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by Lionel E. Deimel

Seal of the Bishop of San Joaquin

There once was a bish in the valley

Who asked his convention to tally

Its votes to secede

That would make his church bleed

Causing right-wing schismatics to rally.

Bishop John-David Schofield, erstwhile Bishop of San Joaquin, engineered a reputed transfer of his diocese from The Episcopal Church to the province of the Southern Cone this past weekend. If The Episcopal Church has been oblivious to the ongoing insurrection by its “orthodox” minority, it can ignore the revolution no longer.

Before going to bed last night, I wrote the line “There once was a bishop of Fresno,” Fresno being the see city where San Joaquin held its diocesan convention. I swear that, sometime during the night, I thought up a good rhyme for “Fresno,” but, for the life of me, I could not remember it this morning. Of course, for a limerick, I needed two rhymes for “Fresno,” so it may have been inevitable that I would discard the first draft of a beginning for this poem.

“Bish” may not be a common term for a bishop, but, although it’s not in my dictionary, I have heard other people use it, so I didn’t feel especially guilty about using it myself.

This may not be the perfect limerick, at least as far as meter is concerned. I have mixed feelings about the enjambment of “tally” and “Its,” though I think this really is OK. The last line was originally “And cause right-wing schismatics to rally.” This was a line that was easily misread. A friend, upon reading the poem, instantly suggested the present line, which is much better.

— LED, 12/12/2007

I came upon something I wanted to add to my commentary and, rather than edit what I wrote earlier, I thought I would simply add this addendum.

I am currently reading Kate Gallison’s mystery Bury the Bishop. On page 119, Detective David Dogg is speculating about the death of the Bishop of New Jersey, who is referred to as “the bish.” I guess my poem is not breaking any linguistic ground here.

— LED, 7/24/2008

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