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Jan 7, 2001 11:48 PM

Ode on the Mammoth Cheese

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What follows is one of the worst poems ever written, as compiled in "Very
Bad Poetry," by Kathryn Petras and her brother Ross.

"Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing Over 7,000 Pounds"

by James McIntyre (1827-1906)

We have seen thee, queen of cheese,
Lying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze,
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

All gaily dressed soon you'll go
To the great Provincial show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.

Cows numerous as a swarm of bees,
Or as the leaves upon the trees,
It did require to make thee please,
And stand unrivalled, queen of cheese.

May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to send you off as far as
The great world's show at Paris.

Of the youth beware of these,
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek, then songs or glees
We could not sing, oh! queen of cheese.

We'rt thou suspended from balloon,
You'd cast a shade even at noon,
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon.

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    Shirley Johnston

    LOL! When our class letter published a couple of reader haikus, we received the following:

    Boring as goat cheese,
    Newsletter drivel from hell,
    And now bad haiku.

    1. The interesting thing about that poem is that it was written about the HUGE cheese that an admirer gave to Thomas Jefferson on the occasion of his inauguration. It was driven through the ice and snow (yes, all 7,000 pounds of it) on a large horse-drawn cart to arrive in time for the festivities. On its side was stamped, "the greatest cheese for America's greatest man" (or something like that). about 20 years later, the white house still served the cheese--- on the last occasion with cake and punch.

      what a country we live in!

      2 Replies
      1. re: andy huse

        upon closer inspection, the poem may not have been about the same cheese, as it was going to Toronto, but Jefferson (and several administrations after him) did indeed enjoy a 7,000 lb cheese.

        1. re: andy huse
          Melanie Wong

          I went to a party on Saturday celebrating a 4 y.o. Wisconsin cheddar. A gathering for a 20 y.o. inauguration cheese would certainly top that!

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          Steven Stern

          More selections from the work of James McIntyre, Canada's great cheese poet, can be found at this wonderful site. "Prophecy of a Ten Ton Cheese" is my personal favorite.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Steven Stern
            Melanie Wong

            Omigod, there's more.

            Thanks for the link, Steven. "Prophecy ..." is especially charming, a parable for national harmony. (g)