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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Limericks, a post script

Yesterday, Bob, a reader of this blog, wrote in the comments that “Limericks have always been my favorite form of verse because they get the point across in as few words as possible.”

An astute observation.

The two limericks below make this point very cleverly. The first, by Monsignor Ronald Knox, is built on the proposition by the Anglo-Irish philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753) that no existence of matter is independent of perception, independent of an observer – "to be is to be perceived" or
esse est percipi in Latin.

There once was a man who said, “God
Must think it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree
Continues to be
When there’s no one about in the Quad.”

~ Ronald Knox (1888-1957), English priest, theologian and writer of detective fiction

It promptly drew this anonymous reply:

“Dear Sir, Your astonishment’s odd;
I am always about in the Quad,
And that’s why the tree
Will continue to be
Since observed by Yours faithfully, God.”


Jack said...

That reminds me of this little ditty:

Bishop Berkeley
Whispered darkly:
If I cannot see you,
Then you cannot be you.

Anonymous said...

Living by the sea, I liked the word play of:
Mediterranean Beach, Day after Storm-- from-- A Robert Penn Warren Reader, Random House

How instant joy, how clang
And whang the sun,how
Whoop the sea, and oh,
Sun,sing,as whiter than
Rage of snow, let sea the spume

Let sea the spume, white, fling,
White on blue wild
With wind, let sun
Sing, while the world
Scuds, clouds boom and belly,
Creak like sails, whiter than,
Brighter than,
spume in sun-song,oho!
The wind is bright.

Wind the heart winds
In constant coil, turning
In the - forever- light.

Give me your hand.