When I found this great quote from G.K. Chesterton I decided to see if he was onto something. “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
While there have been quite a few recent works about cheese, mostly for fun, there was a poet named James McIntyre who was crowned the “Chaucer of Cheese,” but he is more famous for his poor verse than anything else. McIntyre’s work included such classics as “Ode on the Mammoth Cheese: Weight over Seven Thousand Pounds,” “Fertile Lands and Mammoth Cheese,” “Hints to Cheesemakers,” and the under-appreciated “Lines Read at the Dairymaid’s Social, 1887. ” In fact, the town of Ingersoll, Ontario, holds an annual poetry contest in his honor. Contact the Ingersoll Public Library for more information including how to enter this years contest or the sister competition “Dairy Ode.”
I decided that his poem lauding the “Cheddarnaut” would be the tastiest morsel for E-Verse. What is the “Cheddarnaut,” you might ask? This was a colossal wheel of cheddar cheese tethered to a weather balloon and released into the atmosphere by the West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers of England in 2009 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. Things went well at first until the attached GPS stopped working and the cheese was “lost in space.” Read more.
Happily the cheese did return to earth much to the surprise of an unsuspecting couple in Wycombe, England.
“Ode to the Cheddarnaut” by Paul Marlowe
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of wax
And bobbled up on cheddar-scented wing;
Spaceward I’ve climbed, avoiding crow attacks,
And did great deeds undreamt by Mr Bing.
High in cerulean heavens I’ve hung;
Parlous high, borne up by my great balloon;
I’ve looped the loop and zoomed yet up, and swung
My crazy craft towards the distant moon.
Higher I grew, in skies of Stilton blue—
Empty whey above, clouds of cream below—
Where never quark, nor even Cheshire flew—
And dared the elements to do their worst,
A worst that I was very soon to know
When at the brink of space my vessel burst.
Oddly enough, a block of cheese was just recently actually shipped via rocket into space as a care package for the Dutch astronaut, Andre Juipers. In December 2011, five kilos of Old Amsterdam arrived at the International Space Station to give him a little taste of home during his six month stint. I guess he’s just about out by now . . .
Finally, no article about cheese would be complete without Monty Python’s famous Cheese Shop Sketch. Now go cut yourself a healthy chunk of cheese and enjoy.