Vox Populi

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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.


Included in Vox Populi for noncommercial, educational uses only.

Wendy Cope (born 1945) was raised in Kent, England, where her parents often recited poetry to her. She earned a BA in history and trained as a teacher at Oxford University. Cope taught in primary schools for many years before publishing her first book of poetry, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (1986). The collection was an incredible success, selling tens of thousands of copies in the UK. It also announced Cope’s remarkable talents for parody, word play, dexterity with received forms, and the use of humor to address grave topics. Cope’s poetry collections include Serious Concerns (1992); If I Don’t Know (2001); Two Cures for Love: Selected Poems 1979–2006 (2008); Family Values (2011); Christmas Poems (2017), and Anecdotal Evidence (2018). (Adapted from Academy of American Poets)

Wendy Cope

4 comments on “Wendy Cope: The Waste Land

  1. Barbara Huntington
    May 2, 2022

    I need to stop reading the news and vox Populi before I meditate or monkey mind comes up with:

    Now Putin whose motives are rotten
    Was afraid that he might be forgotten
    So he started a war
    Don’t ask me what for
    As I said, all his motives are rotten

    (The news was assumptions he might have Parkinson’s)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. marylew1
    April 30, 2022

    a humorous five-line poem?

    Liked by 3 people

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