Onions, potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips…

I came across these two parodies of Walt Whitman’s poems today and thought they were worth sharing… they probably won’t be funny at all to those not familiar to his bold declamations, enumerative style and peculiar mix of poetry and ‘normal’, day-to-day language and themes, but I know I laughed.

From “I Am Walt Whitman,” Anonymous (1868)

I am Walt Whitman.
You are an idiot.
O intellectual ingurtilations of creeds!
To such I am antiseptic.
I met a man.
In a gutter. We were at once friends.
O homogeneities of contemporaneous antiloxodromachy!

From “Covent Garden Market,” Julian Sturgis (1884)
Covent Garden Market.
Onions, potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, asparagus French and English
(O bon jour, French asparagus, my brother!)Good vegetables and bad musty vegetables!
Good sellers and bad musty sellers!
I devour the bad musty vegetables.
O bouquets for misses, and for opera girls!
Empty wagons and full wagons, empty baskets and full baskets, empty people and full people!
O Covent Garden Market!
O dirt and smell and slime indescribable! I describe you all, I love you all, I wallow in you all, I too, am a vegetable.


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