Variation On a Children’s Poem

Some time ago, I wrote my first post on the concept of poetic variations.  The following is a variation on a famous children’s poem from two hundred years ago.

Variation on the Spider to the Fly

“Won’t you come into my parlor?”, said the spider to the fly.
“I have practiced misdirection, and on you I’d like to try
Seduction and Deception.  Oh, won’t you come in, my dear?”
“I’m the gentlest of deceivers, you have not a thing to fear.”

“I would have to be, Sir Spider, at the very lowest ebb
Of intelligence to step among the tangles of your web,
If I stepped into your parlor, I am sure that I would die.”
“Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” said the spider to the fly.

 

 

Poems inspired by Songs – 1 Little Alfy

In an earlier post (here), I said that I was going  to post, at some point,  some of the verses I wrote that were inspired by popular songwriters.  This first one (I think it’s obvious, but I’ll say it anyway) was inspired by the Beatles.

Little Alfy

Little Alfy, my boy, went down, don’t you know
To paint picture-shows in the sand.
Oh my.  Oh, my, my. Ain’t it grand, don’t you know
To paint picture-shows in the sand.

Little Alfy, my boy, went down, don’t you know
To paddle about and to play.
Oh my.  Oh, my, my. Ain’t it grand, don’t you know
To paddle about and to play.

Little Alfy, my boy, went down, in the sand, down to play.
Little Mary her picture to paint..
Oh my. Oh, my, my. Ain’t it grand, grand to play
To play about something you ain’t.

Little Alfy and Mary together did play
What a picture those sand dunes did see!
Oh my. Oh, my, my. Ain’t it grand, grand to play,
And paddle about in the sea.

 

 

My First Guest Post

https://writingclimatechangebackintohistory.wordpress.com/guest-bloggers2/

It’s about Climate Change Politics..

Do Unto Others…

If we have a representative democracy in this country, that means, or should mean, that elected officials are the representatives of the people – they take our place, and represent our interests and well-being.

One of the most pernicious ideas to gain currency in my lifetime is the notion that there is something inherently corrupting about being an elected official.   Pete Schbarum’s Proposition 140 did immeasurable harm to this state, not only by making it more difficult for California to have a professional, experienced Legislature, but also by gratuitously enhancing the power of the Governor’s office.  ( With a few exceptions, California’s Governors have not been noted for their vision and leadership.)

Instead of running down elected officials and making “politician” a term of obloquy, we should be treating our elected officials with the same respect we ourselves would wish to be treated.  And we should expect them to be skilled professionals, and pay them accordingly.  (Careful academic studies have shown that the most professional legislatures are the most responsive legislatures, contrary to right-wing myth.)

Governance is hard; it is not a job for amateurs, as Arnold Schwartznegger amply demonstrated.

Another French Translation

This is my translation of the famous introduction to the Flowers of Evil, just as I wrote it some twenty years ago.   My goal was to reproduce the rhyme scheme of the original  ( so much easier in French) and to give the English reader a sense of the poet’s overripe imagery.   You can judge for yourself how well I succeeded.

 

TO THE READER
By
CHARLES BAUDELAIRE

Tr. Guy Conner

Drunkenness and error, stinginess and vice
Occupy our spirits and make us sweat.
And we feed on our oh-so-sweet regret
Like beggars nourishing their lice.

Our sins are stubborn; cowardly our regret.
Our vows exact a handsome price.
Our innocence makes the muddy road seem nice,
For we believe that tears can make us cleaner yet.

Satan, the Great Alchemist, from Evil’s bower
Enchants our spirits, makes them still
And the rich metal of our free will
Is vaporized by his magic power.

The Devil holds our puppet strings,
He leads us through the murk and mire
Nearer to Eternal Fire,
And makes us like disgusting things.

Just like the whoremonger who’s paid for the night
To suckle a poor martyred breast,
Our clandestine pleasures are carefully pressed,
Like an orange that has shriveled up tight.

Like a million maggots, swarming and packed tightly,
Our brains are filled with demons, and our breath
Breathes into our lungs that greater Demon, Death,
Flowing like an unseen river, groaning lightly.

If rape and poison, the dagger and the flame
Have not yet embroidered our poor fate,
There is a reason! We hang back and wait.
Our lack of boldness puts our soul to shame.

But among the jackals, panthers, monkeys, lice
The scorpions, vultures, serpents and the ape
The monsters crawling, screeching, howling, mouths agape
The infamous menagerie of our vice,

There is one of them, Oh, foulest and least fair!
Although it neither howls nor makes a fuss,
It gladly makes its environment a muss,
And with a yawn, it sucks up all the air.

Boredom! He smokes his hookah; it is the Mother
Of Dreams. Guillotines descend; his eyes are filled with tears.
You’ve known him, Reader, for, lo, these many years.
Hypocrite Reader! My Look-Alike! My Brother!

Sometimes

Hiking has been one of my favorite activities for most of my life, but this is my only poem to use hiking imagery.

Sometimes

Sometimes,
I come upon you from above,
My muscles aching from the dusty trail,
My throat parched, and my eyes on fire.
And just
As I begin my slow descent,
I hear a gentle rustle, as of
A garment blowing in the breeze.
Warily, I peer over the rocky edge.
There.
You stand behind the surging waterfall,
Each eye a pebble,
Each breast a rock that stops the flow.
Farther in, I catch a glimpse
Of water life.
And when I descend to join you,
And when I remove my boots, my pack, my clothes,
And stand exposed,
You remain in hiding.
And I think:
Why must there always be
This vale of water and mist,
Coming between  us?