My brillant, beloved uncle, William Priest, passed away in 2006. Today is his 92nd birthday. Bill was the closest thing to a father-figure I ever had (my own father passed away when I was an infant). He was tall, smart, funny, loving and had a killer hand-shake – what more could a kid want?
He was a writer. For most of his life he had a fractious relationship with Christianity, and this fused into just about everything he wrote. He particularly loved to write limericks; the limitations of this succinct form forced his creative hand in much the same way as the fugue did for J. S. Bach.
Remembering him today, I dug out his ‘hymnerics’, of which he wrote more than a thousand. I thought I’d offer up a handful of them for anyone who’s interested. It’s the first time they’ve ever been published online. Irreverent, to say the least.
Happy birthday, Bill xx
Digital digital God,
The mountain track he trod.
In stone a note
His finger wrote.
Digital digital God.
Omniscient Jehovah did make
his cosmos without a mistake.
But hey diddle diddle,
It sags in the middle,
Dragged down by a talkative snake.
In sporting mood Adam the Lord
Had outfitted, balled and long-strawed.
But would you believe,
That, playing with Eve,
He was sin-binned as soon as he scored.
Without Paul we’d not known a thing
Of the edicts of heaven’s new King.
Christ gets on the line
Each morning at nine.
I just heard Paul’s telephoney ring.
A counterfeit Jesus did boast
That he could rise faster than most.
‘I have in my pocket
A foolproof sky-rocket.’
They scraped his remains off a post.
The omniscient Jesus said, ‘Look,
Concerning the egg and the chook:
The word that I heard
To begin with was “Bird,”
And The Bird was with God. Read the book.’
A pagan in very fine fe’le
Would sing hymns of praise with his ke’le.
Thought Yahweh with bo’le,
‘This Cockney I’ll thro’le,’
And stoppered his glo’al with me’al.
When Sol meeteth Nellie of Nineveh,
Although polarised by the sineveh,
He seeth she cheweth
With only one teweth,
And cannot draw near for the grineveh.
‘Because,’ was the answer advanced
By Jehovah when asked why he chanced
On giving dictation
To only one nation.
‘None other could transcribe Die Angst.’
Cazaly took Yah to ‘the fair’
(So-called, for the footy was there).
Asked, ‘Where now Cazaly?’
Yah answers so palely,
And points towards heaven, ‘Up there.’