Marvelous original handwritten poem by John Lennon entitled "Bernice's Sheep," published in his second book, A Spaniard in the Works, circa 1965, unsigned, penned in blue ballpoint on an off-white 7 x 10 sheet. The poem, in full (spelling retained): "1. This night I lable down to sleep / with hefty heart and much saddened / with all the bubbles of the world / Bratting my boulders / Oh dear sheep. / 2. I slapter counting one by one / Till I can cow no more this day / Till bethny hard aches leave we / Elbing my ethbreeds / Dear Griff's son / 3. What keeps me alberts owl felloon / That is earl I ask from anybottle / That I grape me daily work / Cronching our batter / My own bassoon. / 4. Can I get a gribble of me / Should I heffer alway sickened / Should you nabbie my furbern / Wilfing their busbie / Oh dear me. / 5. No! I shall streze my eber-teap! / With lightly loaf and great larfter / With head held eye and all / Graffing my rhimber / Oh dear sheep." In fine condition. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Tracks.
In 'Bernice's Sheep,' Lennon merges his admiration for Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear with parody and satire, combining and inventing a language, rhythm, and orthography all his own. 'All I'm trying to do is tell a story,' said Lennon, 'and what the words is spelt like is irrelevant really. But if they make you laugh because the word used to be spelt like that, that's great. But the thing is the story. And the sound of the word.' Even the title of the book, A Spaniard in the Works, is Lennon’s wordplay on the UK expression, 'a spanner in the works.'
‘A Spaniard in the Works’ was similar in style to the 1964 predecessor ‘In His Own Write,’ but, reflective of a maturing Lennon, was more ambitious in scope and had a particular bite to its subject matter. 'A Spaniard in the Works gave me another personal boost,' said Lennon, 'The book is more complicated; there are some stories and bits in it that even I don't understand, but once I've written something what's the point of letting it hang around in a drawer when I know I can get it published? The plain unvarnished fact is that I like writing, and I'd go on writing even if there wasn't any publisher daft enough to publish them.'
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