The other day I was thinking, as you do, about the existential void of meaninglessness, and then started contemplating free verse poetry. There's nothing nicer than contemplating the existential void of meaninglessness; it's just like looking at daisies, only much, much more depressing. And somewhat blacker. (And is it any wonder that free verse poetry should come into these considerations at some point?)
Anyway, soon enough I started taking children into my considerations, too. Is it ever too early for them to learn about the horrifying nothingness at the centre of all life? Technically I suppose children don't have to go to school until five, but that's no reason why parents can't give them a head start in this area. And why not do it through a medium which children naturally relate to, the medium of song and poetry and word play? You don't have to go and read the whole of Eliot's The Waste Land to them. Hearing the Wiggles drone repeatedly, 'Mashed potato, mashed potato' has pretty much the same effect, and is much pithier.
Children's poetry, of course, tends to be full of rhymes and word play which tends to belie and disprove all that meaninglessness and horror and stuff that you want to impress upon them. So that has to be done away with: you really have to get those kids into rhymeless free verse before they know any better. Like my first poem, below:
At an alligator
Themes include: Smiling, alligators.
Actually this one wasn't wholly successful, but I think I hit the mark more in my second attempt:
On top of spaghetti
All covered in cheese
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody caught ebola and the restaurant was shut down and the whole town was put into quarantine and I was in fear for my life.
Themes include: spaghetti, cheese, the unethical slaughtering of animals for the purposes of human sustenance, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome leading to tragic loss of life, and anxiety.
For best results sing that one to kids while they're eating their dinner.
One fine day in the middle of the day
Two dead men remained so.
Which was sad for them but not so bad for the maggots.
Themes include: time, death, stasis, the ecosystem.
The following one, I'm afraid to say, had a bit of an uplifting ending:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
You look like a chunder
But you smell okay, I suppose.
Themes include: flowers, spew, the finer points of social discourse.
So on the whole I suppose that one was a bit of a failure. I tried to redeem myself with the last one in this set:
The ants went marching two by two -
The ants went marching two by two -
The ants went marching two by two
When one of them stopped to buy stuff off his dealer so he could inject himself with that shot of heroin which he really needed, man -
And they all went marching
Home to get out of the rain.
Themes include: ants, social pressure, the devastation that drugs inflicts upon our society, and climate change.
Actually after hearing a couple of verses of 'The Ants went Marching' I'm pretty sure anyone would want to turn to drugs.
That's just my starting effort. If anyone's got more suggestions on how to impress fresh young minds with the desolate lack of meaning at the heart of all being, do let me know in comments.
After all - it's the only way we'll turn them into the despairing sociopathic maniacs that we will need to run our future society.
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