TOO MANY RHYMES,
NOT ENOUGH BRAINS
Reading Thomas Cleveland Lane’s delightful book, Too Many Rhymes, Not
Enough Brains, is like eating a box of
chocolates. Each page holds a poem with a different texture and flavor,
all of them coated with a rich blend of unbridled joy and verbal
Poetry is one of the most difficult writing styles; it requires in-born
talent, and Mr. Lane definitely has his share. The range of subjects he
tackles with ease and enthusiasm is impressive and truly remarkable.
Adults and children alike will smile or laugh at many of the 100-plus
verses in this captivating collection. In Lima Beans, for example, Mr.
Lane writes: “Weeds and flowers, I don’t mind. To most flora, I am
kind. I’m ok with a rose or daisy, but lima beans will make me crazy.”
Equally clever and often thought-provoking lines popped up in Mandolin
Picks; Ready for Freddy; Mum’s the Verbiage; A Day in the Life of the
Planet; Tinkerbelle at 87, and Mother Duck.
Thomas Cleveland Lane’s highly original book, Too May Rhymes, Not
Enough Brains, is full of humor, and beautifully
written. Reaching the last page is as sad as finding the last chocolate
in the box.
~ Irene Woodbury, Author
A Greater Truth is this Book
of Beautiful Verse!
Too Many Rhymes, Not Enough
Brains by Thomas Cleveland Lane is a
beautifully written book of verse. I suspected this would be the case
after I read the author's introduction wherein he intones that much of
what he's written is doggerel verse. But this is not true. Humorous,
and even sarcastic in places, may be a fair portion of poems in his
book, but having no literary value (as defined by doggerel) is simply
not true. His humility is rife. But personally speaking, I highly value
anything that makes me laugh, makes me feel good and makes me smile.
For these poems are written
with style, panache and great cleverness. A fair amount of his poems
contain double rhymes and clever, unusual rhymes – what you would
expect from an Edgar Allan Poe and Oscar Wilde, along with the clever
metaphors and double entendres you learned to expect from the likes of
Ogden Nash and Dylan Thomas. Only Lane's poetry, by and large, is not
dark and dreary, nor tragic and maudlin. Not even at the end of Part
One (the book is divided into two major sections) with A.A.’s Dark Side
–is there a side to this tome that is dark or Poe dreary.
If anything, the book as a whole is illuminating, occasionally with a
little cynical bite; but more incisively with thought-provoking
allusions (literary, commercial and historical) than anything cutting
or raw. Lane gets you thinking about the meaning of things you never
ever thought to think about. Sometimes like a child, especially with
his fables seemingly only for children in Part Two. But what we learn
from Lane shows us what we can learn from children is learnable through
his verses in "Too Many Rhymes, Not Enough Brains". Actually, at least
to me, there aren't too many rhymes; and there is a lot of brains in
this book. Just a lot of it is subtle and metaphoric. And sometimes
childish, but in a good and fun childish way. Again, very clever and in
an "I really got to think about this" kind of way.
Are there flaws? Who cares!
No one writes perfection. And damn few write excellence, and that's my
point here: Lane has written literary excellence, and with an
originality that should remind every critic that the whole is always
more important than its parts. Every poem has a punchline - an impact
worth remembering and an end worth repeating. Like in the poem Shopping
List for Another Day: Little bears that look like gummies/A book:
Shoplifting for Dummies. And Ellen Magellan’s Lucky Day: She turned and
gave me quite a glare/Is this, she asked, going anywhere?
These poems are two cleverly
spun to be nonsensical. Enjoyable examples of this are Lane’s two Jump
Rope Shantys, A Tall Tale Indeed (an amazing, short, rhyming
prose-poem), Meet + Greet at the All-U-Can-Eat, A Game of Jacks, Your
Next Destination and his three shipments of Coming Soon to a Zoo Near
You. And especially his fables in the second half. I was particularly
impressed by the title poem Too Many Rhymes, Not Enough Brains:
Boola, boola, send us moolah, do
not fool around,
An Ivy booster, name of Brewster, yelled to hear the sound.
And though the story’s very pliable,
It’s clear that the poet is certifiable.
There's a lot of
music here. Poetry that rolls off the tongue that not only rhymes, but
chimes. There's structure here, too, and perhaps a central theme with a
sense that it's all right to have fun, even in an intellectual and
linguistic-poetic kind of way. But don't take fun too seriously. There
are meanings to life deeper than pleasure and enjoyment. One of them is
appreciating the simple beauty of cleverly-spun words and
well-structured poems. Which reminds me of a greater truth: Poetry
needs to make a comeback. Thomas Cleveland Lane and his delightful opus
Many Rhymes, Not Enough Brains, ought to help make it
~ by Patrick P. Stafford, Poet
warned! Thomas Cleveland Lane is out to fool you. In his
delightful and totally engaging series of poems, Too Many
Rhymes, Not Enough
Brains, he would have you believe that he has dashed off a
mere doggerel – good doggeral, but doggeral just the same. Balderdash,
might say. Don't fall for it, even for a second.
all good poetry nudges our perspective and shifts our
take on the world, then Lane's poetry ranks as very fine poetry indeed.
wit, humor, and playful intelligence, from his rhymes to his remarkable
in verse, he serves up poems of keen insight and commentary. Further,
creative attention to poetic styles and devices far belies any labeling
poems as doggeral. And for just sheer fun, "Mother Duck" and
"What Little I Know About Amphibian Finance" are a must read.
Lane's deft hand, poems masquerading as nonsense make
~ Russell Fee, Author