Monday, May 18, 2009

Poetry Man

Via Politico we come across something else truly mindboggling about Mike Huckabee, and no, it's not that sandwich, the sandwich is just a cheap prop, albeit a rather accurate depiction of the type he probably used to chow down on back in the day, before he discovered that he was about as likely a candidate to lead the Republican Party as any of the other yahoos and decided to take off at least half a Huck just to make things fair.

This latest mindboggling thing is not even the fact that he writes poetry, which he doesn't by all available evidence. It is that he thinks that he writes poetry, amusing poetry, poetry that he thinks is good enough to share with the world, or at least the portion of the world willing to go to This is a little piece he likes to call 'Fancy Nancy'.

Here's a story about a lady named Nancy
A ruthless politician, but dressed very fancy
Very ambitious, she got herself elected Speaker
But as for keeping secrets, she proved quite a "leaker."

She flies on government planes coast to coast
And doesn't mind that our economy is toast
She makes the Air Force squire her in their military jets
There's room for her family, her staff, and even her pets.

Mike, Mike, Mike, just read that to yourself... I assume that since you are dealing in rhyming couplets that you're not making a stab at free verse here, and that's why I'm asking you to read it. Maybe if you read it out loud that would help even more.

For the style you're attempting, there are poetic devices - let's call them tricks of the trade - known as rhythm and meter. Without getting all technical on you, let's just call it flow, ya know? Keeping your basic "idea" intact, let's try it like this:

Here's a little story bout a girl named Nancy
Ruthless politician, but she dresses kinda fancy
Very ambitious, got herself elected Speaker
But as for keeping secrets, she's a doggone "leaker."

See? Just sound it out in your head a little and that should help you out. Now you go ahead and try another verse.

She sat in briefings and knew about enhanced interrogation;
But claims she wasn't there, and can't give an explanation.
She disparages the CIA and says they are a bunch of liars;
Even the press aren't buying it and they're stoking their fires.

In many ways that was even worse, Mike, but I want to be encouraging, so let me start out by saying that the second line actually has what we were just calling flow, and uh, also in your favor, your couplets are successfully rhyming, although the pairing of interrogation/explanation sounds a bit forced. But we'll work on that later. Let's go with your strength, which was the second line. Ideally what you want to do, since what you're writing is called a quatrain, is get lines one, three and four to have the same sort of rhythm. You're a bass player, I'm sure you know what I mean. Pretend you're rapping. That might help.

Sat around in briefings bout enhanced interrogation;
But claims she wasn't there, and can't give an explanation.
Dissed the CIA and says they're a bunch of liars;
Press ain't buying it, they're stoking at their fires.

Sometimes you're going to have a word that you really like, such as 'disparages', which simply will not work for you and you just have to let it go. I substituted 'dissed' but you might be happier with 'mocked'. Just remember the flow - 'vilified' wouldn't work in this example. Now come on, give it one more try.

If forced to believe whether the CIA and her colleagues in Congress are lying;
Or it's Speaker Pelosi whose credibility and career is dying.
I believe in the integrity of the men and women who sacrifice to keep us safe;
Not the woman who has been caught flat-footed, lying to our face.

Forget about it, Mike. You're too valuable to the GOP to be messing around with this poetry stuff anyway.

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