Monday 26 November 2018

Poetry Monday: King Tut (It's a short poem today, I promise)

It's Poetry Monday! The topic this week is King Tut, highly relevant because November is the anniversary of the discovery of his tomb in 1922.

Join Diane and me (Delores is on hiatus for now) as we break the seal on our thoughts about this momentous event in history. If you would like to leave a poem on this or any topic, please feel free to post it in the comments on either of our blogs. Or if you prefer to post on your own blog, leave us a comment to let us know where to find you.


As I suspect many of you did, I grew up with a general idea of who King Tut was. I can't remember where I first read or heard of his tomb and its dazzling treasures; it's one of those bits of information that I must have encountered in elementary school because it seems to have been in my brain for a long, long, looooooong time.

I decided to go back and re-read about the famous Boy King. If you would like a refresher, this link will take you to a Wikipedia entry. 

In reading about what is known of the young king's health in his short lifetime, I was struck by the suffering he must have endured. DNA studies and x-rays and other tests done on his mummified remains have provided evidence that he likely had some or all of the following: a cleft palate, mild scoliosis, congenital fusion of seven vertebrae in his neck, a deformed foot caused by the death of bone tissue, numerous episodes of malaria, and a compound fracture and infection in one leg.

These are serious health concerns even in today's world. Imagine what it must have been like in a time over 3,000 years ago, when there was no real help for these issues. King Tut died when he was only 18 or 19. There are numerous theories about the cause of his death, but his medical issues alone make one reflect on how fragile his health must have been.

However . . . as often seems to happen to me . . . what stayed in my brain most clearly, despite the serious matter of this young man's short life and early death, is one relatively mundane fact:  that his internal organs, like those of many other mummies, were found separate from the rest of his body. They had been removed and stored in jars (called canopic jars). Keeping the mooshy parts of the body apart from the body proper makes sense, I suppose, given the high moisture content in them, but it was one of those bits of information that seems to be now stuck in my head in a more easily accessible spot than I might have wished.

Aaaaaaand . . . that brings us to my poem. This week, a limerick!


Of All The Things About Which I Could Have Excellent Recall, Why Oh Why . . .

King Tut was a very old mummy
His innards were not in his tummy
They'd been put in a jar
OMG, how bizarre
When I die, please don't take mine frummy

(Note: If you have a better last line for this crummy/yummy poem, please please please let me know, because the rhymes for mummy and tummy are few and far between. Thank you. Thank you very much.)

Always read the label. And if it's a question mark? Don't eat the contents.

 By the way, this is what King Tut's jars actually look like:

© Charlie Phillips - Canopic Jars of Tutankhamun (found at: I believe copyright means I'm not supposed to use this photo here without permission, so if it disappears you'll know my blog has been discovered by an excellent photographer and I've been asked to take down his photo. Somehow I don't see that happening, but you never know. I just thought it was really interesting that "jar" doesn't always mean what I think of as a jar. These are beautiful.

P. S.  Yes indeed, it was a short poem. I didn't promise anything about the remainder of the post. Not short. Not short at all. Sorry about that. I have to try to do better in future.


Wishing you a good week, people!

. . . Preferably a week filled with something other than trivia that will get stuck in your head and make you feel squeamish for days . . . . . . .

Update:  Next week's topic is "gifts" . . .


Elephant's Child said...

The mooshy (or smooshy) bits is a perfect description for things I don't want to think about but DO want to keep working. Smoothly and silently.
Loved your limerick, and suspect that poor boy King would agree wholeheartedly.

River said...

I love your poem :)
Those jars look like they were sculpted out of butter or hard yellow cheese. I take it they are marble or something equally smooth.
I hadn't known King Tut had so many health issues.

LL Cool Joe said...

King Tut was a very old mummy
His innards were not in his tummy
They'd been put in a jar
OMG, how bizarre
I wonder if they tasted yummy?

Now you see why I don't do poetry.

Yorkshire Pudding said...


We had a mutt
That we called King Tut
Disgusting odours
Emerged from his butt
He wasn't Egyptian in any way
But we mummified him the other day
He's lying in the dining room
Now become our dead dog's tomb.

Red said...

I learned more about King Tut in your post than I knew about him before. Cool limerick...frummy! Good word.

Steve Reed said...

I like your last line! Clever! I wouldn't particularly care if someone wanted to jar my innards, but I can't imagine why they would.

Joanne Noragon said...

One day I stopped to consider how quickly those fellows died, and yet how much they accomplished. Hmmmm.

jenny_o said...

"Smoothly and silently" - I agree wholeheartedly! And also wholeliveredly, and wholekidneyedly, and . . .

jenny_o said...

I hadn't realized it either. Most everything I read previously was about the actual burial chamber and treasures.

jenny_o said...

On the contrary, now I see why you NEED to write poetry -- it's hilarious! Thank you for that :)

jenny_o said...

Did you know that Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States, had a German Shepherd dog named King Tut??

Thanks for playing along today, YP.

jenny_o said...

Desperation is the mother of all terrible rhymes :D Thanks for reading, Red!

jenny_o said...

Thanks - I wasn't sure if it would be obvious what I was trying to do there :)

If you donate your body to medical science, they will probably jar your innards! Among other things they will do to them . . .

jenny_o said...

Life expectancy was pretty low back then, wasn't it? They had to pack a lot into a few years.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

You did great, Jenny! You made us all laugh and that is a wonderful gift on a November day (it is grey and pouring rain here, as usual).

Poor Tut, he certainly had his problems. He had a short life and probably didn’t accomplish much, but in death, he found fame and fortune. Heck, he even got a song and dance routine by the wonderful Steve Martin back in the 70’s on SNL. You don’t get more famous than that, with or without your organs.

jenny_o said...

Thanks, Arleen. It is grey here, too. No rain, but snow in the forecast again.

And I HAD to find the Steve Martin clip - and it's excellent! Thank you!

dinthebeast said...

I didn't know he had all of those health problems either, but it reminded me of something I read when I was researching cataract surgery prior to having it myself:
They apparently found a slender, brass needle that they said the Egyptians used to do cataract surgery.
That made me very glad to have been born in 1960 in California where the implements and procedures for such surgeries and the results they obtain are what they are now.
Read that: I can see, and that makes me very happy.

I like your limerick, and "frummy" works just fine.

-Doug in Oakland

Marie Smith said...

Lol. Great job, frummy and all.

jenny_o said...

Thanks, Doug :)

And yes, indeed, I'm another who is happy to have had modern cataract surgery, complete with modern local anesthetic!

jenny_o said...

Thanks, Marie!

kylie said...

Your wonderful sense of humour is all over this post and comments!
i like frummy and because I'm a very enthusiastic and very amateur medical detective, I also like the medical facts

jenny_o said...

Oh, thank you, kylie! I am basking in that compliment!

I like medical information and mysteries, too, even though some of them make me queasy :D

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Do better? This was fantastic! I don't want my innards to be taken 'frummy' either! ;)

jenny_o said...

We need that tattooed on our foreheads (or tummies), Diane!!

PipeTobacco said...


Haha! I absolutely loved your poem!!!! It was wonderful in all regards!

I had not realized all the maladies that King Tut had until reading your essay. It does indeed put things into perspective. I can only imagine (and hope) that someday, hundreds or thousands of years in the future, folks may find shocking some of the illnesses we now have no treatment for (because of their advancements).


Martha said...

This is one of the most interesting things I've read today! I had no idea about King Tut and lack of :) And I didn't know he had so many health problems. Now I'm curious and want to go look all this up!

And 'frummy'...LOL Love that :)

jenny_o said...

Thank you :)

And I hope you are right. We have a long way to go in many areas; the brain is one that I am intrigued by and hope that scientists can make good progress on, sooner rather than later.

jenny_o said...

I was glad Diane suggested this topic because it really was interesting reading, and I wouldn't have been likely to search it out otherwise.

I was afraid frummy would be read as frum-my not frum-me, which would have spoiled the whole effect, but it seems people figured it out!

dinthebeast said...

OK, so the Rude Pundit has posted another holiday poem, this one for Thanksgiving, and since you seemed to like the Labor Day one, I'm linking to it.
This one packs a different kind of punch, though, but I still think it is quite good.

-Doug in Oakland

jenny_o said...

Ah, that's beautiful, Doug! I like it very much. Thank you.

baili said...

this is very interesting and fun post dear Jenny!
what makes it fun post?

the jar section!

i read little about mummies and i only remember that their bodies were emptied and preserved with some kind of material so they last till today

My nana (maternal grandpa) used to tell stories about their greed for eternal life and wealth which made them to do so

i don't think your poem's lst line need any change
perfectly and accurately told !

jenny_o said...

Thank you, baili! Your nana was wise :)

Mr. Shife said...

I can't improve your poem but how about a terrible joke:
What did King Tut say when he had a nightmare?
– I want my mummy!
Have a good one, jenny_o, and take care.

jenny_o said...

Hah!! I like it!

You, too, Mr. S.

bazza said...

The poem is worthy of Ogden Nash!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s ultracrepidarian Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Diane Henders said...

I love limericks, and yours made me laugh out loud! I tried to come up with one of my own, but my muse didn't cooperate. Maybe next time... :-)

jenny_o said...

Oh, thank you! I do love Ogden Nash's style!

jenny_o said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Those darn muses disappear just when they're most needed :)

Nameless Cynic said...

Well, I don't know what to say about your limerick that hasn't been written already. But there's this...

jenny_o said...

I can't access that video in Canada, but the description says SNL King Tut, and another commenter pointed me to the same or similar - it's hilarious! Thanks for dropping in :)