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The Poetry of the Super Bowl

For the past 14 years, Only A Game has celebrated the Super Bowl in verses consisting of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. But, Bill Littlefield asks, could another measure do just as well as the haiku?

It's not that it's impossible to approach the Super Bowl in any other form of verse.Consider, for example, the sonnet. I once wrote a Super Bowl sonnet. It began: That time of year thou mayst today behold
When chili dogs and beer the table bears...
When future wages have been bought and sold
And bookies move the line and pull their hairs... Okay so far, right? But the problem was, you couldn't hear the next ten lines. Shakespeare's rattling bones were making too much noise as he spun in his grave. But what about a verse form more obviously suited to commenting on a diversion? Because, large and loaded down with folderol and fighter jets as the Super Bowl is, it is still a game. So what about commenting on it via a limerick? That would seem to be an appropriately frivolous strategy. There once was player named Brady
And his coach did some stuff that was shady,
But as long as they won
It was still lots of fun
For Tom Brady and also his lady. Not too bad. That one's a tad risqu?nd might have some appeal even to folks who don't follow football, as long as they're fans of pop culture. It's easy to suppose that maybe there is something to partnering the big game and limericks. Some fans like the game for its passes
And they say, as they fill up their glasses,
"This game is a thrill!"
And they try not to spill,
Or fall down on their great big, fat — Yeah, well, that's sort of the problem with a lot of limericks, isn't it? They're not appropriate for a family show. So when we attempt to explore the poetic side of this year's Super Bowl on Saturday's "Only A Game," we'll be returning to the familiar territory of the haiku. Dark desert waiting...
Game bursts upon it, blazing...
Selling beer and cars. See, one of the great things about haiku is that the ancients who practiced that art have a sense of humor...or else they're more polite than Shakespeare, and if they spin in their graves, they do it quietly.

This program aired on January 31, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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