother, Brother and 2 Sisters these are the things I'm going to be writing about. Just the insane ramblings of an 18 year old female.

I hope you enjoy reading and please follow me :)