Of Old Sea Dogs and Herringbone is the third work by Genevieve Wood to be introduced in the Purple Scooter Poetry website. It was written in the 1950s when we lived in a completely different world. It’s a personal favorite of mine.
This ballad has quite a serious theme at one level. But it’s also clever, outrageously funny, and full of delightful surprises. Although a poetically demanding work, it should appeal to all kinds of readers — serious students of literature, those who get a kick out of the sound of words and rhyming, those with a sense of adventure and fantasy, people who simply enjoy a good laugh, anyone drawn to the ocean, and all who are fascinated by Winston Churchill, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
The title of the work is straightforward enough. Its meaning will be clear from the tale itself. But the author always presented the title with this secondary parenthetical phrase: (in old Churchillian rhyme). As the publication’s editor, I felt obliged to look into whether in fact there is such a thing as “old Churchillian rhyme.” I found nothing to confirm that there is, but decided to retain its use anyway–because it was written that way, and because it’s playful.
However, it would be interesting, maybe even instructive, to hear what others have to say about the matter. Anyone who wants to speculate — in a serious vein or just for fun — on what the author’s intent might have been when she spoke of “old Churchillian rhyme” is encouraged to do so.
Please also feel free to share any other thoughts you may have about Sea Dogs. To say the least, it is a true original!
And feel free to comment on any other elements of the Purple Scooter website that interest you, or to suggest poems that you think should be considered for inclusion.
[Gail Spangenberg, Editor]