A little bit later today, Fauna Foolery, a collection of Facebook verse from the past few months will appear on Amazon. Massive cost for purchase: $2.99.
You do not need a Kindle device to read it--just a Kindle app on your smartphone or tablet or computer. (Free download for the app!)
Anyway, here's the Foreword to the little publication:
We don’t really like to think of ourselves as animals. So a lot of our social behavior attempts to distinguish us from other species—from our clothing to hairstyles to symphonies and novels and reality TV and drone weapons, most everything about us declares: We are not like those other species, many of whom, of course, we actually eat.
But the archetypal “observing alien” would notice right away all the myriad ways we are animalic. Eating, sleeping, micturating, defecating, fornicating, competing, killing, aging, dying—these and so many other activities we share with … The Animals. (Not to mention our fur and claws.)
It’s not all that surprising, then, that our language (our servant, our master) both confirms our membership in the Animal Kingdom and serves as an aquifer of metaphors and allusions to that Kingdom, words and locutions we employ every day.
Our four principal parts of speech include words about animals that we use to talk about ourselves and other human beings. Nouns (we call someone a gorilla, or a tiger), verbs (buffaloed, skunked), adjectives (piggish, bovine), adverbs (sheepishly, waspishly)—all help us write and speak more humorously, graphically, ironically, cruelly.
In May 2015 I began writing a doggerel series for my Facebook page. Every day I would post a silly ditty involving our use of one of these words and expressions. I would eventually write fifty noun poems, then fifty adjective poems. I did not stop the series because I’d run out of words—far from it. I just decided to … move on. “Times wingèd chariot hurrying near” and all that
Along the way I made some mistakes of various sorts, and I’ve placed the “mistake poems” in a section of their own—a small section, thank goodness. These errors were of two types: (1) I’d already used the animal word but, forgetting (galloping dotage!—hmmm, an animal participle!), had used it again; (2) I’d thought the word was an “animal” word, then, after posting the poem, discovered that it was not. Two prime examples are carp and fawn, both of which come from non-animal words. Go figure.
Along the way, I was also writing (and posting) other sorts of doggerel, little poems about this and that, and I have included them here in a section called “Desultory Doggerel”—the term I also use on Facebook for such verse. (Readers might think of a more … accurate term for the lines.)
Let’s elevate the discussion …
In The Merchant of Venice, Portia says to Bassanio (to whom she’s declaring her love): “You see me, Lord Bassanio, where I stand / Such as I am” (3.2). (No one’s surprised when Bassanio screws up after this scene in Act III—there are five acts in a Shakespeare play!)Portia goes on to elaborate about what she means by “Such as I am,” but I won’t. (No Shakespeare, I.)
But here these lines are, such as they are. Snarl at your leisure!