Sunday, 28 October 2018

Misconception



                                                              Samuel Pepys 1633-1703

Dear reader,

Apparently people who lived in Restoration England (1660-1700) had a very strange sense of humour.  Practical jokes and any sort of jape that exploited someone's foolishness or ignorance were considered most amusing.  Reading about Samuel Pepys it seems he didn't do humour or his jokes are either very poor or in very poor taste.  For instance an uproarious joke for Pepys was that a man might helpfully offer to gut another man's oysters to stop them stinking. 

One Nick Ward was in a London coffee house listening to someone playing the violin badly when two sailors, spying a stout hook driven into wall above the fireplace, seized the fiddler and hooked him up by the back of his breeches.  Eventually he got free and fell to the ground, hurting himself, and everyone laughed and laughed.  The same ill-shaped humour was found in almost every inn, tavern, alehouse and drinking establishment in the country.

A society lady, Catherine Sedley, is most surprised that James, Duke of York, the future James II - takes her as his mistress.  She wonders what he sees in her,  saying "It cannot be my beauty for he must see I have none. And it cannot be my wit, for he has not enough to know that I have any."

                                                                       *


Misconception


The woman thought when she left
the office building would explode,
blood from her willing heart
would drip from the ceiling,
pieces of her goodwill,
her ready smile
possibly her arms and legs,
would drop into waste bins,
flow out of filing cabinets,
strew the carpet with bits of herself.
The atmosphere would be dank
with tears for the loss of her.
She knew her worth.

In the spring, Sandra met her.
Karen, from Accounts,
now has her job, she said.
She is brilliant, everyone loves her.

The woman walked away,
mantled in her goodness,
surprised at what poor judgements
people make.

                                                                   *

With best wishes, Patricia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am relieved I don't live in Restoration England, but your poem shows how thoughtless and uncivil people continue to be. Very clever though! XX