Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quaere - George Farewell

Whether at doomsday (tell, ye reverend wise)
My friend Priapus with myself shall rise?

This extremely short poem is a serious question hiding behind a humorous quip.  The obvious meaning is, "Tell me, preacher, at the end, will I get a rise (erection) as I rise (to the afterlife)?"  Funny as this is (and based in fact of mortuary erection), it is, I think, a defense mechanism that we all employ when facing an uncomfortable subject, in this case, the end of times.

How many times do you catch yourself laughing at something not funny, or laughing in the face of fear, solely to not be afraid?  How often do we all dodge uncomfortable questions with humor?  That is, in effect, what this poem is doing.  It's taking the question of, "What will the end of times be like?" and subverting it, asking "Will I get a boner when I die?" instead.  It's funny, but belies a deeper unease with one's place in the world.  This is, I think, intentional, evidenced by the almost mocking tone the poet takes (ye reverend wise, being an example).  In the end, there's really not that much to say about this poem.  It's a great and funny example of a common defense mechanism that we all share.  I just thought the poem humorous enough to share.

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