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What's so Funny?


Why is it called the funny bone -

that process known olecranon -

but then the zygomatic arch

for most is superficial cheek?

Old fools were once king for a day

while Joker, jest one card in pack.


What turns faint crease into a smile,

a giggle into roaring laugh,

unless absurd, or Carry On,

a pantomime, unlikely dame,

the normal turned fool upside down,

or Edith Evans’ ‘handbag’ boom?


I rolled at Chaplin, sixty past -

I wrote first ‘fifty’, then did maths -

policeman laughing, Uncle Mac,

which shows my humour far too old,

not least my children chuckle on

at ‘comedy’ with no appeal.


It seems my problem’s more than old,

unbalanced humours, mad King George;

how come that film’s listed ‘comedy’?

Bring on the leeches, bleeding cups,

for clear blue water, stands ’twixt them

and me, porphyria at least.


So what’s rib tickler here in verse?

It's light heart, limerick with rhyme,

suggestive of the bawdy line;

or Pam Ayres in her easy style

her salty sauce in tales she tells.

But as for me, mere dumbstruck awe.



Laugh: A Minute


It’s funny, how the spoken joke

brings laughter more than written word.

I rarely read, guffaw ensues -

nor saying that, stand-up routine -

but repartee, quick-witted wins,

against the wordplay, text reviewed.

The ludicrous, absurd observed,

in which our humour finds its base,

is better told in story form,

not least as timing, crucial thread.

That smile soon turning into grin,

and then the chuckle spilling laugh.

My knowing in-joke ends in tears,

tensions released, hilarity,

though others clueless as to cue,

its trigger warning passing by.

Amusement arcade. slot machines,

are not the way, laugh’s guarantee,

but best, reaction to the feed,

the money on completed joke.

For the best timing, that punch line.



In All Seriousness


When laughter is of rhythm, space,

delivering the final punch,

that cannot be translated, pace,

instructions how the reader’s pause

will turn the words from marks to farce,

recounted prose, iambic verse.


And if your style be blank, unrhymed

then disengaged that mental step

that would anticipate sound primed,

suggest, supply the waiting gaps;

so less the weight of humorous,

the armoury again deprived.


Disarmed, that weapon, arsenal,

a subtle satire must inform

the formal stanza, classical,

and not the converse as observed,

the dialogue of repartee,

or interplay, soliloquies.


Some have the cheek, arch rhetoric

of unexpected zeugma use

arresting route assumed, to trick,

but time demanded, reason’s leap,

to bridge that gap in logic’s flow,

devise device’s undertow.

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4 Comments


Nice work, Stephen

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Thought provoking and inspiring. Zeugma is going to be my new poetic word for the day if I can manage to hold that thought and my pen

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I recognise the feeling!

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Must have my dictionary to hand when I read your work , Stephen. It's educational😀

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