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The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy

 
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Bebbet



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 1410
Location: The sundered land of Sunderland

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:33 pm    Post subject: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy Reply with quote

My favourite poem of all time is, without doubt, the Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. However, Tim Burton is now snapping at Poe's heels with this:

He proposed in the Dunes,
They were wed by the sea,
Their nine-day-long honeymoon
Was on the isle of Capri.

For their supper they had one spectacular dish -
A simmering stew of molluscs and fish.
And while he savoured the broth,
Her bride's heart made a wish.

That wish did come true - she gave birth to a baby.
But was this little one human?
Well,
Maybe.

Ten fingers, ten toes,
He had plumbing and sight.
He could hear, he could feel,
But normal?
Not quite.
This unnatural birth, this canker, this blight,
Was the start and the end and the sum of their plight.

She railed at the doctor:
"He cannot be mine.
He smells of the ocean, of seaweed and brine."

"You should count yourself lucky, for only last week,
I treated a girl with three ears and a beak.
That your son is half oyster
You cannot blame me.
... Have you considered, by chance,
A small home by the sea?"

Not knowing what to name him,
They just called him Sam,
Or, sometimes,
"That thing that looks like a clam."

Everyone wondered, but no one could tell,
When would young Oyster Boy come out of his shell?

When the Thompson quadruplets espied him one day,
They called him a bivalve and ran quickly away.

One spring afternoon,
Sam was left in the rain.
At the south-western corner of Seaview and Main,
He watched the rain water as it swirled
Down the drain.

His mom on the freeway
In the breakdown lane
Was pounding the dashboard-
She couldn't contain
The ever rising grief,
Frustration,
And pain.

"Really, sweetheart," she said,
"I don't mean to make fun,
But something smells fishy
And I think it's our son.
I don't like to say this, but it must be said,
You're blaming our son for your problems in bed."

He tried salves, he tried ointments
That turned everything red.
He tried potions and lotions
And tincture of lead.
He ached and he itched and he twitched and he bled.

The doctor diagnosed,
"I can't be quite sure,
But the cause of your problem may also be the cure.
They say oysters improve your sexual powers.
Perhaps eating your son
Would help you do it for hours!"

He came on tiptoe,
He came on the sly,
Sweat on his forehead,
And on his lips - a lie.
"Son, are you happy? I don't mean to pry,
But do you dream of Heaven?
Have you wanted to die?"

Sam blinked his eyes twice.
But made no reply.
Dad fingered his knife and loosened his tie.

As he picked up his son,
Sam dripped on his coat.
With the shell to his lips,
Sam slipped down his throat.

They buried him quickly in the sand by the sea
- sighed a prayer, wept a tear -
And were back home by three.

A cross of grey driftwood marked Oyster Boy's grave.
Words writ in the sand
Promised Jesus would save.

But his memory was lost with one high-tide wave.

Back home safe in bed,
He kissed her and said,
"Let's give it a whirl."

"But this time," she whispered, "we'll wish for a girl."

Any more favourites?
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Michael
"It's strange the way things work out, but they do work out in the end." - Belonging to Night
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WelshPixie
Flashmeister & TWIt Booster


Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 2682
Location: Western Cape, South Africa

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love! - then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

~John Keats
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A prose writer gets tired of writing prose, and wants to be a poet. So he begins every line with a capital letter, and keeps on writing prose.
~ Samuel McChord Crothers
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Solo
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't choose an outright favourite as I love different things at different times, but these two are constants:

COLOUR OF MY DREAMS by Peter Dixon

I'm a really rotten reader
The worst in all the class,
the sort of rotten reader
that makes you want to laugh.

I'm last in all the readin' tests,
my score's not on the page
and when I read to teacher
she gets in such a rage.

She says I cannot form my words
she says I can't build up
and that I don't know phonics
- and don't know c-a-t from k-u-p.

They say that I'm dyslexic
(that's a word they've just found out)
... but when I get some plasticine
I know what's that's about.

I make these scarey monsters
I draw these secret lands
and get my hair all sticky
and paint on all me hands.

I make these super models
I build these smashing towers
that reach up to the ceiling
- and take me hours and hours.

I paint these lovely pictures
in thick green drippy paint
that gets on all the carpet -
and makes the cleaners faint.

I build great magic forests
weave bushes out of string
and paint pink panderellos
and birds that really sing.

I play my world of real believe
I play it every day
and teachers stand and watch me
but don't know what to say.

They give me diagnostic tests,
they try out reading schemes,
but none of them will ever know
the colour of my dreams.



JABBERWOCKY by Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
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santhere
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Joined: 22 Jun 2005
Posts: 389
Location: Danmark den skønne

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, especially when Loreena McKennitt sings it. A word warning though, it's kinda long Exclamation

PART ONE

I

THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon clondy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
Riding—riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

II

He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

III

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shuters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

IV

And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—

V

"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way."

VI

He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonliglt, and galloped away to the West.



PART TWO

I

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
Marching—marching—
King George's men came matching, up to the old inn-door.

II

They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

III

They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
"Now, keep good watch!" and they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
Watch for me by moonlight;
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

IV

She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

V

The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love's refrain .

VI

Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!

VII

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.

VIII

He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

IX

Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

* * * * * *

X

And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
Riding—riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

XI

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
_________________
"It's never too late to have a happy childhood."
- Tom Robbins in the book Still Life with Woodpecker.
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Lew
General Secretary of the Short Story


Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 1684

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bebbet

Can you do me a big favour and post up Voodoo Girl (I think it's called), by Tim Burton as my copy of his poems seems to have been lent out and unreturned.

Ta.
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Caroline
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'A blade of grass'

You ask for a poem.
I offer you a blade of grass.
You say it is not good enough.
You ask for a poem.

I say this blade of grass will do.
It has dressed itself in frost,
It is more immediate
Than any image of my making.

You say it is not a poem,
It is a blade of grass and grass
Is not quite good enough.
I offer you a blade of grass.

You are indignant.
You say it is too easy to offer grass.
It is absurd.
Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

You ask for a poem.
And so I write you a tragedy about
How a blade of grass
Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

And about how as you grow older
A blade of grass
Becomes more difficult to accept.

-- Brian Patten
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Caroline
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voodoo Girl

Her skin is white cloth,
and she's all sewn apart
and she has many colored pins
sticking out of her heart.
She has many different zombies
who are deeply in her trance.
She even has a zombie
who was originally from France.
But she knows she has a curse on her,
a curse she cannot win.
For if someone gets
too close to her,
the pins stick farther in.

Is this the one you meant?
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Lew
General Secretary of the Short Story


Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 1684

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caroline wrote:
Is this the one you meant?


Yup. Love that one ... ta.
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Anlaas
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, so difficult to pick a favourite poem, but I constantly return to this one, and it always repays the read. It is funny, clever, poignant, brilliant;and I think I'd sell my soul to have written it...
(warning, it's quite a long read)

'Marriage' by Gregory Corso

Should I get married? Should I be good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky -

When she introduces me to her parents
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit with my knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap -
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?

Should I tell them? Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son -
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?

O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just wait to get at the drinks and food -
And the priest! he looking at me as if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on -

Then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!

All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
The winking bellboy knowing
Everybody knowing! I'd almost be inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climactic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner
devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy
a saint of divorce -

But I should get married I should be good
How nice it'd be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely wanting my baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf!
God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married!
So much to do! Like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky!
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales!
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust -

Yes if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear nor Roman coin soup -
O what would that be like!
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle a bag of broken Bach records
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon

No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father
Not rural not snow no quiet window
but hot smelly tight New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job!
And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus
impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking -
No! I should not get married! I should never get married!
But - imagine if I were married to a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and a highball in the other
and we lived high up in a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days
No, can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream -

O but what about love? I forget love
not that I am incapable of love
It's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes -
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there's maybe a girl now but she's already married
And I don't like men and -
But there's got to be somebody!
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married! All the universe married but me!

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible -
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so i wait - bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blackberrying

Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,
Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,
A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea
Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries
Big as the ball of my thumb, and dumb as eyes
Ebon in the hedges, fat
With blue-red juices. These they squander on my fingers.
I had not asked for such a blood sisterhood; they must love me.
They accommodate themselves to my milkbottle, flattening their sides.

Overhead go the choughs in black, cacophonous flocks ---
Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky.
Theirs is the only voice, protesting, protesting.
I do not think the sea will appear at all.
The high, green meadows are glowing, as if lit from within.
I come to one bush of berries so ripe it is a bush of flies,
Hanging their bluegreen bellies and their wing panes in a Chinese screen.
The honey-feast of the berries has stunned them; they believe in heaven.
One more hook, and the berries and bushes end.

The only thing to come now is the sea.
From between two hills a sudden wind funnels at me,
Slapping its phantom laundry in my face.
These hills are too green and sweet to have tasted salt.
I follow the sheep path between them. A last hook brings me
To the hills' northern face, and the face is orange rock
That looks out on nothing, nothing but a great space
Of white and pewter lights, and a din like silversmiths
Beating and beating at an intractable metal.

Sylvia Plath
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