wordsout by Godfrey Rust                                          HOME


Occasions and Nonsense

Words written for private and public occasions both happy and sad.

I've written occasional verse, songs and parodies as long as I can remember, normally to mark some milestone or rite of passage for someone. In part I blame Tom Lehrer, the finest satirical songwriter the western world has produced, though my own preferred default musical style has been calypso on the basis that it requires a good deal less technical competence than any genre attempted by Lehrer.

I am also indebted to the Great McGonagall, the best awful poet in the language, for providing a suitable parody mode for anything even vaguely Caledonian. Like calypso, McGonagall’s verse has the huge advantage that you can cram as many words into the lines as you like so long as you get a rhyme for the payoff. Information about William McGonagall, “Dundee’s most famous nobody”, may be found here. Everyone should read The Tay Bridge Disaster before they die. For the most sensitive, it may well be shortly before they die.

Not all are silly, of course, and there are several eulogies here. A few pieces have transcended the occasion enough to merit a place in one of the general collections: but ultimately I think there is no real distinction. In the occasional pieces, poetry gets back to its most essential functions - giving voice to the collective mind and emotion, and recording the stories that matter to us. Even those who don't know the people who are being teased and celebrated here will recognise the personalities, and the need we all have to express our appreciation of one another, with or without irony. 

for family

for St Johns' church, West Ealing  

for All Souls, Langham Place

for Ealing Eagles Running Club

for friends

for colleagues