While ogling SkyP’s glamorous pic (Well worth a peek, lads, she’s a wick- ed looking blonde and no mistake; In fact, she’s worth a double-take) I spied she’d quoted, just beneath, From Chesterton – that’s Gilbert Keith – A line to the effect that cheese Has been subjected to a squeeze, Edged out by poets right and left, Cold-shouldered, spurned and shunned, bereft Of rhymed attention, small or large. Hard luck, you might say, dur fromage, If you don’t like it, quel dommage.
But it seems more than just a pity That all those poets wise and witty Have somehow gone and lost the plot And sing of cheese…. well, not a lot. What benefits they would have gained If only from their thoughts they’d strained The creamy curd with aid of rennet Perhaps exclaiming, “Gordon Bennett! “Here’s tasty fare, quite the reverse “Of what we usually put in verse. “For what delight it is to find “The cheesy thoughts that fill my mind “Encased at last in verbal rind.”
Would, thus inspired, a bore like Milton Count Paradise well lost for Stilton And fall from Edam not from Eden No need to write it boustrophedon? (At last a chance to use that word, A joy for any verbal nerd.) So, all at once, his verse would please, Regain acclaim by dint of cheese. Likewise in France old Molière Would write of Brie and Gruyère. Such characters, such tasty parts - A mousetrap for our minds and hearts - Would see his plays leap up the charts.
Some cheese is white and some is yellow. It seems to me that old Longfellow Would only know the latter kind As all American cheese, I find, Is yellow and taste-free. No whey Could Whitman make poetic hay Nor Frost, nor Eliot; no wonder All Yank poets forbear to thunder About their cheese. Now, with Caerphilly The Welsh would make themselves look silly By rhyming it. No lightning fork Of words from Dylan T would talk Me out of thinking it was chalk.
Some cheese is soft or even runny - An Ogden Nash could make it funny. Some is blue and deeply veined The colour of an ankle sprained Or even varicose, I’m told, If it’s kept long, matured and old; A dismal shade like close of day, Fit for an elegy by Gray. Some comes from cows, some goats, some sheep; In counting them you’d fall asleep And in your dark poetic dreams You’d churn out reams and reams and reams Of verse on crusty curdled creams.
Some cheese, like Parmesan, is hard Enough to spark off any bard. Some cheese, like Limburger, is smelly Perhaps its odour is what Shelley Invokes the wild west wind to clear, Whilst Munster prompts his Mary dear To dream up Frankenstein. And Keats, Seeking a course to follow meats, Might well have plumped for Camembert To act as prelude for dessert, Like sweet or pie or sweetie pie Which brings me back full circle nigh To Ciao’s own Phoenix of the Sky.
My thanks to her, and GKC, For opening my eyes to see That it might be a wizard wheeze To pen a verse in praise of cheese. My own brief effort you’ve now read But I know it leaves much unsaid - Poets and cheeses still unnamed By other Ciaoists to be claimed; Nothing so formal as a challenge, But maybe you might like to scavenge Your dictionaries of food and rhyme And, thus inspired, write in time Paeans of praise to cheese sublime.