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Category: Funny Parody Poems
       Classic humorous and funny poems using parody - an imitation of a writer, artist, or genre, with exaggeration for comic effect.

  HOME SWEET HOME WITH VARIATIONS  

Being suggestions of the various styles in which an old theme might
have been treated by certain metrical composers.

                                        FANTASIA

                                             I

The original theme as John Howard Payne wrote it:

'Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!
A charm from the skies seems to hallow it there,
Which, seek through the world, is not met with elsewhere.

                    Home, home! Sweet, Sweet Home!
                    There's no place like Home!

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain!
Oh, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singing gaily that came at my call!
Give me them! and the peace of mind, dearer than all.

                    Home, home! Sweet, Sweet Home!
                    There's no place like Home!

                                             II

(As Algernon Charles Swinburne might have wrapped it up
in variations.)

('Mid pleasures and palaces--)

As sea-foam blown of the winds, as blossom of brine that is drifted
    Hither and yon on the barren breast of the breeze,
Though we wander on gusts of a god's breath, shaken and shifted,
    The salt of us stings and is sore for the sobbing seas.
For home's sake hungry at heart, we sicken in pillared porches
    Of bliss made sick for a life that is barren of bliss,
For the place whereon is a light out of heaven that sears not nor
             scorches,
    Nor elsewhere than this.

(An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain--)

For here we know shall no gold thing glisten,
    No bright thing burn, and no sweet thing shine;
Nor love lower never an ear to listen
    To words that work in the heart like wine.
        What time we are set from our land apart,
        For pain of passion and hunger of heart,
Though we walk with exiles fame faints to christen,
    Or sing at the Cytherean's shrine.

(Variation: An exile from home--)

Whether with him whose head
Of gods is honored,
With song made splendent in the sight of men--
    Whose heart most sweetly stout,
    From ravishing France cast out,
Being firstly hers, was hers most wholly then--
    Or where on shining seas like wine
    The dove's wings draw the drooping Erycine.
(Give me my lowly thatched cottage--)

For Joy finds Love grow bitter,
And spreads his wings to quit her,
At thought of birds that twitter
    Beneath the roof-tree's straw--
    Of birds that come for calling,
    No fear or fright appalling,
    When dews of dusk are falling,
Or daylight's draperies draw.

(Give me them, and the peace of mind--)

Give me these things then back, though the giving
    Be at cost of earth's garner of gold;
There is no life without these worth living,
    No treasure where these are not told.
For the heart give the hope that it knows not,
    Give the balm for the burn of the breast--
For the soul and the mind that repose not,
    Oh, give us a rest!

                                            III

(As Mr. Francis Bret Harte might have woven it into a touching tale of
a western gentleman in a red shirt.)

Brown o' San Juan,
    Stranger, I'm Brown.
Come up this mornin' from 'Frisco--
    Be'n a-saltin' my specie-stacks down.

Be'n a-knockin' around,
    Fer a man from San Juan,
Putty consid'able frequent--
    Jes' catch onter that streak o' the dawn!

Right thar lies my home--
    Right thar in the red--
I could slop over, stranger, in po'try--
    Would spread out old Shakspoke cold dead.

Stranger, you freeze to this: there ain't no kinder gin-palace,
Nor no variety-show lays over a man's own rancho.
Maybe it hain't no style, but the Queen in the Tower o' London,
Ain't got naathin' I'd swop for that house over thar on the hill-side.

Thar is my ole gal, 'n' the kids, 'n' the rest o' my live-stock;
Thar my Remington hangs, and thar there's a griddle-cake br'ilin'--
For the two of us, pard--and thar, I allow, the heavens
Smile more friendly-like than on any other locality.

Stranger, nowhere else I don't take no satisfaction.
Gimme my ranch, 'n' them friendly old Shanghai chickens--
I brung the original pair f'm the States in eighteen-'n'-fifty--
Gimme me them and the feelin' of solid domestic comfort.

    Yer parding, young man--
        But this landscape a kind
    Er flickers--I 'low 'twuz the po'try--
        I thought that my eyes hed gone blind.

    Take that pop from my belt!
        Hi, thar!--gimme yer han'--
    Or I'll kill myself--Lizzie--she's left me--
        Gone off with a purtier man!

    Thar, I'll quit--the ole gal
        An' the kids--run away!
    I be derned! Howsomever, come in, pard--
        The griddle-cake's thar, anyway.

                                             IV

(As Austin Dobson might have translated it from Horace, if it had ever
occurred to Horace to write it.)

                                        RONDEAU

At home alone, O Nomades,
Although Mecenas' marble frieze
    Stand not between you and the sky
    Nor Persian luxury supply
Its rosy surfeit, find ye ease.

Tempt not the far Agean breeze;
With home-made wine and books that please,
    To duns and bores the door deny,
            At home, alone.

Strange joys may lure. Your deities
Smile here alone. Oh, give me these:
    Low eaves, where birds familiar fly,
    And peace of mind, and, fluttering by,
My Lydia's graceful draperies,
            At home, alone.

                                             V

(As it might have been constructed in 1744, Oliver Goldsmith, at 19,
writing the first stanza, and Alexander Pope, at 52, the second.)

Home! at the word, what blissful visions rise,
Lift us from earth, and draw us toward the skies;
'Mid mirag'd towers, or meretricious joys,
Although we roam, one thought the mind employs:
Or lowly hut, good friend, or loftiest dome,
Earth knows no spot so holy as our Home.
There, where affection warms the father's breast,
There is the spot of heav'n most surely blest.
Howe'er we search, though wandering with the wind
Through frigid Zembla, or the heats of Ind,
Not elsewhere may we seek, nor elsewhere know,
The light of heaven upon our dark below.

When from our dearest hope and haven reft,
Delight nor dazzles, nor is luxury left,
We long, obedient to our nature's law,
To see again our hovel thatched with straw:
See birds that know our avenaceous store
Stoop to our hand, and thence repleted soar:
But, of all hopes the wanderer's soul that share,
His pristine peace of mind's his final prayer.

                                             VI

(As Walt Whitman might have written all around it.)

                                             I

You over there, young man with the guide-book, red-bound, covered
             flexibly with red linen,
Come here, I want to talk with you; I, Walt, the Manhattanese, citizen
             of these States, call you.
Yes, and the courier, too, smirking, smug-mouthed, with oil'd hair; a
             garlicky look about him generally; him, too, I take in, just as I
             would a coyote or a king, or a toad-stool, or a ham-sandwich, or
             anything, or anybody else in the world.
Where are you going?
You want to see Paris, to eat truffles, to have a good time; in Vienna,
             London, Florence, Monaco, to have a good time; you want to see
             Venice.
Come with me. I will give you a good time; I will give you all the
             Venice you want, and most of the Paris.
I, Walt, I call to you. I am all on deck! Come and loafe with me! Let me
             tote you around by your elbow and show you things.
You listen to my ophicleide!
Home!
Home, I celebrate. I elevate my fog-whistle, inspir'd by the thought of
             home.
Come in!--take a front seat; the jostle of the crowd not minding; there
             is room enough for all of you.
This is my exhibition--it is the greatest show on earth--there is no
             charge for admission.
All you have to pay me is to take in my romanza.

                                             II

1. The brown-stone house; the father coming home worried from a
        bad day's business; the wife meets him in the marble pav'd
        vestibule; she throws her arms about him; she presses him
        close to her; she looks him full in the face with
        affectionate eyes; the frown from his brow disappearing.

        Darling, she says, Johnny has fallen down and cut his head; the
        cook is going away, and the boiler leaks.

2. The mechanic's dark little third-story room, seen in a flash
        from the Elevated Railway train; the sewing-machine in a
        corner; the small cook-stove; the whole family eating
        cabbage around a kerosene lamp; of the clatter and roar and
        groaning wail of the Elevated train unconscious; of the
        smell of the cabbage unconscious.

        Me, passant, in the train, of the cabbage not quite so
        unconscious.

3. The French Flat; the small rooms, all right-angles,
        un-individual; the narrow halls; the gaudy, cheap
        decorations everywhere.

The janitor and the cook exchanging compliments up and down the
        elevator-shaft; the refusal to send up more coal, the solid
        splash of the water upon his head, the language he sends up
        the shaft, the triumphant laughter of the cook, to her
        kitchen retiring.

4. The widow's small house in the suburbs of the city; the
        widow's boy coming home from his first day down town; he is
        flushed with happiness and pride; he is no longer a
        school-boy, he is earning money; he takes on the airs of a
        man and talks learnedly of business.

5. The room in the third-class boarding-house; the mean little
        hard-coal fire, the slovenly Irish servant-girl making it,
        the ashes on the hearth, the faded furniture, the private
        provender hid away in the closet, the dreary backyard out
        the window; the young girl at the glass, with her mouth full
        of hairpins, doing up her hair to go downstairs and flirt
        with the young fellows in the parlor.

6. The kitchen of the old farm-house; the young convict just
        returned from prison--it was his first offense, and the
        judges were lenient on him.

He is taking his first meal out of prison; he has been received
        back, kiss'd, encourag'd to start again; his lungs, his
        nostrils expand with the big breaths of free air; with
        shame, with wonderment, with a trembling joy, his heart too,
        expanding.

The old mother busies herself about the table; she has ready for
        him the dishes he us'd to like; the father sits with his
        back to them, reading the newspaper, the newspaper shaking
        and rustling much; the children hang wondering around the
        prodigal--they have been caution'd: Do not ask where our Jim
        has been; only say you are glad to see him.

The elder daughter is there, palefac'd, quiet; her young man
        went back on her four years ago; his folks would not let him
        marry a convict's sister. She sits by the window, sewing on
        the children's clothes, the clothes not only patching up;
        her hunger for children of her own invisibly patching up.

The brother looks up; he catches her eye, he fearful,
        apologetic; she smiles back at him, not reproachfully
        smiling, with loving pretence of hope smiling--it is too
        much for him; he buries his face in the folds of the
        mother's black gown.

7. The best room of the house, on the Sabbath only open'd; the
        smell of horse-hair furniture and mahogany varnish; the
        ornaments on the what-not in the corner; the wax fruit,
        dusty, sunken, sagged in, consumptive-looking, under a glass
        globe, the sealing-wax imitation of coral; the cigar boxes
        with shells plastered over, the perforated card-board motto.

The kitchen; the housewife sprinkling the clothes for the fine
        ironing to-morrow--it is the Third-day night, and the plain
        things are ready iron'd, now in cupboards, in drawers stowed
        away.

The wife waiting for the husband--he is at the tavern, jovial,
        carousing; she, alone in the kitchen sprinkling clothes--the
        little red wood clock with peaked top, with pendulum wagging
        behind a pane of gayly painted glass, strikes twelve.

The sound of the husband's voice on the still night air--he is
        singing: "We won't go home until morning!"--the wife
        arising, toward the wood-shed hastily going, stealthily
        entering, the voice all the time coming nearer, inebriate,
        chantant.

The husband passing the door of the wood-shed; the club over his
        head, now with his head in contact; the sudden cessation of
        the song; the benediction of peace over the domestic foyer
        temporarily resting.

I sing the soothing influences of home.
You, young man, thoughtlessly wandering, with courier, with guide-book
             wandering,
You hearken to the melody of my steam-calliope
Yawp!

                                                             H. C. Bunner.


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