Writers of light verse share something in common with prizefighters: They train their four-liners to deliver the knock-out punch every time. In Light Verses…Just for Laughs, author Ramona Demery takes some swipes at a full gamut of life experiences.
Most readers will find at least one familiar situation worth a chuckle in this collection of bantamweight fare. In “Vacationary Dream,” for instance, Demery takes aim at books for budget-conscious vacationers: “I want a book/ That’ll show me the way/ To stay at home/ On $10 a day.” “Small Voice” also tackles money woes: “We hear that money talks./ A fact that should delight us,/ But it buys so little now,/ It must have laryngitis.”
Other topics include becoming a gourmet cook, planning an ideal vacation itinerary and managing kids and unfriendly dogs (“While going on my morning jogs,/ I notice signs about/ mean dogs./ I wish I’d see, just once or twice,/ a sign that reads,/ ‘Our dog is nice’”). The book is enhanced with cartoon-style illustrations that add to the levity.
Demery notes on the book’s back cover that, over the years, her verses have found a wide audience; some were first published in the Saturday Evening Post, Wall Street Journal, McCall’s and the Arizona Republic. One wonders, though, if their “liteness”— skimming the surface of life’s paradoxes— also reveals a simpler age before such mild irony was replaced by the deep-seated cynicism permeating much of contemporary humor today. Today’s typical “light verse” would probably sound very rancorous to the audience that read Demery’s verse back in the day.
At 45 undersized pages, it’s a quick read that might, indeed, have a limited audience in our modern world. But those of a certain age will likely appreciate the chuckles, and it could provide the perfect stress-break for airline passengers waiting in long queues to pass through airport security. They need something lightweight to pass the time—and with no sharp edges.
Also available as an ebook.