Graeme −> Language −> Poetry −> My POSSLQ 

One of the great radio poets of the 20th century was Charles Osgood.  He had a daily program that I listened to in the 1970's and 80's in which he read his own funny poetry on a variety of current topics in the news.  One day, the poem was about the POSSLQ -- that is the census bureau's word for Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters.  Here's the poem read by Charles Osgood:


Come live with me and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands and crystal brooks
With silken lines, and silver hooks.
There's nothing that I wouldn't do
If you would be my POSSLQ.

You live with me, and I with you,
And you will be my POSSLQ.
I'll be your friend and so much more;
That's what a POSSLQ is for.

And everything we will confess;
Yes, even to the IRS.
Some day on what we both may earn,
Perhaps we'll file a joint return.
You'll share my pad, my taxes, joint;
You'll share my life - up to a point!
And that you'll be so glad to do,
Because you'll be my POSSLQ.

How much of Charles Osgood's poem, My POSSLQ, was original?  Well, the first four lines certainly "hook" you, don't they?  They were lifted directly from this poem:

The Bait, by John Donne

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines and silver hooks.

There will the river whisp’ring run,
Warm’d by thy eyes, more than the sun;
And there th’ enamour’d fish will stay,
Begging themselves they may betray.

When thou wilt swim in that live bath,
Each fish, which every channel hath,
Will amorously to thee swim,
Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.

If thou, to be so seen, be’st loath,
By sun or moon, thou dark’nest both,
And if myself have leave to see,
I need not their light, having thee.

Let others freeze with angling reeds,
And cut their legs with shells and weeds,
Or treacherously poor fish beset,
With strangling snare, or windowy net.

Let coarse bold hands from slimy nest
The bedded fish in banks out-wrest;
Or curious traitors, sleeve-silk flies,
Bewitch poor fishes’ wand’ring eyes.

For thee, thou need’st no such deceit,
For thou thyself art thine own bait;
That fish, that is not catch’d thereby,
Alas ! is wiser far than I.