- The Topic is to write a Little Willie poem. The name comes from a way of writing poetry that was popular in the early 1900s.
From A Treasury of Laughter*:
“Every paper began to print ‘ruthless rhymes,’ and every contributor tried to invent a catastrophe more gory in event and more nonchalant in effect than its predecessor. The favorite ‘hero’ was Willie, and although other characters sometimes crept into the quatrains, the terse lines became known as ‘Little Willies.’”
I included three of the tamest examples at the end of this post.
- The Length is about four lines, a quatrain. Some were written as limericks or a double quatrain; but most were short, clever, and darkly humorous.
- Rhyming is imperative. These poems usually follow an A/A/B/B pattern.
- As I said, this week the poems are terrible because of their message. I expect darker tones, questionable humor, and stretches into creative venues writers never knew they had. If you’re sensitive, stay away. If you’re twisted, come on in.
OK. Up Front: my apologies to Edward Gorey who could tell a such a deliciously gruesome story! This is both terrible as to Willie’s fate. And the rhymes are themselves deliciously and especially atrocious.
Oh, Edward Gorey did not write in vain
For results of his musing continue to remain.
Little Willie, par exemple, best of a miserable lot
Who wasn’t as immortal as once it was thought.
He decided to surf, via the subway train
His complete self, ‘twas never seen again.
Requiring the smallest coffin to be bought
Tickets to his funeral very much sought.
Requiesce in pace, paulo Willie (
See also my earlier homage to Edward Gorey: an abcxyzarian in honour of Edward Gorey