On matters of love, loss, honor and Classical mythology did the Great Poets blather. Your Grecian urns, your Childe Harolds, your country churchyards -- great vats of ink were spilled in their minute and painstaking examination. But did the ins and outs of the Canadian cheese industry ever once provide inspiration for a Wordsworth, a Byron, a Longfellow? I put it to you, sir, that they did not. And frankly, that's their -- and the world's -- loss.
I accuse the chalky
Had they not been so blinkered, so lost in the received wisdom so distressingly common in the Humanities, they might have opened my eyes to the Canadian Cheese Problem -- and to the heroic versifier who burst out of the wintry northern darkness to bring the issue to light.
Ladies and gentlemen, with a baleful glare at those unworthy academics who hid his existence from me for all those years, I give you James McIntyre, the Bard of Canadian Cheese!
According to the rather bloodless Wikipedia entry, McIntyre, locally popular for his tireless boosterism for the Canadian cheese industry, "was called on to speak at every kind of social gathering in Ingersoll [Ontario]." I regularly curse the scientific community for their unaccountable failure to invent a time machine, despite the obvious benefits such a device would accrue us*; absolutely the first use to which I would put one would be to transport myself to a public reading of McIntyre's, to bathe myself in the magnificence of verse such as the following:
Ode on the Mammoth CheeseNow that, kids, is some poetry. Goddammit, "Toronto" is not an easy rhyme, but look how skilfully it's finessed in the hands of a master!
We have seen thee, Queen of cheese,
Laying 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 o' 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.
You too can sample the majesty of McIntyre's prosody. Particularly lissome are Dairy Ode, Prophecy of a Ten Ton Cheese, and Oxford Cheese Ode, but read them all, read them all!
Damn, I'm hungry. Gonna see if I can dig up a chunk of Canuck cheddar...
[Lest we be seen to single out the magnificently awful poetry of our Frozen Neighbor to the North, let's also draw attention to Julia A. Moore, the Sweet Singer of Michigan, whose ineffable skill at bathos very nearly rivals McIntyre's. Enjoy, enjoy! You can thank me later.]
*The benefits this thing accrue us
To see ourselves as others do us!