Tuesday 7 March 2017

On Writing Bad Poetry On Unfortunate Topics For My Children

My children and I used to write poetry for each other occasionally. Here are two pieces of doggerel I wrote for them.

The first one came from being limited by my son Nico to write about one of the first five topics that came up randomly on Wikipedia. My very first topic was "Glutamate dehydrogenase 2, mitochondrial, also known as GDH 2, [...] an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the GLUD2 gene". Although this did not seem a promising topic for a poem, it was better than the next four (Lindmania stenophylla, The Manitoba Day Award [now sadly deleted from Wikipedia], The Sunshine Millions Dash [also now sadly deleted from Wikipedia], and OMB Circular A-123, a "Government circular that defines the management responsibilities for internal controls in [American] Federal agencies") so I wrote an ode to GLUD2.

My daughter Zoe chose not to limit me at all and asked for a poem on any topic in any style, so I wrote a poem for her about not being limited by rules.

Ode to GLUD2 [For Nico]
An enzyme is one wondrous way
That miracles occur each day.
Each enzyme serves to catalyze
The slow reactions that arise
Inside our bodies; and without
Their helpful work there is no doubt
That life would not exist at all!
Life calls for speed; they heed the call.
And who was it that made that call?
Some call it ‘Chance’ some call it ‘All’;
Some call it ‘God’ but all we know
Is something called to make life so.
And why should we not worship it,
That what’s-it-called that made things fit?
If there’s no God, are mysteries solved?
Are enzymes crap if they evolved?
If you need proof that life’s divine
Then chemistry should suit you fine:
I say that no one ever knew
A thing as lovely as GLUD 2.
On Playing the Game [For Zoe]
You said that I could write in any style:
So I thought: Free verse! But after a while
I thought that things work better with some rules.
I don’t say that all anarchists are fools,
But the world’s big! To focus your view
It helps if there are rules guiding you.
If soccer was played just any old way
I don’t think it would be as fun to play
As it really is: Who would shoot to score
If the goal was moving around or
If some players could use a hockey stick?
I don’t play soccer but I think the trick
(maybe not just there, but in poems too)
Is that masters of the game are those who
Learn to love the rules. So I wrote in rhyme:
Maybe I’ll do free verse another time.

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