Saturday, August 6, 2011

24-26. Multi-talented Guy

Earlier this year I began an email friendship with Robin Sutherland, staff pianist for the San Francisco Symphony.  In addition to his musical talents he is a wondrous and witty wordsmith -- and not just at limericks.

He was scheduled for a trip to the U.K. in June so I sent him this one:

A musical fellow named Sutherland
Took some limericks of mine to his motherland
But the people in Leicester
Despised anapest, er...
Perhaps they'll play best in another land.

(Anapest is the metrical foot used in limericks, i.e., two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed one.  Examples: "unabridged", or "in a daze.")

Robin responded (should I say one-upped me?) with
In London, a square known as Leicester
Is where limericists often go feicester --
While scanning the ground
For loose iambs, Phil found
That the worcester is often the beicester!

That retort, along with much other funny and erudite prose and poetry that had been emailed back and forth, led me to applaud him with this:

When Robin first wrote me, it becund
A discourse that's turned out quite fecund
(Sometimes with profundity
Though rife with jocundity)
In which I oft finish but secund.

Both of us admire Dorothy Parker, and Robin included this in his response to my "fecund" limerick: 

This is an anonymous quote but it is fitting:  "He who ceases to strive for the first rate has already begun to abandon the second; and by little and little will come to rest content with the lowest."

Speaking of first rate, I am as usual reminded of Dorothy Parker, whom we find chiding
a now-forgotten prolific authoress (a similar target today might be, um, Danielle Steel?):

"In literature, we must never mistake the first rate for the fecund...

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