Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Ern Malley: my Anopheles

Someone who shall remain nameless on my f-list compared me to Ern Malley, in the nicest possible way and I am happy with the comparison. Ern Malley was a fake modernist poet made up in the 1940s by two Australian poets, with the aim of exposing the avant-garde to ridicule.

It's a bit like the Sokal hoax, except I think Sokal really did prove that postmodernism can be a bit wanky (IMHO). Well, of course to be honest poetry magazines can be a bit wanky too.

However, I think it's interesting that poetic hoaxes often inadvertently produce bits of good poetry. People who are trying their hardest to write plausible garbage, sometimes end up writing something pretty good. Or perhaps, as with the Elephant Catalogue, we retain those random daubs which just happen to accidentally make sense. This is my favourite one (an anopheles is a mosquito) ...

Culture as Exhibit
“Swamps, marshes, borrow-pits and other
Areas of stagnant water serve
As breeding-grounds ...” Now
Have I found you, my Anopheles!
(There is a meaning for the circumspect)
Come, we will dance sedate quadrilles,
A pallid polka or a yelping shimmy
Over these sunken sodden breeding-grounds!
We will be wraiths and wreaths of tissue-paper
To clog the Town Council in their plans.
Culture forsooth! Albert, get my gun.

I have been noted in the reading-rooms
As a borer of calf-bound volumes
Full of scandals at the Court. (Milord
Had his hand upon that snowy globe
Milady Lucy’s sinister breast . . .) Attendants
Have peered me over while I chewed
Back-numbers of Florentine gazettes
(Knowst not, my Lucia, that he
Who has caparisoned a nun dies
With his twankydillo at the ready? . . .)
But in all of this I got no culture till
I read a little pamphlet on my thighs
Entitled: “Friction as a Social Process.”
What?
Look, my Anopheles,
See how the floor of Heav’n is thick
Inlaid with patines of etcetera . . .
Sting them, sting them, my Anopheles.

ETA - this could so easily be reworked as a George Formby number: 'With his little twankydillo at the ready'
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