Nancy Ames

Joined January 2008

I am a Canadian, originally from Ontario, and am now living in Calgary, Alberta. I have been writing for over 30 years and performed my...

Extracts from my reading - III

J. V. Cunningham, Epigrams:

You ask me how contempt who claims to sleep
With every woman that has ever been
Can still maintain that women are skin-deep?
They never let him any deeper in.

Malcolm Muggeridge, “Tread Softly for you Tread on my Jokes”, 1966
(on becoming editor of Punch)

In a healthy, civilized society, it seems to me, everything should be open to ridicule. Indeed, I would go further and contend that the degree of health and civilization in any given society bears a direct relation to the degree to which this principle operates. Taboos, where humour is concerned, are an admission of doubt, and derive from a sense of weakness and insecurity. The truly religious take no offense when attention is drawn to the absurdity necessarily inherent in the dogmas to which they subscribe and the ceremonies in which they participate. Protests invariably come from the conventionally religious, from the formalists for whom the dogmas and the ceremonies constitute the whole content of their faith. It is the same with politicians. Those who most object to being ridiculed have the least confidence in the policies they advocate. It is the same with moralists. If they complain that some cherished principle is blasphemed by the humorous treatment of its application, then it is certain that in their hearts they doubt the principle’s ultimate validity.

William Blake (1757 – 1827) – “The Angel”

I asked a thief to steal me a peach:
He turned up his eyes.
I asked a lithe lady to lie her down:
Holy and meek she cries.

As soon as I went an angel came:
He winked at the thief
And smiled at the dame,
And without one word spoke
Had a peach from the tree,
And ’twixt earnest and joke
Enjoyed the lady.

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