Sunday, November 8, 2020

Poetry Spot


I have previously made the point that whether it be art, film or literature, oftentime something that is looked down on by the literati but popular with the public is also more enjoyable. What would you rather watch: Citizen Kane or the Blues Brothers? Read: Jayne Eyre or Catch-22

Writer William Faulkner, writing about writing, once famously said ““The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one… If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the Ode on a Grecian Urn is worth any number of old ladies.” Whilst I recognise Faulkner's commitment to commitment, I don’t share his passion for Ode on a Grecian Urn. As the saying goes: “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like” – that is all ye know on earth, and all you need to know. 

I posted a Benny Hill parody poem a few days back. 

According to Wikipedia: 

Alfred Hawthorne "Benny" Hill (1924 – 1992) was an English comedian and actor, best remembered for his television programme The Benny Hill Show, an amalgam of slapstick, burlesque, and double entendre in a format that included live comedy and filmed segments with Hill at the focus of almost every segment. 

Hill was a prominent figure in British culture for nearly four decades. His show proved to be one of the great success stories of television comedy and was among the most-watched programmes in the UK with the audience peaking at more than 21 million in 1971. The Benny Hill Show was also exported to 97 countries around the world. 

In keeping with my comments above - popularity v perceived quality – here is another Benny Hill poem . . 

You can see Benny Hill perform it by clicking on the following link: 




THE OLD FIDDLER 

by 

Benny Hill 

'Twas market day in the village, 
And the crowds 'round the stalls was quite dense, 
But what caught my eye was a stall piled high 
With musical instruments. 

And up to the stall came a little old man, 
His clothes was all tattered and thin, 
But his face come alight when his eyeballs caught sight 
Of a beautiful old violin. 

He held it up to the dealer saying, 
"How much is this one then?" 
He replied, "That's a Stradivarius, my man, 
That'll cost you four pound ten." 

"I can't afford that," sighed the little old man 
And a lump come into my throat, 
I was feeling quite flush, and so I stuffed
In his hand a brand new ten-shilling note. 

A crowd had gathered behind us 
So I quickly went 'round with his hat, 
When I finished I found I'd collected five pounds 
So I took my ten shillings back. 

Well we gave the dealer the money 
And the old man so shabbily dressed, 
Picked up the violin, stuck it under his chin 
And he played like a man possessed. 

He played concertos, cantatas and fugues, 
And polkas and waltzes too, 
By composers like Johann Sebastian Bach... 
To mention only a few. 

He played waltzes by Strauss and Die Fledermaus, 
And Tales From the Vienna Wood, 
Then Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto, 
But he didn't play that quite so good. 

"Well done!" cried the crowd when he finished 
And they gently patted his head, 
But the excitement was too much for the little old man 
Who promptly fell down dead. 

Well we gave the dealer his fiddle 
And we took back our four pound ten, 
Then we picked up the old man and we laid him to rest 
In the cemetery down by the glen. 

But sometimes at night when the moon do shine bright, 
If I should happen to stray, 
Up over the hill, it seems that still 
I can hear the old man play. 

Yes the words of that popular song rings true, 
For though the old man is gone, 
Yes, although the song is ended, 
The melody lingers on.

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