October 12, 2007

Poetry: Wealth

I wrote this for Intro to Creative Writing. The criteria was, to my understanding, to take apart a word and make a poem about it (examples given included the interaction of the letters in form of a narrative or the use of the word as a mnemonic for something else). I went a bit crazy with this one.

Inspirations: though it turned out that way unconsciously, I would say there's a Tim Burton-esque feel to this one. Mr Jimmy Kent is also an inspiration: his 27 stanza poem of complex structure from last week roused a desire to match the challenge (although I'm not sure I matched the poem in the magnitude or complexity). If anyone needs a friendly creative rival, Jimmy is up at the top and I'm pleased to work in the same class as him.

Wealth, from its conception to realisation, was always a quest poem for me. I wanted to contrast the light poetry of before with something darker. However, realism has yet to make an appearance in my blog (note talking snakes and death gods). I wanted to rhyme again this time: although it is a bad habit, not every poem can be freeform prose. I feel the rhyme gives a kick or shove to the poem. Also, I chose the rhythm that seemed most natural to me. It feels like a folk-tale kind of structure to lay under the work, and I like the effect.

Enjoy the work. And for those who are curious about the title, consider why Hades is also called 'Pluton'.


Wealth

The poet sought to deconstruct

The construct that is DEATH,

Which men, for years

(So it appears)

Struggle with each breath.

The poet sought the means to start,

Beginning with the end,

And so he strove

To that fell grove

Where serpent called us ‘friend’.

A THlivering and THlimy knave

Friend THerpent waTH to be.

The poet found

The wyrm waTH wound

Around the fatal tree.

‘Hail, thief,’ said our poet then,

‘Progenitor, oh why?

Why did you seek

To make the meek

And humble men to die?’

‘Oh, poet,’ said he in forkèd tongue,

‘I’ll say to you, my second.

Beyond the grasp

And angel’s clasp

Was death to you pre-reckoned.’

‘When I had hands and limbs to spare

On work and idle game,

The tree was made

And there displayed

By God before I came.’

‘Who did make the bough bear fruit,

That fruitless fate would store?

Who engendered

That which ended

All men in that core?’

And in this witty, pretty talk,

The serpent smirked and smiled.

The poet squirmed:

‘This evil wyrm’d

Have me most beguiled!’

‘Fine, wyrm, that you did not create

Hard death, I’ll not deny.

But with a rhyme,

You’ll not hide crime.

You poisoned us all. Why?’

Said serpent, ‘I shan’t lie to you,

I did it for a lark!

Why should men savour

All of God’s favour,

With all born from his spark?’

‘We share Prometheus’s flame,

And the kick galvanic

That’s beyond the ken

Of mortal men

And infernal mechanic.’

‘Yet God gave you pastoral joy

That man would never strive,

But us “animals”

Were peripherals

That fought to stay alive.’

‘We had love – a love of sorts –

Like you, and we had ire,

And in our toil

Upon the soil

We, alone, perspire.’

‘If you could feel the hate consume,

The burning, boiling wrath,

Then you, my friend,

Would God contend

Upon the curling path.’

‘But mine is not the crime, you see,

No serpent made “contrite”.

I merely offered

Into man’s coffer

Fruit, but mankind had to bite!’

‘I’ve told my tale, enough, I say!

I’m punished but I have a voice.

To crawl before men?!

I’d do it again,

To see men fall. You had a choice.’

The answer wrecked the poet’s skull

And hands in hair became a rake.

Solution bereft,

He turned and left

The most subtle brother snake.

And so the poet searched the world

For the D, the A and E.

He walked for days

`Neath the sun’s rays

Till the twins he came to see.

Their skin was pale as diamond dust,

Their clothes a tapestry,

Their voices soft,

Their swords aloft,

Phantom shinigami!

And in their eyes, a greyness,

That unfaceable cold.

A hissing churl,

A virgin girl

Just four centuries old.

The poet asked if DEATH could die,

Or the dead gain second birth.

(EE-Ay) said he,

(EE-Ah-DA) she,

And the churl cried out in mirth.

‘There are no routes for runaways,

Nor bargains to be made,

No half or whole,

Just soul for soul,

And we are always paid.’

Inflated with all pompous joy,

Was the sanguine psychopomp.

For his despair,

The poet would swear

He’d landed in a swamp.

And yet he could not now lose hope,

So he made one request:

Of the maid and the squire

He asked for their sire

And the nature of his address.

Then, the virgin maid did speak,

‘Our father, he is no more.

He unburdened himself

Of his scythe on a shelf,

And walks on a distant shore.’

‘And if he lived? No answer would

Come shield you from the dead.

You must, in turn,

New humbleness learn

And live true life instead.’

The poet thanked them for their time,

Yet heeded not advice.

He searched for D

Most steadfastly:

The greatest charm came thrice.

He worked for years and decades past,

And still no cure was reared.

The stanzas cried,

And they denied

That lifelessness appeared.

Although we hoped he’d find the cure,

We never thought he would.

We’re not surprised:

We realised

That we’d all D-

D…

D.


It's a cheery one, that.

Signing off.


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. I think you were vindicated slightly this week, when he said he might have been a little harsh last week. I didn’t get the pastiche feeling that he did, but then, I’m very much in a similar boat, so it would seem, in terms of taste and background etc. That said, I thought it was a little tangential from the assignment – it feels like you’ve set up this quest for the letters as a broad, sort of umbrella justification to permit you to explore more freely… well, whatever you feel like. Which is fair enough, but I’d have liked to see more exploration into the word itself. That said, I got quite a Milton’s Paradise Lost vibe from the snake and the twins, and the idea of death hanging up his sycthe is very Terry Pratchett, a brilliant image. I love the line “the stanzas cried”, and the animals being lesser than people (while I personally believe it to be true) rang quite soundly, not unlike in a Midsummer Night’s Massacre, where I compared the flora and fauna (with the burning hedgehog). I am flattered, Johnny, that you consider me an inspiration and a friendly creative rival, and I’m also very glad to be in a class with you and with Tim. I shall endeavour to keep up the level of effort that a Midsummer Night’s Massacre required, so that we can continue to psychologically spar ;)

    24 Oct 2007, 17:36


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