Thursday, January 12, 2012

Supreme Leaders and Sagacious Sonneteers

”I have bad news about the supreme leader”
“Kim Jong-il?”
“Worse. Kim Jong dead.”

- Overheard on a train near Pyongyang December 17, 2011

Here are some excerpts from a news item I recently read about the late dictator of North Korea. I’ve interjected a few comments that should help clarify things.

“At around 17:30 on December 19, 2011, hundreds of magpies appeared from nowhere and hovered over a statue of President Kim Il Sung on Changdok School campus in Mangyongdae District, clattering as if they were telling him the sad news,” state news agency KCNA reported on Monday.

Personally I’ve never been able to hear a discernible difference between good-news magpie clattering and sad-news magpie clattering. I think in this case it could have been called either way. One thing is sure, those birds better not had done what birds usually do when they hover over a statue.

KCNA reported last week that a family of bears who usually hibernate through the fierce Korean winter had been seen lamenting Kim Jong-il’s death.

“The bears, believed to be a mother and cubs, were staying on the road, crying woefully,” it said.

It’s likely these bears were roused out of their hibernation to put on a show for the North Korean propagandists and that’s why they were in such a state of woe. The crying was real, the reason was an altogether different matter.

Mythmaking for Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s, has already started. He is portrayed as the spitting image of his grandfather and has been dubbed the “genius of geniuses” in military affairs despite having no known military experience.   

By the way, is the expression spitting image or spit and image. I personally favor the latter, especially when describing these supreme leaders. But then again, I wouldn’t say they live up to any sort of image, so we’ll just leave it at spit.

Kim, who died in December aged 69 years after 17 years running the world’s most reclusive state, was reputed to be able to control the weather, as well as to have scored a miraculous 38 under par round of golf.

Controlling the weather I might believe, but shooting a 38 under par??? The magpies and bears may have been crying, but I’m sure there’s at least one Tiger who is laughing at that claim.

OK. Let’s get back down to earth. I mentioned in my last post that I joined Twitter, partially due to the fact that I have so much time on my hands. Well, I have more time than I thought. I also joined LiveJournal.

One feature I enjoy about LiveJournal is their “Writer’s Block” question of the day. Why they chose this name is anyone’s guess. It’s likely 99.9999 percent of the members of LiveJournal have no business calling themselves writers  — including yours truly.

Case in point, the members were recently asked to “write a poem or share one that you like”.

Obviously you don’t have to be much of a writer to just reproduce someone else’s poetry. Most of the members chose to do just that.

This was my submission:

Here is a poem for my journal
Of things winter-like and hibernal.
I’ll start off with snow,
Then of flowers that grow.
Hmmm. The end is more spring-like and vernal.  

Uh, yeah. Not my best work. But it was original and — since my ID on the site is snow_shoveler — snow suitable (ha ha. get it? snow suitable... suit... you know... snowsuit... forget it).

However, not all submissions to the daily question are total wastes of time. One clever fellow proffered this:

Hell? Really? It wouldn't be a "writer's block" if we could just pull some poetry out of our *****, would it?

It is extraordinary that we should find a work of such magnitude in this day and age, and on a site like LiveJournal no less!

Another wizardly wordsmith gave us the following:

Die in a fire you ******* ******

The asterisks are mine since this is a family blog.  Regardless, how this astute fellow ever came up with this poem is beyond belief.

So let me conclude by saying that although world politics may be in disarray, the world of arts and literature is apparently in good hands. You can easily see that the aforementioned poems are works of real geniuses.

Sorry Kim Jong-un.

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