Farewell Merry Mae

Mae Scanlan 1931-2019

Mae Scanlan, pianist, photographer and poet, who sadly died early in February, had been a contributor to LUPO since the third issue in September 2008. In the years that followed she clocked up thirty-eight appearances in the Table of Contents, and had thirty-three winning competition entries, as well as several short items in Intervals.

Martin Parker, Founder Editor of LUPO, writes:

“ . . . simply the best.”
Never a dull moment. Never a flat note. Savour these snippings from longer pieces:

“I like to think that flattery done properly
Might have forestalled the Battle of Thermopylae.”

“I'd rather eat an aardvark boiled
Than use a light bulb that is coiled.”

“I've just now decided that I am to kitchens
What organised faith was to Christopher Hitchens.”

What a fortunate editor I was to have been sent such gems in LUPO's very early days.
Modest, generous, brave and wonderfully talented Mae. So often “ better than all the rest.”

Jerome Betts, Editor of LUPO, writes:

Mae was a keen supporter of LUPO and an ever-reliable contributor, her topics here, among many others, including London's grey weather, global warming, the pituitary gland, golf, oysters, artichokes, downsizing, morticians, and the digital age, as well as a neat macaronic piece which would certainly have topped the list had it been an entry in Competition 44. I had the benefit of over four years of entertaining email correspondence with Mae on magazine and other matters, finding her someone always a pleasure to deal with who welcomed suggestions and tweaks despite her long track record as a writer of sparkling light verse.

An example of her zest for the art was the occasion last year when she had mentioned that some commentators were calling Donald Trump ‘unhinged’ and in a brief reply I had unwittingly produced the metrically-flavoured phrase ‘A POTUS off his hinges is not a pretty sight’. She told me that on reading this she had seized pad and pen and turned out two stanzas incorporating the line, not for publication but sheer fun.

Until the middle of 2018 Mae had lived for fifty-five years in Washington D.C. with her husband Tom, a journalist, until moving to nearby Maryland with him to an apartment in a retirement community. Her last winning entry in LUPO’s competition in September 2018 described the blowing down of a tree in the garden of the house she had only recently left. Not long after that stressful upheaval she entered hospital for a major operation from which, alas, despite some gleams of hope in December, she never really recovered. More about Mae can be found in this 2009 Light Quarterly profile of her by Melissa Balmain, now editor of Light. (http://lightpoetrymagazine.com/the-marvelous-mrs-mae/ )

Although Mae's work in LUPO can be accessed via the home page, Martin and I have chosen two favourite pieces of ours to include here as a tribute, as well as a new piece already scheduled and a final brief appearance in Interval Four. It is sad to think that there will be no more contributions, or cheerful emails even at difficult times, but perhaps we can hope for a Collected Mae some day.

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The Royal Pedigree

( Chosen by M.P. In Competition 6, 'New
  Laureate', competitors were asked for a
  woman’s eye view on any royal event. )

The schools are shutting down today,
The government is closing.
The shops are locked, and so will stay.
It's not what you're supposing.

There's been no threat of germ nor bomb,
No terror from the skies.
The mood is high, the city's calm,
Awaiting a surprise.

The Queen, at quarter after one,
Will make a proclamation:
She's crossed two canines, just for fun –
A dorgi's joined the nation.

The world is full of woe and strife,
And, as the Mideast boils,
A little dorgi comes to life.
Thank heaven for the royals!

 ◊   ◊   ◊

The Joy of Gloating

(Chosen by J.B from Issue 24 December 2013)

You’re cruising on the highway, at a normal rate of speed,
When a chap pulls up behind you, with an overriding need
To hassle you – get in your face; and then he starts to weave
From lane to lane with tactics no sane driver would believe.
In time you hear a siren sound; the madman has to stop,
And out of a police car gets a mean and angry cop.
You feel so good you have to grin; it’s worth a hundred tuppence
To see a person you don’t like receive a good comeuppance.

You enter a short story contest; think you have a chance,
And hope that what you’ve written  merits more than just a glance.
Alas, another’s wondrous words, on which you haven’t reckoned,
Corral first prize.  That’s how it goes.  And you, you come in second.
But after he has won, it turns out every word was stolen
From someone else.  The whole thing. Down to every semi-colon.
He’s in disgrace.  And what a thrill!  It’s worth a thousand tuppence
To watch a rotten cheater get a justified comeuppance.

The leader of your city is a fellow liked by most;
Of what he’s done, and how he’s done it, he’s inclined to boast.
He stands up tall at City Hall, adorned with smug expression,
That is, until today, when he is forced to make confession,
As he’s embezzled hefty funds from sacred city coffers,
And given cushy jobs to those who’ve made the highest offers.
Titillating!  Satisfying!  Worth a million thruppence,
Watching how the mighty fall and get their due comeuppance!

 ◊   ◊   ◊

 Fly Me to the Supermarket

Tired of gridlock driving,
And subway/bus repair?
Planners now are striving
To put you in the AIR.

Imagine going on your way
With briefcase, wallet, phone,
Some twenty feet above the fray,
Connected to a drone!

Imagine looking down to see
The road rage and the fretters,
While you are up there, floating free
From traffic's ugly fetters.

Of course it will be noisy
With the buzzing and the whirring;
Might be okay in Boise;
New York? Bad vibes occurring.

Great hordes of Mary Poppinses
Aloft, with motors roaring,
Might cause a curse on drop-ins, as
Folks don't like raucous soaring.

But let us make this airborne leap
The country's in a slump.
Sounds fun, and haply it will keep
Our thoughts away from Trump.