Thursday, November 5, 2020

Another parody poem

From the Vault, 30/04.204: 

Wit Dorothy Parker once remarked on the poetry of Edgar A Guest: 
“I would rather fail my Wasserman test 
Then read the poetry of Edgar A Guest.” 

The Wasserman test was an antibody test for syphilis. 

(Once asked to put the word “horticulture” into a sentence and make it humorous, she said “You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.”) 

Here is one of Edgar Guest's poems with the parody following: 

IT COULDN'T BE DONE

By Edgar A Guest 

Somebody said that it couldn't be done, 
But he with a chuckle replied 
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one 
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried. 
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin 
On his face. If he worried he hid it. 
He started to sing as he tackled the thing 
That couldn't be done, and he did it. 

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that; 
At least no one ever has done it"; 
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat, 
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it. 
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin, 
Without any doubting or quiddit*, 
He started to sing as he tackled the thing 
That couldn't be done, and he did it. 

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done, 
There are thousands to prophesy failure; 
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one, 
The dangers that wait to assail you. 
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin, 
Just take off your coat and go to it; 
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing 
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.” 

* quibbling, equivocation 

The parody is by noted poet, author and philosopher Bennie Hill, a favourite of my father in law, Noel . . . 

THEY SAID IT COULDN'T BE DONE 

by Benny Hill 

They said that it could not be done, 
He said, "Just let me try." 
They said, "Other men have tried and failed," 
He answered, "But not I." 
They said, "It is impossible," 
He said, "There's no such word." 
He closed his mind, he closed his heart... 
To everything he heard. 

He said, "Within the heart of man, 
There is a tiny seed. 
It grows until it blossoms, 
It's called the will to succeed. 
Its roots are strength, its stem is hope, 
Its petals inspiration, 
Its thorns protect its strong green leaves, 
With grim determination. 

"Its stamens are its skills 
Which help to shape each plan, 
For there's nothing in the universe 
Beyond the scope of man." 
They thought that it could not be done,
Some even said they knew it, 
But he faced up to what could not be done... 
And he couldn't bloody do it!

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