Sunday, July 5, 2015

Poem of the Week: The curse of the iphone

A Cautionary tale of Jane and James

Dedicated to my grand-daughters Jasmine and Aline in the hope of saving them from a terrible fate

This is the tale of Jane and James 
Addicted to computer games.
Parents were begged in plaintive tones
About their need for brand new phones.
"We need it for our homework, Dad,
And Uni too and you'll be glad
When we're the brightest kids by far
And in each subject get A star.
Sure as our names are Jane and James
We'll never use them to play games!"

But Oh alas it was not true
For playing's all that they would do.
When each of them had got their phone,
They could not leave the games alone.
The only way they could be seen
Was staring at a tiny screen!
They would not look at you or talk,
Or read or sleep or eat or walk.
In a strange world each to their own,
They just stared at their brand new phone.

Their Dad for burgers had to go for
While James sat playing on the sofa.
He mumbled curses then took sips
Of Cola and ate bags of chips
The game and nothing else would matter
While he got fatter, fatter, fatter
He would not leave the game alone
Until his weight was 20 stone!
He played a baseball game until
He'd mastered every single skill.
Then one day with all bases loaded,
He ate a chip - and then exploded!
He died in very little pain.
The new phone never worked again.



So what you ask became of Jane?
Did she escape her new phone's curse?
Sadly her fate was even worse!

She found a score she had to beat,
And from that day refused to eat.
She'd not eat breakfast lunch or dinner
And she grew thinner, thinner, thinner!
They tempted her with cakes and cream
But "no" she said "I have a dream!
I must be Champion Supreme!
I'll leave food - if it;'s all the same,
Until I've won my final game!"
In six months time at last she won.
And then she thought "What have I done?
What is there left for me to do?
I know! At last there's time to poo!"
(At this point you must not forget she
Was thin as a strand of cooked spaghetti.)
She sat down on the toilet seat,
Then slipped in bottom, hands and feet.
It greaves me but I have to say
The string-thin child was flushed away!
Moral
Children should only use these media,
To crib their homework from Wikipedia!
                                                        Nick Mellersh September 2012 Pictures by Jeanie Mellersh

This is my attempt at a modern version of Hillaire Belloc's cautionary tales like the stories of Jim who was eaten by the lion and Matilda who burnt her house down.  I'm quite pleased with it, but it would be nice to get more of Belloc's tone and conciseness.  And Beloc never uses triplets (three consecutive rhyming lines) which I often do and maybe shouldn't.  Anyway it leads me nicely on to ebooks as I learn from my father's first world war books that Belloc wrote a column in one of the papers about the war's progress. The ebooks are going ahead slowly and will be available soon.  See the ebook page.

I love Belloc and his poems. Do you remember an Inn Miranda is something other than the Cautionary Tales that I always remember.  His proposed epitaph was
       When I am dead,
       I hope it may be said,
      His sins were scarlet,
     But his books were read.

P.S.  I've just found a complete online version of the Cautionary Tales with the original illustrations by BTB (Basil Temple Blackwood) who was some aristocratic friend of Belloc. See following,  my poem's advice in the poem, the entry in Wikipedia.

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