Discovering the Wit in Whimsy | Review of “Enjoy it While it Hurts” (2013) by JonArno Lawson – Wolsak and Wynn


A very common phrase among people who look at the poetry I have been reading lately is the comment that ‘It doesn’t rhyme.’ In turn, I have taken that phrase and used it as a discussion point with poets about their works. The concept of non-rhyming poetry has filled my reading habits for the last little while that it may have clouded my judgement. But that prejudice was shattered when I recently read Enjoy it While it Hurts by JonArno Lawson and my mind’s eye was reawaken.

Song of the Hosta (Page 15)

I’m hiding from the sun –

It tried to glimpse me from above

It burnt the grass while stalking me –

What was it thinking of?

Some wort said heartless hosta

But to me, that isn’t love.

I saw I knew I understood

What couldn’t be expressed

Its garment was a part of it

It couldn’t be undressed.

It slunk around the throat

of what it festered, unconfessed

The fat old sun, what to be done?

Rays for fingers, flare for a thumb.

While there is much whimsy in Lawson’s work here, the trick here is to read each line very carefully. The mind’s eye needs to catch the wisdom in the phrases to allow a certain amount of enlightenment to occur. The urge is there to race through reading the lines without thinking of their meaning, which is a sad detail to miss.

Quarrelsome Quips (Page 43) (Excerpt)

Those who have the nerve but lack the knack

However great their verve for an attack

Best to keep them busy at the back.

Those who have the knack but lack the nerve

Who, when they see a problem, duck and swerve

Keep them, with the knackless, in reserve

Those who pilfer filberts when they fish

Their fingers round the edges of my dish

May filch more filberts anytime they wish (I don’t like them)

Lawson has added to the whimsy by including his own drawings to illustrate the work. They are detailed sketches which add to the enlightenment of the text.


JonArno Lawson’s Enjoy It While It Hurts wraps within it’s whimsy. It is a work that needs to be carefully read but a pleasure to read.

Link to Wolsak and Wynn’s page for Enjoy It While it Hurts

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