A regular participant in my writing workshops recently introduced me to the “Country House Poem.” Something I knew nothing about!
According to Wikipedia, it’s a poem in which “the author compliments a wealthy patron or a friend through a description of his country house.” Popular in early 17th century England, there are numerous examples of them.
Here’s an excerpt from a 1568 poem by Geoffrey Whitney that compares Combermere Abbey to a beehive:
There, fertile fields, there, meadows large extend;
There, store of grain with water and with wood.
And in this place, your golden time you spend,
Unto your praise, and to your country’s good
This is the hive, your tenants are the bees –
And in the same, have places by degrees.
Perhaps I should bring back the Country House Poem – or a variation of it. I could write a tome for each of my clients after close of escrow. Or I could write silly real estate poetry for my own entertainment, with verses like these:
For the (relatively) inexpensive tenant-occupied, fixer 2-units in SOMA that sold on an alley block around the corner from a popular rave venue:
Though urine soaked with walls grafitti’d
And rents so low one can’t be greedy
This home in progress path is planted
N’er take low-cost square feet for granted!
Or for the $2,250,000 2-bedroom 1500 sq. ft. top-floor condo overlooking Dolores Park:
Where else can you spend fifteen hundred a foot
With roof rights on which a nice deck could be put
For watching the revelers in Dolores Park
And hearing them long, long, long after it’s dark?
And don’t forget the Outer Parkside surf shack that broke the one-million-dollar ceiling on a 40-something avenue:
Tsunami, liquefaction and dam inundation
Might give you a moment of slight hesitation
But Ocean Beach beckons to you and your dog
Especially on rare days without any fog
Clearly, I have some serious work to do if I’m going to revive this art form!