“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”
Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American writer and cartoonist most widely known for his children’s books written under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone. He published 44 children’s books, often characterised by imaginative characters, rhyme, and frequent use of trisyllabic meter (you know the ones. Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton Hears a Who!, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and so on). These were adapted in loads of different things – eleven television specials, three feature films, a Broadway musical and four television series.
He started using “Seuss” as a tag when he was caught drinking gin with some friends in his room (this was in the days of prohibition) and banned from extracurricular activities. The only way he could carry on writing for the college humour magazine – the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern – was under a pseudonym. So, without further ado…
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly it’s true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you.
I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
Whether you like it or not,
alone is something you’ll
be quite a lot.
I’m afraid sometimes
you’ll play lonely games too,
games you can’t win
because you’ll play against you.
I’m sorry to say
so but, sadly it’s true
that bang-ups and hang-ups
can happen to you
ps – this is from Wikipedia on the poetic meters he used:
Geisel wrote most of his books in anapestic tetrameter, a poetic meter employed by many poets of the English literary canon. This characteristic style of writing, which draws and pulls the reader into the text, is often suggested as one of the reasons that Geisel’s writing was so well-received.
Anapestic tetrameter consists of four rhythmic units, anapests, each composed of two weak beats followed by one strong beat; often, the first weak syllable is omitted, or an additional weak syllable is added at the end. An example of this meter can be found in Geisel’s “Yertle the Turtle”, from Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories:
- “And today the Great Yertle, that Marvelous he
- Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.”
Geisel generally maintained this rhythm quite strictly, but in his later career somewhat relaxed this tendency. The consistency of his meter was one of his hallmarks; the many imitators and parodists of Geisel are often unable to write in strict anapestic tetrameter, or are unaware that they should, and thus sound clumsy in comparison.
Some books by Geisel that are written mainly in anapestic tetrameter also contain many lines written in amphibrachic tetrameter, such as these from If I Ran the Circus:
- “All ready to put up the tents for my circus.
- I think I will call it the Circus McGurkus.
- “And NOW comes an act of Enormous Enormance!
- No former performers performed this performance!”
Geisel also wrote verse in trochaic tetrameter, an arrangement of a strong beat followed by a weak beat, with four units per line (for example, the title of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish). The formula for trochaic meter permits the final weak position in the line to be omitted, which facilitates the construction of rhymes.
Geisel generally maintained trochaic meter only for brief passages, and for longer stretches typically mixed it with iambic tetrameter, which consists of a weak beat followed by a strong, and is generally considered easier to write. Thus, for example, the magicians in Bartholomew and the Oobleck make their first appearance chanting in trochees (thus resembling the witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth):
- “Shuffle, duffle, muzzle, muff“
then switch to iambs for the oobleck spell:
- “Go make the Oobleck tumble down
- On every street, in every town!”