Trousered Ape
An exercise in presumption.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Recently, at For Keat’s Sake, the gracious and scholarly Meredith posted a list of poetry “Do”s and “Don’t”s. The list was not completely serious, but here it is:

Do:     shard
Don’t:     [see note]
Do:     a murder of crows
Don’t:     a reefer of banana slugs
Do:     optative
Don’t:     gerundive
Do:     friable
Don’t:     chicken-fryable
Do:     allusions to pop culture
Don’t:     allusions to genre fiction
Do:     poems incomprehensible to anyone but English professors
Don’t:      poems incomprehensible to anyone but Classics professors

[Note: Meredith’s “Don’t” here was an old and perfectly good Anglo-Saxon word; unfortunately, when I Googled it to discover its meaning, I found it had been adopted as urban slang for something extraordinarily disgusting, so I omit it.]

As might have been expected, this inspired a bit of silliness using all the “Don’t”s. (At Meredith’s suggestion, I employed a couple of other Anglo-Saxon words, hopefully suitable obscure and obsolete.)


The poets’ tithingman stands forth and bids me go away;
He will not give me frankpledge, for he fears lest they should pay;
But ere I go, I’ll tell you why, in this lamenting lay.

* * *

When first I sought to woo the Muse, I thought that we would spark:
She, beautiful and spirited, and I, as dashing, dark
And handsome as an Earl or Marquess of the Regency.

Sure, we’d meet and sizzle, then the game would be afoot:
Rejection, fear, ambivalence, desire, flight, pursuit,
And all at last resolvéd in romantic harmony.

Alas, such bliss was not to be – in folly had I dreamt.
She said, “You are a scribbler, a lout beneath contempt,
Your wooing is presumption and your poesy absurd:

“Comprising bloated ego and self-confidence unfounded,
Vocabulary limited and ignorance unbounded;
You damn yourself whene’er you dare to pen a single word.

“The pain your verse occasions me is very nearly tactile,
You don’t know a gerundive from a comma or a dactyl:
The way you mangle prosody and syntax is a crime.”

My eyes grew wet with tears at this, my cheeks grew red as flame,
A chicken could be fried on me, so burning was my shame;
My soul crawled like a reefer of banana slugs in slime.

Απο του Κυκλωπος φοβω εφευγε Οδυσσευς;
In Aegyptam effugens, necatus est Pompeius;
I fled and prayed in vain to be engulfed in some abyss…

So now I seek her harlot kin in dives low and unclean;
We quaff the cheap Pierian and watered Hippocrene;
And from our loveless union issues doggerel like this.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Hat tip to Julie D. at Happy Catholic for this meme:

The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. List, in no particular order) fifteen authors (poets included) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

My 15

Isaac Asimov
Jane Austen
G. K. Chesterton
Agatha Christie
Dante (Dorothy Sayers translation)
Charles Dickens
Shelby Foote (The Civil War)
Homer (Robert Fitzgerald translation)
C. S. Lewis
Ogden Nash
Patrick O'Brian
Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast)
Edgar Allan Poe
Dorothy Sayers
J. R. R. Tolkien

There are others, but the rules say 15.

But this is my blog and I can do what I like. So I will add (staying within the 15-minute limit):

W. S. Gilbert
H. P. Lovecraft
William Shakespeare
Dell Shannon
Jules Verne


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Please pray for the souls in Purgatory

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

New address bobtheape88...at...gmail...dot...com

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