Occasional light verse, mostly political. If you're looking for a certain cold medicine, try here. But we can put you to sleep cheaper.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Great American poets / Great American products

This has been one of those weeks when the nightquill staff has been chained to their desks toiling for the glory of our usual stalking horse in the Style Invitational of the Washington Post. The fruits of these efforts will appear here eventually, but in the meantime we compensate by reliving past glories from that same contest.

The challenge was to present famous advertising jingles as they would have been done by famous poets. Three great American poets were channeled to tackle the old Coca Cola jingle, "I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company" (which dates at least one member of the nightquill board).

Emily Dickinson was shy:

I'd like -- to buy --
The world -- a Coke --
But can't face --
Company --

e e cummings found a hidden message:

i'd like to buy the world
(- a coke and keep it

...and Walt Whitman can be counted on for a hearty finale:

Huge, shaggy, thirsty, laughing colossus,
Embrace the world,
And would like to buy it a Coke.

None of these saw print. But the contest was won by our personal favorite, E. A. Poe, waxing rhythmical on the Alka Seltzer theme of the same vintage: "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!":

At the banquet, I, unswerving, swallowed serving after serving,
'Though the food was undeserving, and unnerving were my hosts;
Now I wrestle with the question of impending indigestion
And my stomach burbles blindly with the groans of gastric ghosts,
But a plop, plop, plop, and a fizz, fizz, fizz,
Is the only hope that reaches to the depths of my despair,
And my vicious predilection to a chemical addiction
Is as trivial as fiction with this torture to compare.
And my soul sighs for the solace that indubitably is
In the plop, plop, plop, plop, plop, plop, plop
And the fizz, fizz, fizz, fizz, fizz!


Anonymous Mams said...

You should get many hits on this, not only from people searching for Nyquill, but also from people searching for Alka Seltzer and Coca Cola.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Stephen McArthur said...

I wonder how William Carlos Williams would have approached product poetics. He was our family physician for years and my father loved chatting with him and, of course, collected all his first editions, with personal inscriptions.

Thanks for your poetry in my comment section. It adds a touch of "class" to my "political treatises."

8:54 AM  

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