Me, I’m a versifier. Give me a subject, any subject within reason, and I’ll write a bit of verse for you that rhymes, has a definite beat and, after you’ve read it, leaves you with something to ponder on. There are limitations, of course. First, I need to know something about the subject. I need time. I need time to think about it, obviously. Then I need time to start getting something on paper or, in my own case, screen.
I need time to get rid of the lot and start again. And when I have finished it for a second time I need time to show it to someone not involved to see how it strikes them. I then need time to start again.
Sometimes, the request is easily met and flowers are strewn in my path. Sometimes I get a blinder that sends me rushing to my room and my comfort blanket and drawing the curtains.
Once, this did happen. Not the comfort blanket bit but certainly the rushing to a small room – I forget which one. The chap on the phone said actually he not only wanted the poem to be on a specific subject, he had to have it by the following weekend.
The specific subject was water. The chap – just one chap – who wanted it was the Speaker for the Sunday service at a rather well-known church, and his subject was Water. And he wanted it to be in the form of a hymn. He wanted words for singing. For singing by the church congregation and the Choir. And set to some already well-known tune.
I could not swear to it but I daresay I slept fitfully that night. And the next. I bubbled and possibly squeaked and was very hard to get on with for several days. Draft followed draft. But I made it; I not only made it but also received a very nice note of thanks from the Speaker.
Why am I telling you this? Because I am preparing you for one day a little while from now when I shall be able to tell you about a brief given to me for a hymn on a subject so utterly un-hymnlike, so foreign to any church congregation anywhere in any kind of church that you can think of, that you will scarcely believe me.