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April 19, 2021

Rapping with Rab and Robert
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 02:44 PM * 157 comments

Someone elseweb crossed a couple of wires and mentioned Robert Frost when they meant Robert Burns. And I got that awful itch in my brain that I get sometimes.

So first this happened:

For though yer land an’ mine
Are neighbors near, an’ a’ that:
We split the apple frae the pine
A Wall’s a Wall for a’ that.

Then a couple of days later:

The way a pest
Crept up the side
Of the Sunday best
That you wore with pride
Made me see
How I’d be viewed
And rescued me
From being rude.

Then it was late at night and I took a bath. Unfortunately, I get ideas in the bath.

Thare’s mony speak o’ Rabbie Burns
An’ mony Robert Frost.
An’ gin the writers maun tak’ turns
Then for the first I favour Burns.
But gin the other micht be lost,
I think I ken enouch o’ verse
Tae say that as a poiet, Frost
Isnae worse
An’ worth the cost.

As Fade mentioned on Twitter, there’s an interesting space for parlor games here: crossing over the works of two poets that overlap somehow, whether by their names or some other characteristic.

The mic is open.

Comments on Rapping with Rab and Robert:
#1 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2021, 03:24 PM:

I'm not sure I have the knowledge of the respective poets to pull this off. But as an appreciator, I got it!

Also, Hi, Abi--nice to see you again. I hope things are going better than they were when last you were able to join us. :)

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2021, 05:28 PM:

Hi, abi! (Missed your presence here.)

#3 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2021, 10:31 PM:

Oh my... I ... speechless, day, made!

#4 ::: Debra Bourne ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2021, 09:54 AM:

Wonderful! Thanks, Abi; I really enjoyed those - and the concept.

#5 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2021, 12:33 PM:

Okay, so I'm as good at this as everyone else here, but in order for this room to not be totally barren, I'll post this, to be papered over by better as they come.

The problem with a Raven: he ought
instead, to be a tell-tale Heart.

-- Edgar Allan Nash.

Now, whether the authors overlap at all, is yet another question.

#6 ::: Tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2021, 02:17 PM:

On Seeing a Small Creature Upon a Nun's Wimple, and Getting It Quite Wrong
by Gerard Manley Burns

O wee, sma', sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie!
How dost thou mak' my spirit rise
Within my breastie! When that I see
With my little e'e,
Thou crawl'st upon crumpled wind-blown wimple
To hide in a dimple! Simple!

O wad some pow'r the giftie gi'e us
Tae see oursels as ithers see us
It wad frae mony a blunder free us
An' foolish notion:
For after a draucht o' guid Scotch potion, during my devotion,
In its motion, in God's house
I have mistook a louse
For a mouse!

#7 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2021, 04:08 PM:

Tell me, what will you do with your second wild and precious life?

Mary Wollstonecraft Oliver, with apologies....

#8 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2021, 04:21 PM:

Traveling with personifications of eternal forces

It is not improper for an unaccompanied lady to pull her carriage over for personifications of eternal forces (such as that of mortality). However, it is also acceptable for such personifications to stop and take a lady on board. It is generally preferred if personifications offering mortals rides to do so in pairs (for instance, mortality and timelessness).

Excessive speed is discouraged on such journeys. The traveling companions should not engage in distractions, but instead pursue discussions of common subjects, landmarks they pass, natural phenomena, &c...

— Emily Post Dickinson

#9 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2021, 07:09 AM:

I saw the best minds of my generation put the lime in the coconut and drink it right up.

--Two Friends of John Lennon

#10 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2021, 01:24 PM:

Frost covered Eliot Street in Cambridge last week. I should have taken a picture, but I didn't know this was going to happen.

We are acquainted, you and I and the night
With streets half-deserted, let us walk through the rain
Outwalking the far city lights

Whispers come to us through ether we cannot explain
And the muttering of angry arguments
We walk home to our sad city lane

Where diners are percolating coffee with resentment
You know half the people here only want a place to cry
Or to quarrel, but that isn't my intent

You're holding my hand and I can't say good-bye
Though the old battered clock that still hangs on the wall
Warns when the last of night will leave the sky

We know the night enough to trust the night again must fall
And indeed there will be time
And indeed there will be time
And indeed there will be time.

#11 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2021, 03:37 PM:

A gaggle of ghouls are whooping it up on Carcosa's cloud-lapped shore.
The queen who sang us the song of her soul will sing us no note no more.
Black are the stars, and strange are the moons, and great was the hullabaloo,
And the rending of veils, and the ending of tales, when the King came for Dan McGrew.

- "The Damnation of Dan McGrew," by Robert W. Service Chambers

#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2021, 05:51 PM:

That might be worth finishing. If it were possible.

#13 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2021, 08:40 PM:

#12: for some reason, nobody's managed to read the second half of the poem in public. No-one knows why (but it's probably warm).

#14 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2021, 09:35 PM:

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides
You may have seen him, did you not? His notice sudden is.
I don't like ol' Sneaky Snake
He laughs too much, you see
When he goes wriggling through the grass
It tickles his underneath

#15 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2021, 09:46 PM:

I was born in a pretty how town
And I can breathe in a pretty how town
I'll probably die in a pretty how town
And that's probably where they'll bury me

#16 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2021, 01:54 AM:

If I were feeling cleverer, I'd do Ted Langston Hughes and mash up "The Machine" ("When you tried/To will me up the stair .../...And my life/Forever trying to climb the steps now stone") and "Mother to Son" ("Life for me ain't been no crystal stair./It's had tacks in it,/And splinters..."). Maybe someone else can manage?

#17 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2021, 10:23 AM:

Armis olafque cano...

(eeliad, an excerpt)

#18 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2021, 11:14 AM:

Abiiiiiiiiii—!!!! Hi hi hi!!

Don't see it here,* don't remember if I saw it on Twitter, but it seems odd that no one has explicitly pointed out that each of the OP's poets' names are rather precisely the inverse of the other's, which might be worth some contemplation (for which I am unequipped*,**)?

* At an admittedly quick scan: I think I've mentioned elsethread that I can't do poetry. I apparently have to poetry what to music would be a tin ear, and it hurts my brain to even try to parse it.

** Yes, both of those single-asterisks above reference the same footnote.

#19 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2021, 01:25 PM:

Enjoying these, especially Gray Woodland #11

#20 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2021, 07:13 PM:

Jacque @18, that bit of wordplay was, I suspect, part of the inspiration for Abi’s third poem.

#21 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2021, 02:02 AM:

Erik Nelson @ 15 - wild applause!

#22 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2021, 02:47 AM:

Some say the world will die of Burns,
Some say of Frost.
From how my heart yearns
I hold with those who favor Burns.
But if it had to be twice lost,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction Frost
Is also great
And lower cost.

#23 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2021, 08:32 AM:

@22, <applause!> I noodled around with that idea for a while, but I couldn't make it gel. WELL done, sir!

#24 ::: BigHank53 ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2021, 09:55 AM:

so mehitabel has stopped trying to step on me
which is a relief
she calls herself a catgirl
what ever that is
i have seen cats
i have seen cats that are girls
mehitabel is one that imagines she is the other

we watch a lot of tv together
because she drops a lot of good snacks on the floor
there are not many bugs in her shows
but we are always under-represented
i dont even mind when we are the heavies
just to see someone with the right number of legs
is a relief

--Don Miyazaki

#25 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2021, 01:46 PM:

#12, 13 - Many thanks, but I don't think I dare...

Really enjoying this thread, from the brilliant OP starter on down (and yes, Abi, most excellent to see you here again! Thanks for inspiring me to re-delurk!)

#26 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2021, 02:19 PM:

I appear to have perpetrated a Lament for the Maker (or, the Topaz Verse Disaster), by one William Topaz Dunbar. We apologize for the inconvenience. It begins:

I who was merry and blithe, I do confess,
Am now weigh’d down by leaden clouds that do my breast oppress -
Alas! O Muses, aid me for to set my mind to rhyme,
Which I hope will be remembered for a very long time.

The whole thing exists, and runs (thank whoever the Muse of this sort of thing really is!) significantly shorter than either of its originals - but it still extends to just over one screen of text in preview, so I'm not quite sure how or whether to post it...

#27 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2021, 05:28 PM:

I recognize half of that, which is enough to get me laughing like a drain. What's the other source? (And one vote for "post it all!")

#28 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2021, 05:21 AM:

Glad this thread is growing! Some wonderful pieces...I confess, I don't know all of the sources.

Yes, Avram, I did do "Fire and Ice" as "Burns and Frost" in Burns' ain dialect. My ear for Scots isnae fantastic, so I may have abused the language somewhat.

#29 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2021, 05:31 AM:

David Goldfarb @27 - The components are William 'Topaz' McGonagall's Tay Bridge Disaster, and William Dunbar's Lament for the Makaris, Quhen he wes Sek (Lament for the Makers, c. 1505).

The Dunbar piece appears in-genre as the poetic theme in George Turner's memorably depressing Vaneglory. In The Worm Ouroboros, E R Eddison actually puts the first half into the mouth of the Red Foliot, as his extemporized funeral lament for Gorice XI of Witchland. The Foliot is interrupted by a drunken brawl just as he is about to run out of generic laments for mortality and succumb to an incomprehensible urge to catalogue defunct Scottish poets. This is the one moment in the whole book when most readers are probably cheering on the epic hooligan Corinius.

#30 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2021, 06:09 AM:

Having slept on it, and in the continuing absence of objections or thunderbolts, your servant begs leave to present:

Lament for the Maker, or, the Topaz Verse Disaster

by William Topaz Dunbar.

I who was merry and blithe, I do confess,
Am now weigh’d down by leaden clouds that do my breast oppress -
Alas! O Muses, aid me for to set my mind to rhyme,
Which I hope will be remembered for a very long time.

I have acquired, I think, some moderate poetic reputation
(Which I think that I may say without undue exaggeration)
And to pass away from Earth unmarked would constitute against Posterity a heinous crime
For which I hope not to be remembered for a very long time!

O Paean! Apollo! Bring balm to thy votary valetudinarian,
Who sickens under the oppression of critics tolerably ultracrepidarian,
Because I do not think it is a very good idea
For thy votary to sicken and perish here,
And I hope I will be recovering in a very short time.

The Magistrates of Bonnie Dundee pretend my rhyming to indict
But the Rev. George Gilfillan can them capably contradict
And certify with other good judges that every word with his mate doth properly chime
(As like the Rev. George Gilfillan I am sure you can plainly see)
For which I hope I will be remembered for a very long time!

O, the Demon Critic blew upon good Shakespeare now and then
Nor did scruple to slander the works of Kitty Marlowe or Rare Behn,
And e’en our Burns hath borne that Demon’s bloom-blasting rime.
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

When I mind how Captious Critics, those aforesaid ultracrepidarian Demons,
Have served my Self just like the godlike Tupper, Wither, and Hemans,
I find a new pride, and I straighten my spine,
And jump up and do not wish to languish in bed any more for a very long time!

But alas! I must swiftly repair again to my bed
Rememb’ring that all these Giants of Verse are finishéd,
And that it will be too late to enjoy the sweets of fame once I am dead,
Even tho’ I should be remembered for a very long time.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

What cheer’s with Chaucer, Gower, Hew
Of Eglintoun? Or twenty-two
More names I might with ease supply?
May better fortune hope for I?

“Good heavens! Our Sir Topaz is taken away!”
Is what people will lament to each other some sad day,
Which I hope will not be for a very long time,
But happen it must, tho’ we plead and we pray.

So I vow and declare I shall get up again and strive with all my power,
To master my Art until I shall be able to eclipse even Chaucer and Gower,
For the better we our poems write,
The less chance we have of writing shite
Which will be remembered for a very long time.
Timor artis conturbat me.

#31 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2021, 06:22 AM:

Gray Woodland:

I am ded. Ded. You pulled that off magnificently.

#32 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2021, 10:56 AM:

@30 <applause>

#33 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2021, 03:47 PM:

O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! And yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all hooping.

#34 ::: Debra Bourne ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2021, 04:23 PM:

Not going to try to create for this but really enjoying all the offerings - thanks, everyone!

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2021, 08:15 PM:

Hoo boy!

(Gonna save this thread.)

#36 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2021, 03:51 PM:

meanwhile, J.R.R. Milne:

A Elbereth Gilthoniel (tiddly-pom)
o menel palan-diriel (tiddly-pom)
le nallon si di’nguruthos (tiddly-pom)
a tiro nin, Fanuilos!

#37 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2021, 04:48 PM:

I would have expected something like "tiddeli pom"

#38 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2021, 05:46 PM:

This is just to say
That I merged the naming of parts
with the plums in the icebox.

The lengths were mismatched
and the meter blew a fuse.
This moose is so hot and so bothered.

So there is just this apology,
instead of the expected poem
which in your case you have not got.

#39 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2021, 06:03 PM:

Oh, well done, Moose, well done.

#40 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2021, 07:47 PM:

Julie L (36): My favorite so far!

Cadbury Moose (38): And you just tied for my favorite!

#41 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2021, 01:51 AM:

Cadbury Moose @ 38: *splork*

Now I also have not got a dry keyboard.

#42 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2021, 01:24 PM:

I can’t do Scots and am afraid to try, but...”Algernon in Calydon”?

The cats of spring are on winter’s traces,
O mother of mice in meadow or plain—
wee sleekit, cowering timorous beastie
in lisp of leaves and stubble of grain

#43 ::: Russell Letson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2021, 03:30 PM:

Dough, the stuff you get from banks,
Ray, the guy who drives the car,
Me, the one who waves the gun.
Fa, a long way from the cops.
So--how much is in the bag?
L.A. that's where we're headed now,
Tea, that's slang for Mary Jane,
Which is why we stole the dough. (Dough, dough, dough)

--Rodgers & Hammerstein & Tarrantino, title song from the Broadway show "The Sound of Money"

(Composed for a discussion on another forum, but I'm too lazy to devise something new.)

#44 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2021, 11:10 PM:

@38 and @43 have me laughing unto tears. Tears! Never stop.

#45 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2021, 01:57 AM:

Wit with his wantonness
Tasteth death's bitterness -
So I'm hoping the Lord will be mercier
If I make the verse worsier.

In Time of Feeling Somewhat Sub-Par, by Thomas Ogdene Nashe.

#46 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2021, 07:42 PM:

Ozypictias, by Percy Bysshe Kipling:

The little folk, the northern Picts, they said,
"Great Rome, like vast and heartless legs of stone
Heeds not their tread on stomachs, hearts and head
But we behind them gather, they'll atone.
Yes, haughty Rome with sneers and cold command
Would slay our rebel fighters with their swords.
Yet will we drive invaders from our land,
Though we have little weaponry but words.
As mistletoe kills oaks, as rats will tear
and ruin all they gnaw on; thus, our plan.
Look on our works, you Romans, and despair!
Only we Picts remain; round the decay
Of their half-fallen Wall, of Romans bare,
Our green and pleasant lands stretch far away."

(The rhyme scheme for this poem is NOT a sonnet, which I'd never consciously noticed until I sat down to write this....)

#47 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2021, 12:52 AM:

I love it.

I love cover versions of songs - I don't feel I know what a song really is until I've heard a few people take a run at it - and this scratches the same itch.

It reminds me of long ago (2004!) on Making Light when John Ford rewrote Henry V in the style of Damon Runyan. Those were good times.

(And since the net is the home of all misunderstandings, don't think I'm trying to drag you down a notch by saying that someone did something similar once before. This is cool stuff.)

#48 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2021, 05:02 AM:

Steve @#47

Harry of five points was just wonderful, as was all of Mike's stuff.

#49 ::: Cadbury Moose is taken seriously aback ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2021, 05:06 AM:

Eek! People actually liked my miserable effort?

This moose is not a poet.
Everybody knows it.
It doesn't even rhyme,
at any time.

(goes into hiding)

#50 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2021, 11:39 AM:

On a related note, I was trying to remember who wrote “The Death of the Ball-Turret Gunner” and my brain cell was stubbornly supplying Randall Garrett instead of Randall Jarrell.

Which I suppose would cause the death to be investigated by Lord Darcy?

#51 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2021, 05:27 PM:

Julie L @50

A local tv comedy show (I’ve blanked on the name) used to have musical guests performing their greatest hits - but there would always have been an error in the booking, so instead of Joan Jett performing “I Live Rock and Roll” it would be Joan Kirner, Premier of the state of Victoria.

This error happened quite a few times.

#52 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2021, 09:47 AM:

Whose plums these are I think I know
But you have left them here, and so
You will not see me snacking here
On treats so sweet and cold as snow

#53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2021, 11:57 AM:

Avram @20 & abi @28: From the Department of "It Is Obvious That—" Got it.

TBF, per my disclaimer, even on attempted reread, I can't extract any comprehensible meaning from the text. (I haz a sad.)

...with the exception of Cadbury Moose's @38. I am familiar enough with that form by now that that one, I actually got!

#54 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2021, 12:31 PM:

Delurking to ask Jacque @53 if this helps at all with the third poem in Abi's post.

And to offer much appreciation to all the poets in this thread!

#55 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2021, 01:38 PM:

A Weaver Rude was pricking up his eares
For what had put his fellows to their flight –
Heard nought, and deem’d they practist on his feares,
But from such jests he scorned to take affright,
And loud and raucous sing’d in their despight.
His braying accents, bold as sounding brass,
Did waken to that strange Midsommers Night
The Faerie Queene from sleepe - who straight did pass
To where she needs must see, and be enamour’d of, his Ass

es Head; for on his shoulders broad he bare…

- from Midsommer Mechanicals, or, Where Didst Thou Last See My Bottom?, a Comedie in Five Rollicking Cantos by Edmund Shakespeare, or Perchance some other Gentleman of the Same Name.

This work is now known chiefly from a surviving copy of the Very Special Illustrated Edition commissioned by the Midsomer Copperton & District Donkey Appreciation Society, known as the Full Foul Folio. It is obscured at this and many other salient points by greasy finger-smudges, miscellaneous stains, the remnants of ill-judged improvised bookmarks, and the notorious tendency of many pages to be stuck together in some manner left pointedly unexplored by Science. Getting access to it was murder.

#56 ::: John Burt ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2021, 05:48 PM:

I don't feel capable of actually performing the sort of brain-splicing surgery that has been performed here (after the fashion of the savants of Laputa, who carried on their most advanced esoteric debates by swapping brain tissue), but I did, awhile back, commission Thomas Jefferson to execute a new English translation of Eugène Pottier's immortal l'Internationale:

All people are created equal
With rights to life and liberty
The state must be the people's servant
That they might be safe and free
And if the state should shirk its duty
The people then must stand
Their right's to alter or abolish it
And remake it by their hand!

So brothers, come and sisters
Now's the time, and here's the place
Our universal struggle
Shall free the human race!

#57 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2021, 08:20 PM:

Susie @54: Thanks muchly, but it's a perceptual fail, not a structural issue. So the offered key produces the same error code as the original lol.

#58 ::: Troutwaxer ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2021, 12:27 PM:

I'm breaking lurker mode to unleash this mashup:

Magus let me in, I wanna be your friend
I want to give you dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs 'round these tentacles
We'll make an infernal engine!
Together we could merge our brains
Visit ice-clad Leng, go slowly mad on the plains!
Oh can we burn in the ritual fires
`Cause baby I'm just ia fhtagn
Can I fill up your soul with eels?
Oh can I nibble on your brain mage
I want to know if it tastes good
Oh, chant ph'nglui...

Back to lurking now.

#59 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2021, 07:16 PM:

Jacque @18: Abi and I were also musing about that on Twitter shortly after she started this there. I had been trying to come up with a Frost-ian version of the same poem playing with the names the same way, but gave it up after her exemplary 3rd poem, so I'm pleased to see someone did something along those lines as #22.

and Jacque also @53: The secret decoder ring for the other half of #38 may be found here, among other places: Naming of Parts. I think I first came across it in my high school English class, but perhaps it was in college. Either way, long ago.

#60 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2021, 10:22 AM:

Despite my best efforts, here now is that verse foredoomed since comment #11. In excuse I can only plead that the text does not explicitly follow matters beyond the end of Act I of the Hyadean Play, for reasons which will be sufficiently apparent.

The Damnation of Dan McGrew, by Robert W Service Chambers

A gaggle of ghouls are whooping it up on Carcosa's cloud-lapped shore;
The queen who sang us the song of her soul will sing us no note no more.
Black are the stars, and strange are the moons - and great was the hullabaloo,
And the rending of veils, and the ending of tales, when the King came for Dan McGrew.


It happened by night, by the light of the ball that began when two suns went down:
Camilla the Fair caught the moons in her hair, and the queen wore her pride for a crown.
Cassilda went masked as a silvery wolf, and the princess a golden-furred cat,
And their courtiers came in each guise you could name - I myself was an orichalc rat.
Then the dances we danced, and the blasphemies blabbed, and the frantic delights we knew,
And the harps that were wrung, and the songs that were sung, ere the Ill-Wind brought Dan McGrew!

There were girls that masqued as Squid-Head's spawn, and boys like the Toad-Thing's get:
There were flowers and towers and obsolete Powers, but never a kind look yet.
Our queen stood high in sorcery. Gods danced to her design,
But she could not spare us the long despair of the lands 'neath the Yellow Sign.
Camilla's hard laugh was our headiest draught, for it rang both clean and true -
And I heard it last with the trumpet-blast, when - they called the Stranger through!

He swaggered in late by the Windwalker's Gate, that gives on a frozen wood
Which hunters have won through to skies not ours, but seldom have come to good.
He wasn't a hunter of Alar's or ours - he brought us no trophy nor pelt.
Though the rod of a warlock hung at his side, of magic no fear we felt
While Cassilda could sing. - No, the horrible thing that struck at my heart like a stone
Was the mask that seemed molded and fixed to his face, all pallid and dead as bone.

Did you ever dream that your hated dead came leaping to life again,
With no blood to spill, and no breath to still, and no purpose but your pain?
Such was the twist on its carven lips - such were its ash-pit eyes.
Camilla's laughter cut through the air with the glee of her frank surprise.
"Oh, Stranger bold from the wastelands cold! It's eightscore years and three
Since anyone here's had a different idea - so you shall dance with me!"

He danced with her, with the hot disdain of the Hastur-trouper strut.
She gave him it brazenly back again, till a courtier tried to cut
In on the dance - you know the sad kind! - the sort thinks his will's the girl's wish -
The warlock's wand flashed a shooting-star thrice, and gutted the lout like a fish,
Still with nary a word; and they danced through his blood, till Aldebaran stood at his height
And the queen cried, "Unmask! Now the time comes to ask, and to show who we danced with tonight!"

All masks but one fell - then Camilla cried, "Hell-hound! You, sir, shall unmask with the rest!"
But the carven lips sneered, and the sunken eyes leered, and she heaved him away from her breast.
"I dunno what hooch you folks have swilled," said the mask of writhing bone,
"Nor what all this fancy dress is about - I happened by here on my own!"
"Indeed it is time!" Cassilda spoke curt. "We've all doffed our disguise but you!"
"Well, this sure ain't no mask - and you oughtn't need ask, 'cause I'm Dangerous Dan McGrew!"

"No mask? This bone-white bone-hard face, with evil's track scored clear,
No mask? What hell's beyond that wood, O Mother my dearest dear?"
Cam drew her poniard and backed away, but Dan gave a grisly grin:
"If anything out there's worse than me, it's welcome to follow me in
And drag me down! - You follow me home, and I'll give you all the hell
You like - !" The sky gave an awful crack, with the wreck of Cassilda's spell,
And a Worse was there, and his scolloped tatters swirled about Dan's head,
And, "Not upon us, O King - !" the Queen Cassilda vainly pled,
And she drew the light -


And that's all he said, before he was dead - poor Natty Alba the priest,
Hiding away in the wood from the ghouls, and frothing like whipped-up yeast.
A skein of flapping things crossed the sky. Carcosa's gates stood shut -
I didn't think knocking would get me much good, so I fled from I won't ask what.

This is as much as I know to tell, and as much as I want to know.
The Phantom of Truth can go haunt someone else, and the Songs of a Sourdough
Were probably best with all that suppressed... Still, give the devil his due:
At least the fiend in the cloak did croak the yhtill called Dan McGrew!

#61 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2021, 10:34 AM:

A brief linguistic note to #60:

Yhtill - Old Low Carcosan: "Ewww!"; something or somebody that makes one want to say that. In the personal context, a grand-operatic-revenging insult, like so much else in Late Halian culture. I have heard Mr Service Chambers pronounce it "yick-tick" in a rare recorded reading; but Machen says the first syllable is much like the ych in Welsh "ych y fi!" in both pronunciation and feeling, and the terminal 'll' is so much like the similarly spelled Welsh sound that he suspects the whole Romanization of being due to Myrddin during the infamous T H White affair.

See Scholiast on Alhazred: "by that lamentable Worde which is spoken ukh-tulh as if an one would invoke Him Who Lieth Dreaming, wee are to understand dis aaargh aarrgh agh gett it off m"

and also The King in Yellow, Act II Scene I:

NAOTALBA: Only the prawn canapés.
CAMILLA: Yhtill!
CASSILDA: How shall this stand? Yet, if

#62 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2021, 11:02 AM:

Well, that's made my morning.

#63 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2021, 12:08 PM:

The King in Yellowknife approves.

#64 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2021, 06:49 PM:

#60 is quite wonderful indeed!

#65 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2021, 07:45 AM:

What an accomplishment!

#66 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2021, 11:22 AM:

Truly a mind-shattering achievement!

#67 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2021, 08:35 AM:

I'll just be over here gibbering quietly in a corner....

(Well done!)

#68 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2021, 05:25 PM:

Gray Woodland at #60: Very impressive. But what are you parodying? I recognize the Robert W Service part, but not the other part.

#69 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2021, 06:30 PM:

Erik Nelson@68

Robert W. Chambers. “The King in Yellow”.

#70 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2021, 10:05 PM:

Gray Woodland at #60: Very impressive. But what are you parodying? I recognize the Robert W Service part, but not the other part.

#71 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2021, 10:07 PM:

Sorry sorry about about the the double double post post

#72 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2021, 02:38 PM:

I love people offering up more poetry to help decode the poetry.... XD

Yeah, uh, that's...not gonna help. I do appreciate the intent, though.

Now, see, Gray Woodland's @60 I can actually parse somewhat. The Cremation of Sam McGee was my dad's favorite poem, so I heard him read that out loud a few times as a kid, and actually have a lot of it memorized. So I can slot Gray's version into the rhythm of the original. I still find the textual format exhausting to try to read. :(

Face it, folks. When it comes to poetry, I'm just a waste of good air.

#73 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2021, 04:06 PM:

My parents had a book with Service's poetry. He was awfully fond of anapests.

(My childhood included commercials that were, I believe, from Stan Freberg's fertile mind.
"A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Bell Brand potato chip rack" going to "See what the boys in the back bag will have," said dangerous Irving Bell". And (to the Triumphal March from "Aida": "Just look! 29 elephants loaded with Golden Grain" going to "Is this all you brought for me: spaghetti from Italy? Another man's chickadee I'll be!" "Then leave! I will live happily eating my Golden Grain". Radio commercials, of course.)

#74 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2021, 01:55 AM:

The world might end in fire
Another option's ice
The flames of true desire
Convince us fire is nice
But if we had to burn it
Another time or two
The cold of hate shows ice is great
For dooming me and you

#75 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2021, 02:38 AM:

Today we have fire and ice. Yesterday
We had sea level rise. And tomorrow morning
We shall have viral pandemics. But today,
Today we have fire and ice. The plums
Sparkle, dewy, in the icebox,
And today we have fire and ice

This is the strategic missile. And this
is the tactical missile, whose use you will see
When you are totally batshit. And this is the defensive missile
Which in your case you have not got. At breakfast,
We go searching for cold sweet plums
Which in our case we have not got

This is the button, which is always depressed
In a simple response to an order. And please do not let me
See anyone using his thinker. You can do it quite easy
If you have too much faith in your orders. Taking the plums,
Was natural in the warm dark of night but an apology
required using his thinker

And this you can see is the vault. The purpose of this
Is to hide from the fire and ice. We can close it
Quickly, with an echoing clunk. We call this
Waiting for Spring. And quickly, with an echoing clunk
The plum owner's boot hits her poet's ass.
She calls it weighting for spring

They call it waiting for Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have too much faith in your orders: like the vault,
and the breach, and the firestorm, and the assured deterrence
which in our case we have not got; and the plums flowering
in the public gardens, and the world burning in desire or hate,
For today we have fire and ice

#76 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2021, 11:25 AM:

thomas, very good!

#77 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2021, 04:35 PM:

thomas @ #75

That is superb.

#78 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2021, 12:36 AM:

Not one but two blendings of Plums and Parts. We are truly blessed.

Have been saving the Service/Chambers for a thorough bedtime reading.

Right now all my pome circuits are filtered through a bunny lens in a sort of smurftastic way. I go around the house crooning things like "Mr. Bun-bun, bun me a bun, make it as bunly as bun ever done..." because apparently the XKCD graph correlating inanity of speech with proximity to small furry animals doesn't just apply to cats.

The bunn says,

I have nibbled on
the wire
that powers
your alarm clock

by which means
you were probably
hoping to wake up
on time tomorrow.

I'm sorry.
It looked like hay
and it tasted
kinda spicy.

#79 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2021, 01:24 PM:

Not related to @0, but fun anyway (to the degree that I'm able to make sense of it):

Tumblr thread: Where the giant primordial norse cow go?

#80 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2021, 07:07 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little (78): Brava!

thomas's #75 is also made of win.

#81 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2021, 02:47 AM:

(80) why thank you! Smacking myself, though, for missing a solid opportunity to reference breakfast (waking up in time for?) in the 2nd stanza. Oh well.

The CritterCord arrived yesterday, so there will be fewer nibbled wires going forward.

his name is bun
an when is nite
an we asleep
wif turned-off lite

so much destruct
just cuz he bord
he lick computer
monch the cord

#82 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2021, 02:55 AM:

Jacque @79 - there is a truly impressive feat of bilingual riffing on "my name is cow" in that thread. Just WOW. Thank you for linking!

#83 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2021, 02:58 AM:

help i have fallen down a rabbit hole of bredliks

(All right, enough. go to SLEEP, niki)

#84 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2021, 11:12 AM:

and tho i must
push thru enraged
a bredlik chain
i red the page

And as a result, i present a bredlik sonnet (not mine! I swear!)

#85 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2021, 01:16 PM:

@84, that bredlik sonnet is amazing. Each part works independently as its own poem, and it works fused as a sonnet. Kudos to the author, and I recommend to anyone who scrolled by without clicking to click the link in @84

#86 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2021, 11:07 PM:

My reading informs me that "Bredlik" poems are written in iambic dimeter. So:

I amb Dimeter
My sun and rne
Is wat it take
To Grow The Grain

And wit the grain
You ar now fed
I gro_the grain
Yu lik the bred

#87 ::: lkosov ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2021, 01:43 PM:

I regret that I cannot contribute,
anything interesting in verse;
and indeed am only here to ask a favor,
a failing (methinks) even worse.

If in times of yore you liked to read
the alt.callahans newsgroup;
and/or were in the mid nineties,
a part of that frolicsome troupe;

Might you yet still retain today,
in a closet or attic, amid the ghosts,
a disk or drive or tape or somesuch,
of that newsgroups earliest, long-lost, posts?

Google has nothing, now,
from before ninety-three;
full older collections existed online once,
but have been lost to history.

And they're missing most of ninety-five,
and probably have other gaps, as well.
So if you've got a piece of lost fandom history,
sharing it would be mighty swell.

Apologies for this intrusion,
into your digital homes;
and with this I now return you
to your regularly-scheduled poems.

#88 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2021, 02:48 PM:


#89 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2021, 10:54 PM:

There's a bookseller in town who is known for his clerihews. It turns out I can deeply dislike a poetic form, and that form is the clerihew. Haaaate it. Bredliks are superior in every way. (I have yet to find a poetic form that is not superior in every way.)

Unless it's bredlik, or bredlikken. I like nonstandard plurals, like 'emojen'.

#90 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2021, 10:06 AM:

If you like irregular plurals, consider "bozoi" as the plural of "bozo" -- or (being picky) the plural of "bozos", indicating bozo squared. (The proper term for the 3-dimensional or spherical bozo is left as an exercise for the reader....)

Or "velohim" as the plural of "velox" (an obsolete printing term that I last had use for while working on the Noreascon 2 Memory Book (1984-85)).

#91 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2021, 10:59 AM:

Which would imply, CHip, that an irregular plural for "xerox" could be "xerohim" -- allowing for transmigration of liquid consonants. Much more likely to be used in the current day.

#92 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2021, 01:04 PM:

I prefer more conventional plurals, like 'xeroces'.

#93 ::: lkosov ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2021, 03:04 PM:

Be it xeroces or xerohim?
How must one or more thus decide?
Without some compelling answeri,
I cannot peacefully abide.

Convention or creativity?
The differenhim art stark.
Be it kleenices or kleenohim?
Curse'd generic trademarx.

#94 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2021, 01:15 AM:

I laugh, lkosov!

#95 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2021, 10:49 AM:

CHip and Tom @ #90 & #91

This moose prefers plural -ox endings to be suffixed -en,

Namely, to wit, and viz.

Ox - Oxen
Box - Boxen
Xerox - Xeroxen

-ix becoming -ices, as in:

Unix - Unices

is another usage, and you may be able to guess $Dayjob of moose from this.
(Although I could have done without the 0330A finish this morning.)

#96 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2021, 10:57 AM:

Vax - Vaxen (though some say the plural is Vex)

#97 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2021, 04:27 PM:

Cadbury 95: I had thought there were two homographic and homophonic 'box' words, which is to say:

Box, plural boxes, meaning anything from a crate to a cardboard box, or metaphorically, a category, and
Box, plural boxen, meaning a computer, especially a server.

Just as there are two words 'dwarf':

Dwarf, plural dwarfs, meaning people with dwarfism,* and
Dwarf, plural Dwarves, meaning Tolkien's non-human race.

*Deprecated in this sense

#98 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2021, 10:55 AM:

Cadbury Moose @ 95: sounds like my day job of decades ago; I can't remember hearing that plural, but I can't swear it wasn't current even then -- it was a long time ago.

Tom Whitmore @ 91: I suppose that's a little likelier, just because "xerox" was more widely used for a while than "velox" ever was -- but how many people still use "xerox"? It has been so long since they were dominant, and ISTM that the word was never so widely used as "kleenex" (which I still hear).

Yes, I'm being nitpicky this morning -- I can control words as compensation for lack of control of arrows.

#99 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2021, 11:36 AM:

I still use "xerox" myself, CHip, and it's recognized as a word by the automatic spell-checker while I type this; velox, on the other hand, is not. So, in a nitpicky way, I'd say my statement that it's more likely to be used is difficult to challenge successfully.

#100 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2021, 04:19 PM:

#96 P J Evans: Pulling out my very old memory of my first job, I would say that the plural of VAX is VAXen; the *singular* is Vex. (Or is it the collective? A vex of VAXen?)

If there ever needed to be a demonstration of the Monastery motto: "All hardware sucks, all software sucks" (potentially in totally different and exciting ways), moving from real-time SCADA on VMS to academic number-crunching on Solaris was it.

(I wonder if there's a unix port of LSE? Not that I could ever remember how to use it...)

#101 ::: lkosov ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2021, 11:49 AM:

If Vax ist as unto Haxe,
as thus Vaxen ist unto Haxen;
Then the plural I think I know,
so rejoice and be relaxin'.

Haxe in German means a witch,
and they congregate in a coven;
some say they worship in the nude
and practice ritual lovin'.

For a coven you need thirteen;
less are called a "book club", if I'm right.
Fewer still are called a "circle";
source: wandering cons late at night.

A circle is simply perfect,
a uniform distance from one spot.
a Vax, hewn by the hands of man?
Pefect, I'm afraid, it is not.

Man can't draw a perfect circle,
neither using hand, buttock, or leg.
The word obloid's kind of awkward,
so let's call many Vax... an egg.

#102 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2021, 12:27 PM:

I like your turns of phrase, lkosov! It's hard to tell what the first letter of your name is in sans-serif: I'd hate to typo it. It could be a lower-case L or an upper-case i. Would you mind saying which?

#103 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2021, 01:20 PM:

Tom 102: Copy-pasting it into a serifed font reveals that it's a lowercase ell, not an uppercase eye.

#104 ::: lkosov ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2021, 01:21 PM:

'tis the first letter of love,
and of live, and laugh, and less;
twelfth of our fine alphabet,
and the end of all, I guess.


#105 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2021, 02:35 PM:

Where's the LIKE button on this damn thing?

#106 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2021, 02:35 PM:

Thank you!

#107 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2021, 01:33 PM:

*slinks back from unnameable shadows*

A Beef with Irregular Plurals

A Chrononaut, PhD (Oxon)
Had a fine herd of oxen,
But they ended up eaten by Morlocks -
So now he needs maurochs.

#108 ::: lkosov ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2021, 05:21 PM:

I herd that the weekend's more fun
spent ruminating a cow-themed pun.
Behooves me to start,
steer the ship that is Art,
and get the ball moo-ving with one.

(Extra credit to anyone who can use buffalo as a verb...)

#109 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2021, 05:24 PM:

I'm sorry, what does maurochs mean? Search engines are only detecting it as the name of a band.

#110 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2021, 05:40 PM:

Eric @ 109: One aurochs, two maurochs...

Don't blame me. My brain's still recovering from "I amb Dimeter".

#111 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2021, 07:39 PM:

Sherman Kent (to his family, Buffalo)
Fit some folks in his car -- he could stuff a loa-
D of stars, but the bulk
Of the man playing Hulk
Won't let Buffalo buffalo Ruffalo.

#112 ::: lkosov ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2021, 06:12 PM:

Yea, a charming take on the classic old tail,
mischievous young bovines who bull-y New York;
here now modernized and adapted a-moo,
like a steak--well done. :)

#113 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2021, 09:46 PM:

Tom @ 99: I'm not surprised "xerox" is in spellcheckers and "velox" is not; the latter was much closer to obsolete by the time people would have been constructing checkfiles. I don't think I've heard "xerox" in a couple of decades; I don't know whether that's a geographic variation, or just that I'm not getting around enough.

#114 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2021, 10:57 PM:

We had actual Xerox machines until about 2007; they got replaced by Ricohs, with one less function that we needed (a feature that translated specified colors to gray-scale; the Ricohs didn't seem to have it, and some of the colors came out invisible instead of a light shade of gray).

#115 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2021, 11:25 PM:

I have no idea what a velox is, beyond 'something involving photocopying, maybe I should google that'. I keep trying to parse it as 'vellux' which is or was a type of fabric like for hotel blankets, very pettable as a child, or as... I don't know, some kind of antelope probably.

#116 ::: lkosov ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2021, 12:55 AM:

I seem to vaguely recall Velox as
a type of photo papers,
from the half-forgotten days of film and
analog darkroom capers.

I think the name was used later, again
for copying a blueprint?
Seems that Kodak liked to reuse trademarks;
almost makes sense, if you squint.

#117 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2021, 12:21 PM:

I keep trying to parse it as a brand of bicycle, probably for racing.

#118 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2021, 06:23 PM:

P J Evans @ #117

Reasonable for bicycles as velox is Latin for "swift", and there was a British motorcycle called the Velocette (manufactured less than 5 miles from this moose) by Veloce Ltd) 1904 - 1971.

I remember the VELOX contact printing paper from Kodak, and may still have some, somewhere. It was sensitive enough (when first introduced) to allow printing under artificial light - other papers were so insensitive that they required daylight exposure to create an image.

#119 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2021, 06:55 PM:

P J Evans & Cadbury Moose,

Velocipede was an early term for human powered wheeled vehicles, including bicycles.

J Homes.

#120 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2021, 07:41 PM:

Especially funny when they were propelled by feet on pavement.

#121 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2021, 05:36 PM:

I remember getting blank looks from young people in my office when saying I was going to xerox something. (twenty-ish, in some cases English not their first language)

The first day in that office I was asked to get something someone sent to the printer. I had trouble finding it, because the printer looked like a photocopier.

#122 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2021, 06:46 PM:

These days most office printers are also copiers, since generating the final page uses exactly the same technology.

I understand that 'Xerox' was never used as a verb at Xerox Corporation. You'd get swatted down hard if you did. They used "stat."

#123 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2021, 05:45 AM:

The variety of words for cycles before the invention of the Safety Bicycle was the basis for the old Music Hall routine:

Pompous Straight Man: I've just bought an encyclopedia, but I don't suppose you even know what that is.
Indeed I do! I had one myself once, but the wheels fell off!

#124 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2021, 04:51 PM:

I've been struggling for a couple of weeks to get something by E.E. "Doc" Cummings, but I've managed only a few fragments.

anylens lived on an ultra when world
(he picked his oysters' nits he pearled)

"he sang his didn’t he danced his did." ->
"he saved his terra, he lost his diddle"

"sun moon stars rain" ->
"tellus velantia rigel palain"

This is partly because my brain is full of sludge, and partly because I *really* dislike that poem. We had to study it in high school, and my considered opinion of it has not changed in 40 years: it's gibberish. According to W'pedia, some poets and critics of his time were displeased by the opacity of his work. Did they mention this to us in high school? No, they did not.

I note with amusement that a couple of my books in the Lensman series give the author's name as 'e.e."doc"smith'. If anyone else would care to run with this, please feel free.

#125 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2021, 02:04 PM:

*slinks back from unnameable shadows*

#124: Heh!

I don't really get cummings either, but there seems to be this:


Do you remember a War,
Do you remember a War
And the doing and the derring
And the scent of red herring,
And the brains that strained to ascend to new planes,
And the whiskers the villains all twirled -
And the glares and the swears of the young engineers
(Under a Berg not too long for this world)?
Do you remember a War, Clarrissa?
Do you remember a War?
And the glares and the swears of the young engineers
Who hadn’t got a prayer
And who plumb didn’t care,
Till they dragged us to a friendly yellow Star?
And the Hip! Hoo! Ray!
Of the day
When we beat another boss along the way,
And the hours it lasted:
- Blast it!
- B—!
There’s a worser dastard
Waiting ere our mating can begin!
(But we’d win!)
And we wed when Thralish thornflowers unfurled.
Do you remember a War,
Do you remember a War?

And again;
And again.
Now for the old wounds’ pain,
And our children waxed war-wise as we wane.
No end
To the might of the Night, or the spite
Come home,
Like a long price paid for the worlds waste laid -
No end
But the loom
Of my own Space Hell-Hole and Doom…


by E E “Belloc” Smith
From a rejected sequel to Second Stage Lensman.

#126 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2021, 04:57 PM:

For it's "Scanner this" an' "Scanner that"
An' "'e's not fit f'r 'ere!"
But it's "Cap'n of our rockets"
When we 'ave t' get off sphere!

Cordwainer Kipling

#127 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2021, 05:45 PM:

Candle, candle, burning bright
In the daytime and the night
Friends will flock and foes will flee
And I say 'Fie!' for immortality.

Edna St. Wilcent Billake

#128 ::: lkosov ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2021, 11:30 PM:

Cloacina, subtle of smell and deathless,
Daughter of God, sluicer of tiles, I pray thee
Neither with joy, dread Mistress, nor with reserve,
Speed my offering!

But in pity hasten, come now if ever
From afar of old when my voice implored thee,
Thou hast deigned to listen, leaving the golden
House of thy father

With thy chariot yoked; and with doves that drew thee,
Fair and fleet beneath the dark earth enrichened,
Dipping vibrant wings down the golden distance,
Through the sewer pipes;

Very swift they came; and thou, gracious Vision,
Leaned with face that smiled in immortal beauty,
Leaned to me and asked, "What misfortune threatened?
Why I had called thee?"

"What, thy shameless parts strain in utter yearning,
Whence its wild desires should persuade to happen?
What disdainful charms, madly worshipped, slight thee?
Who wrongs thee, Sappho?"

"She that fain would drop, she shall quickly follow,
She that now ignores, without words shall leave thee,
She that heeds thee not, soon shall go in gladness,
Leave thee, the loth one!"

Come to me now thus, Goddess, and release me
From distress and pain; and all my distracted
Heart would seek, do thou, once again fulfilling,
Still be my ally!

(Sappho Fragment 1 x Lord Byron, apocryphally)

#129 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2021, 01:14 AM:

Gray Woodland @125 -- I just re-read the last two Lensman books, and that's wonderfully done.

#130 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2021, 01:15 PM:

lkosov @ 128: That is appallingly well-done and I will now endeavour to forget it. For the honour of Mytilene, I will reply in other kind:

Fragment 31 from the Ce’Nedryad

by Sappho & Andromeda Eddings


Equal to the Gods he thinks himself, that boy
Who washes up my dishes
And at my condescension
Stamps off sullen,

And though we know all sorcery is sleight,
Sly boy, he makes his lack my drouth of sap
And dearth of gold! Some counterfeit or spell
Trembles my tongue with words unmeet to speak,

But my mind is mine own, and mine Empire.
Be he serpent or swain, such sweet venom
Cannot trouble my blood. No, here’s nothing to see –
And I’m sure that cow’s really his cousin.

A cold plot occludes me, stupidity
Seizes my forelock, I am drowning
In treacle, and I am just this close
To actually stamping my foot!

A pest on all men and their gazes - I’m off to take up with an oak…

#131 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2021, 11:41 AM:

Some nice examples of sapphonification. :-)

#132 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2021, 02:30 PM:

Okay, I found the Sappho fragment, but what was Lord Byron's contribution? Very nice work, BTW.

#133 ::: lkosov ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2021, 04:05 PM:

"O Cloacina, goddess of this place"
is the first line of a short poem from which
I some inspiration, uh, tooks;

It is attributed to Lord Byron
since at least the 1930s,
according to ol' Google Books.

It's charming
and it's fanciful
but I dunno if he would stoop

to writing
bits of poetry
that are about, basically, poop.

#134 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2021, 02:22 AM:


Would Byron’s Muse through sewers stray?
This question’s one of weight.
With parting-verse for Castlereagh
She answers; we - libate.

#135 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2021, 02:36 AM:

My great-great grandson
Teks after me, zo he's really handsum
Zo step right up ladies
'Cuz I am afred he's
Not gonna giff me a great-great-great grandson

-- Ognian Dashes off a few lines

#136 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2021, 05:16 AM:

This doesn't quite fit the original theme, and yet, and yet it rather does.

You see, back in late May, game designer and writer Cat Manning, @catacalypto on Twitter, tweeted:

'my phone autocorrected to “Cat Marvell” and now I want sixty four lines of iambic tetrameter about ODing on adderall in a midtown Sephora'

To which I thought, ha ha, nobody's going to take the trouble to write that. Then a few minutes later there I was, struck with the first verse, and what else could I do? So (with some minor revisions) I offer you

'To His Droll Twitter'

Had I but time and meds the more
This poesy, baby, were no chore.
Vibrating hyperfocused I
Could write sestines as quick as pie.

In upscale makeup stores I should
Dash off quick lines with scansion good
And thou shouldst if thou please and choose
Accept, correct, or them refuse.

My meta-chemical brain would chime
Composing sonnets, ballads, rhymes
For all requests which thou didst charge,
Faster than empires (though less large.)

But at my back I soon might sense
A manager with some pretense
To ask me to show my receipt -
Or cast me out into the street.

This Sephora's no Eden then
For glomming onto book and pen
And gath'ring my distracted selves
Among the rows of makeup shelves.

For lipstick colors paint no soul
Of scattered thoughts, seeking a whole,
Nor eyebrow pencil samples can
Set down the mind of ADD-led man.

This hypothetic poet now,
Cast out of Eden's realm somehow -
The Add'ral coursing through his brain
Doth let him rise above his pain;

He takes his dreary fate in stride
And scribbles on with earn-ed pride -

But I myself, back at my home
As yet cannot complete one poem.
My lazy mind bemoans the time
It's taken me to write each line

An age at least for every verse,
And the last one may prove the worst!

Poor readers, you deserve much more,
Nor would I make this read a chore.
But yonder all around us lie
The Internet's blank-channel sky,
Full of temptations now to shirk
Nor finish such absurdist work.

A browse, a game, a website scroll;
Time spirals down an endless hole.
A game's a fine and private joy
But few, I fear, great thoughts employ.

Now therefore, while the weekend's glow
And pause from slogging and "workflow"
Restores some time to call your own,
Find your own peace in some small zone.

And while the clanging Twitter noise
Excites the mind with passing joys -
If then thy willing soul ignites
To set creative spark alight,
Then let some silly whim run wild
As if you were again a child -
And write, or paint, or carve, or sew
And send it forth for all to know!

And, though we cannot make each one
Be great, yet we can make it fun.

#137 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2021, 02:30 PM:

Clifton @ 136: *applause*

#138 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2021, 01:03 PM:

Hat tip to CStross, who first showed this to me, so probably everyone here has seen it already as well. But it ties so perfectly into this thread, and to ML in general:

you EAT the plums?
you DEVOUR the contents of icebox??
oh! oh!! Jail! Jail for poet!
Jail for One Thousand Years!!

- RoAnnaSylver on Twitter

#139 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2021, 02:24 PM:

On his Concision

by Paarfi of Roundwood (tr. Steven Brust) and John Milton

When I consider how my words are spent
With sparing hand, to strike and find the heart
Of those true tales which – for the greater part –
Within once-colleagues’ dusty tomes are pent
Unread, till by my hand a new lease lent
Of interest, I speed my work to start.
“Do me the honour to perform your Art!”
Your grace allows; and I, obedient
To Reader’s wish, respond, “What, then I should
Begin?” ”And will do well to try the task.”
“Of gallant Khaavren's deeds then let us speak."
“Why, cracks and shards! I nearly wish you would!”
“Commencement, then, is what you chiefly ask?”
“I think I’ve asked for nothing else all week!”

#140 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2021, 04:47 PM:

Gray Woodland @139: Bravo!

#141 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2021, 02:51 AM:

If you just keep going down that bredliks tumblr it continues to have amazing gems.

There is most of Beowulf's story arc in three collaborating bredliks.

There is also a Spiders Georg meta-bredlik in ML's fave mode 'This is Just to Say'

with an equally perfect reply (which I just realized was from Seebs, an old Internet friend)

“Average poem parodied three times a year” factoid is actually statistical error. Average poem is parodied 0 times a year. This is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams, which is not a metaphor for Plato’s cave and is parodied over 10,000 times each day, is an outlier and should not have been counted.
#142 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2021, 05:49 PM:

Just occurs to me that this, which I tweeted earlier today, sort of fits the thread:

Farewell, Master; Master, meow.
No more flies I'll chase for sport
Nor do mousing in thy housing
Nor flee thy dogs who snap and snort!
Ban, Ban, Pa-
Pangur Ban
Has a new master!
The Monk's his new man!

#143 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2021, 02:11 PM:

Over on Twitter, in reference to a photograph of four people turned meme, this happened:

#144 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2021, 11:49 AM:

Clifton, you're aware that evilrooster is abi of this parish?

#145 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2021, 11:52 AM:

Apparently the new term for black-market weed is 'legacy cannabis'. Yes, ugh, but I notice that this is two words that are both dactyls.

I have tried writing double-dactyls, and I am no good at it. Still, I feel that this calls for one. Any double-dactyllers here?

#146 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2021, 12:11 PM:

Xopher @145:

Higgledy piggledy
Legacy cannabis
Keeps the investors from
Making a score.

Home-growing tetra-
Cuts out high pay
At a corporate store.

#147 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2021, 12:19 PM:

Tom Whitmore -- nice, but you're missing an unstressed beat. "Home-growing your tetra-" would do it.

#148 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2021, 01:38 PM:

Thank you both! Brill.

#149 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2021, 06:24 PM:

If this is a pterodactly:


then this is a double-dactyl:


#150 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2021, 09:02 PM:

or maybe it's a cormorant and a catamorant

#151 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2021, 12:29 PM:

A metacormorant, if you will.

#152 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2021, 09:15 AM:

The tale is told of a certain great military campaigner who made a raid upon an encampment of bees in a tree.

He ascended in a balloon, deceiving the enemy into thinking that he was a rain cloud.

Hence, in formlessness, he achieved victory.

The Art of War, by Sun Pooh

#153 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2021, 01:49 PM:

I have eaten
the plums
that will never make it to
the icebox

and which
you were probably
never going to pick
off the Mexican plum tree

forgive me
it is the season
so sweet
so sun-warm.

I am a squirrel.

#154 ::: Dreamsnex ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2021, 07:21 AM:

My company provided best construction services in bahria town Karachi, Pakistan

#155 ::: Cassy B. sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2021, 08:25 AM:

Pakistan construction spam @ 154.

#156 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2021, 07:30 PM:

Cassy B. wrote @ #155

Pakistan construction spam @ 154.

Deserving of a concrete overcoat.

#157 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2021, 11:53 PM:

And it's not about Vonda McIntyre's book either.

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