“By failing to read or listen to poets, society dooms itself to inferior modes of articulation, those of the politician, the salesman, or the charlatan. In other words, it forfeits its own evolutionary potential. For what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom is precisely the gift of speech. Poetry is not a form of entertainment and in a certain sense not even a form of art, but it is our anthropological, genetic goal. Our evolutionary, linguistic beacon.”
The Charlotte Observer hosts a limerick competition every year that runs from Saint Patrick’s Day to April 1st. They call it their “Politics & Public Policy Limericks Contest.” This year the paper encouraged entries lampooning the presidential campaign, but the current campaign is so bizarre and depressing, I just couldn’t imagine making a humorous rhyme about it. So instead, I decided to write limericks about local disasters.
The editors published my limerick on Charlotte’s I-77 toll lanes controversy. The public hates the idea of paying tolls, but there’s the added sting of a Spanish company (?!?) building the lanes and keeping all the profits they generate. Weird, huh? But so ripe for ridicule! From the Charlotte Observer editorial page:
It wasn’t all presidential politics, though. Give Mike Tuggle bonus degree-of-difficulty points for rhyming the word ‘criteria’ and going the foreign language route to finish his piece about the Interstate 77 toll lanes:
I can’t understand the criteria
That mandate toll lanes from Iberia.
The gain from those lanes
Stays mainly in Spain.
It’s Charlotte’s camino mysteria.
Stay tuned for future satirical entries in the coming weeks. Yes, I live in a target-rich environment.
Orchestrating Vangelis’ soaring keyboards and Sean Connery’s powerful reading of Cavafy’s poem creates an inspiring and unforgettable experience. Do yourself a favor and listen to it in its entirety. Your challenges will shrink before your eyes.
For a little refresher on the significance of the journey to Ithaca, check out the About section in this review of Robert Fagles’ translation of The Odyssey.