Bill Greenwell and David Silverman


Beatle Sonnets

Hello Goodbye

I’m mystified: where’s all this coming from?
To me it seems we never can agree.
You’re arguing the toss with such aplomb:
Do you have PDA or ODD?
While I’m all “Vamos! Chop-chop! Seize the day!”
From you, it’s “Not so fast, let’s call a halt.”
I’m “Andiamo!” You’re “No way, José!”
For negativity is your default.
The reason is unclear. I’m yay, you’re nay,
So maybe you’re a born commitment-phobe.
If our relationship goes on this way,
I know I’ll need the patience of a Job.
Before your firm resistance turns much stiffer,
Perhaps it’s better we agree to differ.

Single A-side, first released 24/11/1967
Also available on the album Past Masters Vol. 2

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)

I had a girlfriend; we were quite a couple—
Perhaps she tricked me, caught me in her noose.
She showed me round her living space. How supple,
How à la mode is all this Oslo spruce!
So stick around, she said. And have a seat.
(But there was neither sofa nor a stool—
I sat upon on the mat, and was discreet.)
At two she said: My bedtime, as a rule,
I’m working in the morning. Gave a chuckle.
I’m not myself, I told her, where’s your tub?
That night it doubled as my single truckle.
I woke alone—she’d given me a snub.
A blazing fire left me more benign—
How fab this Oslo spruce (or is it pine)?

First released 03/12/1965 on the album Rubber Soul

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer

Meet Joan: a student. Max has asked her out.
Experimental type, Joan goes for glamour.
High probability: a fatal clout.
The null hypothesis? It’s Max the Hammer.
Now back at Uni, Max is in detention.
The tutor, of whom Max is not enamored,
Neglects to see his sinister intention,
And so he winds up literally hammered.
So Max is nicked. In court: “You must acquit!”—
It’s Val and Rose creating all the clamor.
His Honor takes an injudicious hit:
Blame lax security and Max the Hammer.
If you, perchance, should land up in the slammer—
Just pray your cellmate isn’t Max the Hammer.

First released 26/09/1969 on the album Abbey Road

Bill Greenwell and David Silverman have known each other for 40 years as rival competitors in weekly light verse/parody competitions in New Statesman and The Spectator. Between them they’ve won over 1,500 prizes. Both are in their mid-sixties, and respectively a retired university teacher (Greenwell) and a retired senior social worker (Silverman). This is Silverman’s first publication outside the competitions. Greenwell has had poems/parodies published in many magazines and newspapers, including Light, in which he was Featured Poet in Winter/Spring 2016. He was New Statesman’s weekly poet between 1994 and 2002. He appears in thirty parody anthologies, and has published four collections. These three poems are part of a collection of 101 Beatle sonnets Greenwell and Silverman wrote last year.