Simon Kelner: A few limericks to leaven this Leveson nonsense

Kelner's view

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The Independent Online

What better way to start the week than with a bit of poetry? This past weekend marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edward Lear, the man who popularised the limerick and gave the world The Owl and the Pussycat.

He was also a talented draughtsman and artist; his watercolour Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which I believe is in the Ashmolean in Oxford, captures magnificently the timeless grandeur of the holy city. But it is as a writer of nonsense verse that we best know Lear, in particular his mastery of the limerick, a 19th century poetic form that was five lines long and was usually used to comic, and often scandalous, effect. There is usually a reference to something anatomical, "and the clean ones are seldom so comical", as the famous self-regarding verse has it.

Anyway, Lear occasionally used the form for sardonic commentary on current events, and in commemoration of the great man's birth – and with apologies to his descendants – I have taken the liberty of penning a few lines on the news story du jour, the Leveson Inquiry. Here goes:

There once was a lady called Brooks

Who said: it's not quite how it looks

We never discussed Sky

The Prime Minister and I

For that would have meant we were crooks

For a minute the outlook seemed bleak

And that's before they even mentioned the leak

But what to wear

When they ask about Blair?

I know, I'll give them some Puritan chic

Her inquisitor was now playing to the crowd

He leaned forward and just wouldn't be cowed

Peering over his specs

He quoted a text

And left us all laughing out loud

The judge wasn't happy at all

He'd not seen a display of such gall

How many ways

On how many days

Had he witnessed a lack of recall?

But surely you remember the hunt

With you and the PM up front?

And it can't be a blur

The dinners a deux

With the man Jim Naughtie called ****

It seems like it's gone on forever

With a nation at the end of its tether

But at the close of the day

As Cameron would say

They ARE all in it together!

So there it is, a rhyming submission to the Leveson Inquiry. And if they ask me what I know of poetry, I'll have a ready response. I don't remember anything! LOL