Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

I was going to sit down and ponder the parable of the lost sheep this evening, but I got distracted when I visited MadPriest's blog tonight, so I'll have to save my serious discussion of the Gospel for later. The folks there had been discussing tacky funerary things on a couple of posts. Ok, since I'm in kind of a jocular mood, I got distracted.

I have to confess that one of the things I'm going to thank God for in my prayers tonight, is when my life comes to an end, that thanks to the Episcopal Church I'll at least have a dignified funeral. These days, a lot of what passes for "individualized expression" at funerals leaves me cold...or, worse yet, leaves me in stitches.

Don't get me wrong. I think there have been some nice touches to the modern visitation and funeral service. I like how families put up a variety of photographs. I like a eulogy that makes me grin from a fond memory (as long as the speaker keeps it short). But there's a growing trendy tacky aspect to a lot of funerals that detracts from what I see is the "real message"--that we have to look to something beyond this. Obviously, the easy "beyond" for me is the message of Christianity, but this can be taken in a secular sense, too. Even the most devout atheist wants to believe that when they are gone, there is a footprint they've left on the world that has a larger meaning.

Nowhere is this more evident than in "bad funeral poetry." Now, there's always been bad funeral poetry. But in years past it was probably more bad religious poetry; now it's just bad poetry of all varieties. Some bad poems just lend themselves to bad funeral poetry. One that seems to pop up way too often is Ann Taylor's "My Mother":

Who fed me from her gentle breast,
And hush'd me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
My Mother.

When sleep forsook my open eye,
Who was it sung sweet hushabye,
And rock'd me that I should not cry?
My Mother.

Who sat and watch'd my infant head,
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
My Mother.

When pain and sickness made me cry,
Who gaz'd upon my heavy eye,
And wept, for fear that I should die?
My Mother.

Who drest my doll in clothes so gay,
And taught me pretty how to play,
And minded all I had to say?
My Mother.

Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place to make it well?
My Mother.

Who taught my infant lips to pray,
And love God's holy book and day,
And walk in wisdom's pleasant way?
My Mother.

[Page 182]

And can I ever cease to be
Affectionate and kind to thee,
Who wast so very kind to me,
My Mother.

Ah! no, the thought I cannot bear;
And if God please my life to spare,
I hope I shall reward thy care,
My Mother.

When thou art feeble, old, and gray,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
And I will soothe thy pains away,
My Mother.

And when I see thee hang thy head,
'Twill be my turn to watch thy bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed,
My Mother.

For God, who lives above the skies,
Would look with vengeance in His eyes,
If I should ever dare despise,
My Mother.


The problem is that every time I hear that poem, my brain responds by reminding me of this poem....

When me prayers were poorly said,
Who tucked me in me widdle bed,
And spanked me till me arse was red?
Me Mudder.

Who took me from me cozy cot
And put me on an ice-cold pot,
And made me shit when I could not?
Me Mudder.

And when the morning light would come,
And in me crib me dribble some,
Who'd wipe me tiny widdle bum?
Me Mudder.

Who would me hair so gently part,
And hug me gently to her heart,
And sometimes squeeze me till I'd fart?
Me Mudder.

Who looked at me with eyebrows knit,
And nearly had a king size fit,
When in my Sunday pants me shit?
Me Mudder.

And when at night the bed did squeak,
Me raised me head to have a peek,
Who yelled at me to go to sleep?
Me Fadder!

I'll never forget the worst episode I had with this poem. The day before I had to go to my own grandmother's funeral, I had to go to a funeral of one of her close contemporaries. The pastor, a Conway Twitty-haired leisure suit Baptist kind of dude, started reciting the Ann Taylor "My Mother" poem. I had to bury my face in my hands to hide my laughter. I peeked over and my mother was doing the same thing. Hell, after all, she was the one who taught it to me when I was a kid!

I am sure the mourners all thought we were contemplating my grandmother's funeral the next day when we were actually contemplating, "Who put me on my widdle pot and made me shit when I could not? Me mudder."

Any clergy who uses that poem in a funeral should be taken out and beaten severely. That's just all there is to it.

Who taught me dirty rhymes so raw,
Their words got stuck inside me craw,
So then at funerals I'd guffaw...
Me Mudder!


These are hilarious. (Even the one that isn't meant to be).
Just finding you via Eileen and noted your location. I grew up in Mexico, MO and have brothers in Jeff City and Eureka. Nice to find a blogger who knows that corner of the world!



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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