From De Vaults: Selfstalk Blogtrawl No. 3

(Guest post by Tama Boyle.)

The following from 1999 is probably my first attempt at writing pastoral verse. It’s in the from of an eclogue or bucolic. It laments the succumbing of my once peaceful patch of earth to suburban soullessness, like every other paved-over, nondescript bit of sprawl. Yes, that’s right… I remember when all this was trees. It seems to be called “Part One: An Alfriston Eclogue” To tell you the truth, I couldn’t say exactly what this is part one of. Surely it can’t been part of a bigger work. In these eight lines I’ve kind of exhausted all the useful material there was. Then again, I suppose I could’ve mentioned the ducks.

Part One: An Alfriston Eclogue

Once there ancient trees rose tall
And cataracts came crashing down.
Windswept tors, sans verdant pall,
And fetid ponds the outcrop crown.

Daily birdsong rived the dell
And lowing brutes did burdens cry.
Churning turf, those burning, fell
And belching beasts corrupt the sky.

Very Blakean, if I do say so myself. Although, I should be so lucky to have it set to music by Hubert Parry.

Note also that the word fell in line 7 is being used adjectivally, i.e. the beasts which churn turf and corrupt the sky with their belching are burning and fell. It should suffice to mention the enjambment there to make it clear. However, reading it as the action of some people who are on fire falling over is much more amusing.

From people falling over to people falling over on top of other people repeatedly. Here are two more examples of the sextilla form as demonstrated on State Highway One last week. Again, they come courtesy of the eminent Mongoloid poetaster Sextilla the Hun.

Sextilla XLIII: On Gargantua

Regard this mighty throbbing shaft
And welcome its immensity
Into that place you erstwhile laughed
That now is used most filthily
Fear not in filthy dreams to wallow—
What dreams may come have come to swallow

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Gargantua et Pantagruel: ayant foutu, ils mangent le petit déjeuner

Sextilla XLIV: And Pantagruel

And on the matter last discussed
I have yet more I must impart—
While in your maw you take the thrust
Of Great Sextilla‘s lusty dart—
In gratitude for service rendered
Is reciprocity engendered

And isn’t that a lovely thought? You give a little, you take a little… No doubt we can look forward to that reciprocal verse at some later date. But now for a haiku. This example entitled “Numbers” is one which, for a while, I have rendered thus:

     I can count to six
One, two three, four, five, six, sev—
Oops! I meant seven

The earliest example comes from 22 April 2004. And thus it runs:

     I can count to five
One, two three, four, five, six—Oops!
I guess I meant six

The shame I feel at misremembering my own work is unbounded. I am doubly disappointed, though, that I can’t remember whom I hated so at the time to have written, “Somebody whom I particularly dislike dislikes haiku; he is, therefore, my Muse. He does, however, like secondhand and vintage clothing; he is also, therefore, my Museum. My recent compositions have brought me great amusement and I grow fonder of the form, more skilled in its construction.”

I’ll leave that last bit up to your judgment.

From De Vaults: Selfstalk Blogtrawl No. 2

(Guest post by Tama Boyle.)

The earliest example of this sonnet I could find comes from January 2008. Given, however, the reference to the Swedish Rounding System, it must have been composed sometime prior to 31 October 2006. It has all the elements needed for a great poem: Supermarkets, dairy products and loyalty cards. Enjoy!

Dairy disturbing…

O worthy Temple! Vast, unbounded Choice!
Sweet Sanctuary, O Haven thrice divine!
No Man abideth who, in earnest Voice,
Denies the wondrous Bounty which is Thine.
No Artefact exists that Thou know’st not,
Nor yet can Man such Articles create.
How might we meet expound this joyous Lot,
Or Thy Abundance, or Selection great?
And as within Thy boundless Sight we kneel
And wholesome lactic Prizes wrought in Fame,
By Feta’s holy Goats, pray, let us steal
All these, by Gouda’s Grace, in Cheese’s Name!
“All Buyers indigent could ne’er have missed ’em:
The OneCard and the Swedish rounding System!”

Bridgestone tyres are made Makita tough

Feta: it is food that comes out of a goat’s tits

Note the play of caesura and enjambment, the pleasing turn of pace and tone between octave and sestet. Yeah, so it’s a bit shit. But, in all fairness, it couldn’t really have ended up any worse than the source material with which I had to work, viz. this shameless piece of purple prose from fellow State Highwayman, Ryan Sproull:

O Temple of Choice! O haven, delicious! What product exists that Thou hath [sic: tsk, tsk, grammar… BTB] not provided for me, my kith, my kin? There is none, and let no man say otherwise. Nay! The aforementioned hypothetical product doth not exist, for Thou art provider of all. How shall I greet Thee, as I cross the threshold of Thy automated doors? Shall I kneel before Thy electric eye, all-seeing as it is? I kneel with my heart, O Selection of Cheeses Both Caprine and Bovine. And the electric eye that sees my cardiac prostration is Thine. The purity of Thy fluorescence is deafening – let me be deafened! The sanctity of Thy vinyl is elevating – let me be, Elevator! Thou art my Onecard, my Fly Buys, my Love.

Don’t let her coyness fool you; she is well versed in many erotic arts

Tchoh! It is shameful in its brazenness. (Anyone for oxymorons?)

Aaaaanyway, as a bonus, I thought I would include this brief piece penned on 24 May 2006, possibly while drunk. It is one of, presumably, at least 66 I composed in the Spanish sextilla form. This particular sextilla is, again, one of at least several I composed on the matter of sex in my former life as an erotic bard by the name of Sextilla the Hun. (Warning: It does get a little blue in parts.)

Sextilla LXVI: Grope & Gropability

With tender tongue your form I traced
And skilful digits deeply probed.
Your bosom by my mouth embraced,
My member by your flesh enrobed.
What woman now would not attest
Sextilla sex is always best?

From De Vaults: Selfstalk Blogtrawl No. 1a

(Guest post by Tama Boyle.)

With regard to the subject matter of the previous blogtrawl post, I have rediscovered this esoteric and, to date, untitled bit of doggerel which I composed ex tempore a couple of years ago for a fellow-travelling Kropotkin crossword enthusiast:

As the sharpener whets the pencil
So the crossword does my mind
Square by square its vacant spaces I defeat
Dilettanteish pretence’ll
Seldom solve the clues you find
Fiendishly conceived, with jeopardies replete
Amazably refined, so perfect and discrete

Yeah… As you might have guessed, I used to be a geek. But then they changed what a geek was. Now what I am is not a geek and what a geek is is shit and unappealing to me.

NB: “Dilettanteish” in l.4 is pentasyllabic

From De Vaults: Selfstalk Blogtrawl No. 1

(Guest post by Tama Boyle.)

I wrote the following on Tuesday 27 April 2004:

I have five cigarettes to last me till morning:
But 18 bottles of beer

The Kropotkin cryptic this week vexes me. The day today is Tuesday already and I still have two more clues to get. How utterly irksome. There is nothing more pathetic to me or so lonely as an incomplete crossword puzzle. Moreover, its wretchedness is only matched by the fact that I find so inconsequential a thing as an incomplete crossword puzzle so pitiable.

What a strange and sad man I once was. Well, I’m off to drink some cider and play some darts.