The Archive has poems to suit all moods. Here's our selection of poems to make you laugh. You'll find news of an engagement, a tender illustration of the differences between men and women, a breakfast meditation, a school-teacher close to breaking point, and a very angry talking monster.
The Loch Ness Monster's Song
Hnwhuffl hhnnwfl hnfl hfl?
Gdroblboblhobngbl gbl gl g g g g glbgl.
Drublhaflablhaflubhafgabhaflhafl fl fl -
gm grawwwww grf grawf awfgm graw...
Take a look at the text of this poem before you play the recording. What on earth do these seemingly random lumps of letters mean? How could you ever read it aloud? How could it tell a story? And how could it ever make the listener laugh with delight? Then press PLAY.
They Should Have Asked My Husband
You know, this world is complicated and imperfect and oppressed
And it's not hard to feel timid, apprehensive and depressed.
It seems that all around us tides of...
Ask anyone in the UK to name a poet who makes them laugh and the name you're most likely to hear is Pam Ayres. She's a superb performer and she's a real poet too. This poem tells you what it's like to live with an opinionated windbag, a man who's “infallible, articulate, self-confident and wrong.”
Nobody leave the room.
Everyone listen to me.
We had ten pairs of scissors
At half-past two,
And now there's only three.
Seven pairs of scissors
Allan Ahlberg has brightened the lives of very many children and of their parents, who have enjoyed reading his poems over and over again to their offspring. His own experience as a teacher is behind this deft little portrait of an increasingly infuriated and exhausted primary-school teacher.
The cherry blossom
In my neighbour's garden - Oh!
It looks really nice.
The leaves have fallen
And the snow has fallen and
Soon my hair...
Jason Strugnell is Wendy Cope's invented, talentless poet, here making a typically leaden-footed attempt at haikus.
I eat oatmeal for breakfast.
I make it on the hot plate and put skimmed milk on it.
I eat it alone.
I am aware it is not good to eat oatmeal alone.
Its consistency is such that it is better for...
Galway Kinnell explains how he sometimes chooses an imaginary companion to eat breakfast with. The poem contains sympathetic revelations about the writing methods of Keats and Wordsworth and benefits hugely from Kinnell's slow, kindly, conversational, over-the-breakfast-table delivery.
because you're classically trained.
I'm ugly because I associate piano wire with strangulation.
You're beautiful because you stop to read the cards in newsagents' windows
about lost cats and missing...
Again, tenderness is combined with acute comic observation. Simon Armitage's dead-pan comment after the poem has finished is the perfect pay-off.
Miss J.Hunter Dunn, Miss J.Hunter Dunn,
Furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament - you against me!
Love-thirty, love-forty, oh!...
John Betjeman's poetry sounds completely natural. He's just telling a story. And yet the humour and sadness and the loveliness of a bygone era come across with wonderful vividness as he and the immortal Miss Joan Hunter Dunn drive together to the dance at the Golf Club... and then sit in the car park all evening.