Hot Doggerel: Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing over 7,000 Pounds

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Galtee Cheese Block

The interweb may often be an ugly, querulous and hate-filled place, but one of its undeniable beauties is this. No matter how outré or perverse your particular enthusiasms are, you're always only a click or two away from (virtually) rubbing up against some other soul who shares them. Suddenly no-one's a weirdo…because everyone is.

It was not ever thus. I mean, consider the middle years of the nineteenth century. Top hats. Monocles. Fusty old patriarchs spoiling everyone's fun. And, worst of all, they didn't even have dial-up. Most people were lucky to have wind-up.

And so it was that the likes of Scots-Canadian James McIntyre (sometime poet and furniture maker) exercised their enthusiasms alone. Ostracised from their fellows by what probably seemed to them (interweb-less as they were) uniquely peculiar passions. Few pieces of verse have captured the isolating nature of maverickness and eccentricity better than McIntyre's deliciously mature and creamy “Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing over 7,000 Pounds”.

We have seen thee, queen of cheese,
Lying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze,
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

All gaily dressed soon you'll go
To the great Provincial Show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.

Cows numerous as a swarm of bees,
Or as the leaves upon the trees,
It did require to make thee please,
And stand unrivalled, queen of cheese.

May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to send you off as far as
The great World's show at Paris.

Of the youth beware of these,
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek, then songs or glees
We could not sing, oh! queen of cheese.

We'rt thou suspended from balloon,
You'd cast a shade even at noon,
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon.

Ok. So the guy liked cheese. A lot. More than is (or, presumably, was) conventional. But so what? Is cheese less worthy a subject for rime than, say, love? Or death? Or heavenly cherubim flitting hither and yon 'neath the arch of a beauteous rainbow?

This was, after all, no ordinary cheese. It was a four tonne behemoth deemed worthy of display (before an agog public) "at a Toronto exposition circa 1855″.1 It was, in other words, the Godzilla of cheeses. A thing awe-inspiring. A thing beautiful but terrible to behold. A thing that dangled precariously over the cynical heads of cheese sceptics (threatening to "fall and crush them soon").

Anyway…the hour grows late-ish and I feel the muse swell within me. So before I slip into the sleeping bag of Morpheus I must away and pen some purple poesy on Yop, Monster Munch, Donkey Kong Jr, and all the other wonders that sometimes make life not totally suck.

Footnotes
  1. Or so my copy of Kathryn & Ross Petras's Very Bad Poetry tells me [back]

January 21, 2010

9 responses to Hot Doggerel: Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing over 7,000 Pounds

  1. Nam Citsale said:

    Mr. Fustar, the blessings of Dagon on you for this blog. I have been mightily entertained with every peek since I found it recently. This latest yawp of moon-addled doggerel is quite splendid. I wonder did the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion intend homage with their encomium to the seasoned fat of Wisconsin, “40lb Block of Cheese”, from the album ‘Crypt Style’? Proof positive of the seductive power of a slab of flirtatious fromage, Mr. Spenser descends into babbling hysteria when faced with the cheese of the title, his melting mind distilling to a slurry of words where all powers of expression fail him and the most he can muster is to “count down” the weight of the cheese. Stirring stuff, probably best followed with the relatively more stable, (but rather more sinister), song by Billy Childish and Sexton Ming, ‘A Cheeky Cheese’.
    In addition, I imagine the text presented to be incomplete. While thumbing the leaves of a non-existent edition of de Quincey’s fabricated memoir, ‘Emissions of an Emmenthal Fiend’, a tattered fragment of parchment fell loose, on which was scrawled with a febrile hand the following, which I believe with blind faith to be the lost, imagined concluding stanza of Mr.McIntyre’s poem.

    Still, I praise thee, queen of cheese,
    Though thou hast brought me to my knees,
    Just as John Donne’s wench crusht fleas,
    I fear that you are but a tease.

  2. emordino said:

    For the first few verses this could be about Celine Dion. After that… well, it could still be about her, but it gets pretty weird.

    The forced rhyme on “Toronto” is making my eyes vibrate.

  3. Ms Avery said:

    Rhyming “scar as” with “Harris” is also pretty appalling…

    I really want some cheese, though.

  4. fústar said:

    Mr. Fustar, the blessings of Dagon on you for this blog. I have been mightily entertained with every peek since I found it recently.

    Thanks. But I dare not think of Dagon. Not out of a sense of cosmic dread – but rather because I’m sick as a perma-puking dog today. Contemplating fish (or cheese) would be enough to send me (once again) over the edge. Please make it stop…oh Dagon…

    There does seem, in McIntyre’s strained and stretched (to breaking point) rhyme a desire for greater cheesy intimacy. Not sure i want to go there either…

  5. fústar said:

    For the first few verses this could be about Celine Dion. After that… well, it could still be about her, but it gets pretty weird.

    Ha! Mr Harris = Celine’s brutal and controlling svengali of a manager. Obsessed with taking her (against her will) to the “The great World’s show at Paris”. When she’s not performing he keeps her in a cage (or wrapped in grease-proof paper).

    It’s like “The Elephant Man”. But with more power-ballads.

  6. fústar said:

    I really want some cheese, though.

    Jesus…

    This thing is nothing but cheese porn.

  7. Jo said:

    I read a good book called The Mammoth Cheese.

    The cheese enthusiast who gave it to me should greatly appreciate this epic poem!

    My son adores your big great monster header :)

  8. fústar said:

    I read a good book called The Mammoth Cheese.

    Stretching the conceit to novel length must have been a daunting task! Although, I’m currently working on my own trilogy – on the subject of Easi-Singles. The plasticky “taste” sets my imagination aflame.

    My son adores your big great monster header :)

    Tell him the big great monster loves him too.

  9. Jo said:

    Ha, maybe not? Slurp!* Although he did mention he liked the green goo…

    Easi-Singles in conjunction with the words novel and aflame and plasticky taste has given me an image of a dire accident whereby the hero gets a packet of said singles melted into his arm, but meets and forms a love hate relationship a woman who can’t resist licking them… for the plasticky taste…

    it’d be like the contraversial Crash, wasn’t it called, with the car accident and the (bleurg) wound fetish…

    Apologies for bringing my sordid free association to your esteemed blog…

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