Another poem that has had a profound effect on me and one my brain refuses to be forget is Dorthy Parker’s, Thought for a Sunshiny Morning.
If you do not know Dorothy Parker, you need to do yourself a favour and find out as much as you can about her. Similar to Spike Milligan, Parker’s poetry is equal parts heart breaking, scathing, and damned funny. It seems I’m a sucker for poems that have a sad humour to them, because most of my favourites of Parker (Resumé, Solace, and Unfortunate Coincidence) are vulnerably humourous.
Thought for a Sunshiny Morning changed my life because it is short, to the point, and is a cute but chilling reminder of death. I remember when I first read the poem, I put the book down and just laid there, struck by the image and morbid karma of the poem. The deceptive lightness and humour of the poem mask a deeper message of the stark nature of life – it was this duality that had a lasting effect on me.
Aside from the morbid and lifelong effect the poem had on me, I absolutely love how the poem uses a traditional rhyming structure to subvert an innocent moment. The innocence and flowing nature of the poem, coupled with the last line all work together to make a poem that almost has a punch line, that the pay off is the reminder about worm riddled corpses is even better.
That such a short and funny poem could have such a stark and almost shocking reminder of the universal truth about life, was a real game changer for me. Similar to how Love Song by Spike Milligan made me pay attention to poetry, Thought for a Sunshiny Morning made me realise you could have fun while doing it.
What do you think? Were you as struck by the images as me? Or were you unimpressed? The real beauty with poetry is that there is no wrong way to take a poem. What could change the life of one person, could be an eye roll for another – Everyone is different and every poem speaks to people in different ways.