Tuesday, 20 March 2018

LEIGH MERCER'S PALINDROME WORKSHOP

WORDPLAY POST #107

A LIMERICK-BASED ANECDOTE 

LIMERICK VERSE:  Original verse composed by Giorgio Coniglio, November 2016, modified from the version accepted for publication by OEDILF.com, the online limerick dictionary.

ORIGINAL SONG: These verses can be sung to  the tune of "The Limerick Song", as in "The Flea and the Fly" (see sactoGranny's recording on YouTube here.). A blogpost on our song-lyrics site shows the ukulele chord-charts for this oeuvre.

BACKGROUND:
Leigh Mercer (1893-1977) was credited with the iconic palindrome, "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama." Mercer, an isolated British eccentric, worked during his lifetime at a variety of low-level jobs, and occasionally communicated with journals and contest organizers about wordplay and mathematical puzzles. After his death, notebooks filled with inventive palindromes were discovered, as described here

The lyrics describe an apocryphal workshop conducted by Mercer, during which the iconic canal palindrome is almost invented.



LEIGH'S PALINDROME WORKSHOP

Note: All italicized phrases except the first are legitimate palindromes.
Several of these have been reported for the first time by the author.

"A man + a plan, a canal —
Panacea
: A palindrome, pal?"
My friend Leigh seemed contrite —
"No! The ending's not right.
Zeus sees Suez — that seems less lame, Mal."
"A man, a plan, IF final, Pan-
ama
 
works, (like Name male pipe, lame man!)"
My friend Leigh looked uptight,
"No! It lacks enough bite.
It's ambiv'lent, like Nab, rob or ban."

"Amen + a pit, Ipanema"
(Voiced in Portuguese, with no disclaimer).
Leigh: "No! Tip-top pot pit
Is a much better fit,
But Amen! Icy cinema's lamer."

"A mar on a pan — a panorama:
Has poor scansion, but not such bad grammar".
Leigh groaned, "Dammit, I'm mad;
Stuff those phrases so bad;
No sir, prison — that warrants the slammer."


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