Musings on the subject of PEG limericks / 18 May 2015
In my last post I mentioned the difficulty of finding a rhyme for ‘percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy’.
I was subsequently challenged, by the Miriam Rothschild Chair of Environmental Biology at the University of Cambridge, also known as my brother Bill, to produce a limerick on the subject. I believe he thought I would not be up to the task.
It is part of the role of an elder brother to provide an appropriate response to such insubordination. Hence the following (which may, as previously noted, be sung to the tune of the ‘Mexican Hat Dance’):
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy
I want it, whatever the cost to me
Then I want to have fun
Lying in the sun
But, alas, it still looks like frost to me.
Alternatively, in homage to a fellow-epileptic, I could adopt the Edward Lear style of limerick, with its repeated first line. That is often regarded as inferior because it doesn’t give the same snappy surprise at the end. I think this judgement is a little unfair to a more classic style.
In the case of sonnets. English poets have preferred the Shakesperian sonnet with its rhyming end-couplet. But many excellent poems have used the Petrarchan sonnet, including Wordsworth’s ‘On Westminster Bridge’. Should the Learian limerick not be accorded the same respect?
I’d place the Learian limerick with other verse forms that use repeated lines, including the villanelle (LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villanelle) or the triolet (LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triolet). Examples of the villanelle include Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night'.
The best known triolet is probably Frances Cornford’s ‘To a Fat Lady Seen from the Train’.
An example that shows there is still life in this verse form is Wendy Cope’s ‘Valentine’.
Which leads us, using the simpler rhyme, to:
There was a young man with a PEG
Who wanted a hard-boiled egg.
But no amount of lube
Would get it down the tube
Which saddened that young man with a PEG.