Saturday, August 23, 2008

The White Lady of Poetry

Dear Everybody:

Today's poem is by possibly the best-known poets in the universe:

Three Wise Men of Gotham
by Mother Goose

Three wise men of Gotham,
They went to sea in a bowl,

And if the bowl had been stronger,

My song had been longer.

Of this poem I can tell you two things: First, that Gotham is the town of fools, which is why New York City is often referred to as Gotham. (Though most people think that Batman is actually set in Boston. Go fig.) And second, that it's meant to be told to a sleepy child who's nagging for just one more poem. We tend to forget how long most poems used to be. That's because in the ages before radio (much less television and the internet), people had a lot less entertainment and a lot more time to fill. So they liked their poetry good and endless.

Today, of course, we have neither the time nor the patience for epic-length poetry. Shame on us.

All best,


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