Daily prompt: Fun


I can do rhyme! How about that? Something I’ve actually realised I’m quite good at.

Not that I consider it a talent. It’s more of a knack, the product of happy circumstance – ie, being exposed to huge amounts of A A Milne, Hilaire Belloc and Australian Bush Verse in my childhood, all of which has regular rhyme and rhythm and which I sucked up like a sponge as children do.

The result is like this:

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
She rushed to the doctor, afraid she might die.
‘Fear not, my good woman,’ that worthy decreed.
‘My consummate skill makes this trifling indeed.’

And he gave her a tincture – twice daily with food –
To counter the chance of a possible brood
And ensure that quite quickly the troublesome fly
Would curl up his toes in a corner and die.

But alas! No one told the fly what was expected.
He slurped up the tincture with glee, unaffected
By dire repercussions, and then, slightly tipsy,
Proceeded to dance like a volatile gypsy.

The doctor was sanguine. ‘A minor delay
Can sometimes occur. Take these tablets. Good day.’
But the fly simply thrived, and continued to thrash
While the poor little lady developed a rash
That a cream from the doctor inflamed into ulcers,
Impairment of vision, tumultuous pulses,
Oedema, and aches in the joints, and a cough
That even injections could not quite shake off,
Til she shrieked, ‘I don’t care what’s according to Hoyle,
Just pass me a spoon and the damn castor oil!’

And without more ado she ingested a slug
Of the horrible stuff with a gulp and a glug
That set the fly screaming for mercy, but none
Was forthcoming: he gave one last shriek and passed on.

‘Now that,’ said the doctor, ‘just proves that my skill
Is truly outstanding, adapting at will
To the veriest nuance. It’s high time to chance it –
I think this deserves a nice piece in The Lancet.

Or this:

Seems ruling a nation by Tweet
Is the latest in nifty and neat:
Say what you want said
From the comfort of bed
And deny it by hitting ‘delete’.

(Sorry about that. Couldn’t resist it.)






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17 Responses to Daily prompt: Fun

  1. lifelessons says:

    Ha!!!! Both are great. You do have a gift for rhyme, but it takes more than that. Wicked wit, originality and intelligence to boot. You have it all here, girl.

  2. Agreed – you are good. And I would suggest that it IS a talent.

    By coincidence, just yesterday a friend’s young daughter showed me her picture book – it was the old lady and the fly story. Did you know that they’ve sanitized it? I cannot recall the exact wording, but it muses upon her folly at swallowing the fly. No word about her dying. So, when I sang aloud the “correct” lyrics, “Perhaps she’ll die…!” I received a very startled look from the 6 year old.

  3. Embeecee says:

    That last one? Priceless…. (both are excellent, but that last one really got my attention). 😉

  4. lifelessons says:

    You could write kids’ books. My praise was not a courtesy. You are very good.

  5. Aunt Beulah says:

    I chuckled my way through the first, guffawed at the second and admired your rhyme and rhythm throughout. You did indeed suck those skills up as a child, and I hope you continue to share them. Have you read Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl? I used to regale my students with his fractured fairytales, and they couldn’t get enough — especially my hard-to-please high school freshmen.,

    • There should be more teachers like you! If kids were introduced to poetry via Dahl and Belloc, it would be a whole lot easier to cultivate their interest in it. And who knows where the world would be if poetry outranked the wittering of idiots like Kanye West!

  6. lwbut says:

    Very nice work, Helen.

    You could always start a poetry page on your site and tag posts with ‘poetry’ – i bet you’d increase your following pretty quick!


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