And What's More

By David McCord
ONE kind of light verse concerns itself with facetious laments concerning the things we do or ought to do. The earliest example I know of is a Chinese poem of some fifteen hundred years ago, wherein a host is depicted as groaning and sweating as he tries to be polite to visitors on an August afternoon. The counterpart to this kind deals with the things we have a wild impulse to do, and takes them for granted as possibilities in the scheme ot life. Mr. McCord’s exquisite invitations to the unlikely tall into this category. Thomas De Quincey, H. G. Wells, and Orson Welles say the most plausible things, and the valet’s name is Prescott. The ‘ Perambulator Poems’ arouse a desire to shed adulthood and go perambulating oneself. And the patient wonders whether or not he will quit the hospital: —
On Tuesday, so I hold my own,
I’ll cease to be the happy drone;
I’ll walk, wear socks, vote, read the news,
Well, Doctor: What it I refuse?
Of course Mr. McCord’s rhymes perform the impossible with their wonted skill. The themes are many. It is all excellent light verse, and gives one the pleasant feeling of finding a familiar landscape gone slightly mad. The book is not put aside with a guffaw, but returned to with anticipatory smiles.
R. H.