Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category
(Reposting this old piece so I can more easily find it. One line tweaked to make it generic.)
I found a fragrant pebble;
When I smelt it, out he came.
He turns quite green with envy
If left out in the rain.
I could trade him in for silver
Or beat him 'til he's thin;
Reduce him to a third
if I boiled him in a tin;
But cruelty's corrosive
So I treat him as a friend,
In hopes that I'll be hearing
A purr there at the end.
The prize for the answer is braggin' rights. Nowt else.
My mistress bids me wait in durance stern.
With ignorance she blocks my path to joy;
Unjust delays are wrought at every turn,
My every plea set back by falsehoods coy;
Or else she seems to wilt, or then relent,
Yet in the granting, buck my earnest wish
With pale commital, watered-down assent –
A day-old tin of bleak and joyless fish.
Such cheapest chicken wafted at my face
That any cat would balk to call a meal!
There's gravy when I wanted jellied plaice
Or tuna when I becked for curried veal!
That witch! that crone! a wight with no remorse!
I shan't be coming back for second course!
What colour is the cat who writes this complaint, AND WHY? No marks will be given for an incorrect reason. (Hint: You don't need any foreknowledge of my household to work this out.)
Comments will be screened for a couple of days to let everyone guess.
Herm 'Hellmutt' Baskerville,
Having a crack at a
new form of verse,
Blames double dactyls for
brashly inciting a
poet to worse.
Interesting form. Can't say it's one I'd normally have tried… although it looks like it'd be great for comic nonsense poetry, my favourite genre.
High Flight, for those new to the maze of footless twisty hallways of my head, is one of my favourite poems, about the joy of being a pilot. I'm not alone: pilots and astronauts everywhere find it touching, and according to Wikipedia "it is required to be recited by memory by first-year cadets at the United States Air Force Academy" (way to buzz-kill, USAF).
The reading and music in that clip don't do anything for me; the overall effect's a bit corny (not too much, though, just to the extent that even the most dignified American things are). They're nice plane clips, though. Reading subtitles of the poem along to those would probably be quite uplifting.
I'm not old enough to remember channel sign-offs (not because I wasn't born, but because I don't have much memory). This one is from 1986, the year my little brother was born. I believe our ones in the UK had the national anthem or Big Ben or something…
My little love affair with planes has never been requited (thanks to my rubbish eyesight) or consummated, other than one short flight we took at Space Camp where I experienced weightlessness for a short time. That's discounting international flights, of course, which are to jet fighters what the number 42 is to a Formula One car.
In an amusing coinkydink, jet fighter duels are commonly called "dogfights". Hmmm…
I lick my nose and turn my head askance
to let you know I mean you only well,
and duck my head in playful bow: let's dance.
Oh no? Your choice. So, care to have a smell?
Well, let me sniff your bottom — what's amiss?
I'm friendly, look: my tail is whizzing round;
let's — gracious me, whatever was that hiss?
You heard that, right? Extraordinary sound.
So anyway, you want to see my toys?
Or run around and bark and bark at bikes?
Why, there it is again, that hissing noise.
Ignore it; let's play chase. I'll get you — yikes!
I didn't know you had a bunch of those!
That hurt, I — Mummy, help, she got my nose!
I'm currently listening to one of cubicgarden's trance mixes. If this thing rickrolls me, I'll have to vanquish him on Monday.
Oh, and as soon as the healing springs faerie heals my Lupe I'm painting her Spotted, because I just got the PB and the spotted Lupe looks just like an African Wild Dog, for which I'm a sucker. (So she'll be a literal Painted Dog, then…)
teeter, flutter, tweet and fall
to fly or feed cats
Songdog's written a post about Haiku Day on Twitter. Seeing his updates (and others') is what's got me doing a bit of haiku'ry there myself. Twitter's character limit lends itself well.
Hence, today, the above in response to this from Altivo. "Tweet" not an intentional pun. Title of post is.
Droople Droople Droople? Drupe Drupe Drupe! *waves flag*
I'm back from DrupalCamp UK, where I was helping out – partly because I'm interested in Drupal (it and I will do Great Things together, yes, my pretty), partly because it was held at my workplace and partly because I know Ian and some of the other GeekUprs who organised it. It was nothing to do with the pizzas (70 of them. Seriously. Between just over 80 attendees), although those were nice, and provided an… interesting challenge trying to get enough people who would take the leftovers home.
Really, really good weekend. I have a stressball in the shape of the Drupal droplet and a USB stick with DAMP on it. Those plus a couple of stickers are about it for schwag, although there was also a prize draw giveaway thing for lots of books. (All fully compliant with BBC competition guidelines, of course.) I've also been lionised and ego-stroked by slightly drunk developers, which my psyche apparently interprets as a Good Thing. In fact I'm evidently so awesome that everyone's desperate for me to help out at the next northern Droople event. Provisionally yes, depending how I feel tomorrow morning and what becomes of the one or two blister startups on my feet.
So, I've learned a lot from the (parts of) talks I saw, even when some things were over my head, met lots of neat people whose names I of course instantly forgot, and generally Organised Things. This meant everything from chucking a napkin in the direction of a spilled pint, through whisking round with spray cleaner on the morning of Day Two, via making sure windows and doors were open to counteract the broken air con and roomsful of sweaty geeks, to telling people which talk was happening where and what they were likely to be about. Also seen some coooool modules and stuff in action, such as Administration Menu.
I'm all fired up about making Profusion work niceynicey on Drupe now. If only there were a halfway house between Drupal and a messageboard system (that ISN'T a phpBB clone *blech*), that would really be ideal. Either that or we could stand to reimagine our play-by-message-board dynamic, and, well, Change is Scary.
Forays into Twitter don't seem to have harmed my usual pointless verbosity.
And now I'm tired. And it's a normal work week starting tomorrow!
THE REVEREND TOM BUTLER:
"Jesus said1 be subtler
Than the snakes to whom Saint Pat gave the shove.
Unfortunately everyone in Northern Ireland seems to have forgotten the second part about the doves."
You can therefore blame Dinah for the tombs of the Suitov lords' "friends and family" mausoleum being furnished with a clerihew apiece.
edit: Oddly, come to think of it, if you wanted something that defines Englishness and the English sense of humour, I reckon the whole clerihew thing would have to be an excellent example. Dry, irreverent, quirky and wordy. Mine's not a great example, but look at the ones on Wikipedia to see what I mean.
Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given. (If you've done it before, feel free to add a link so I can avoid duplication.)
Altivo gave me the following five:
Doggerel [heh heh, make of it what you will]
The dictionary definition of doggerel is comic verse of irregular measure. I am not quite sure what this means, and my working definition of doggerel is "rhyming poetry written in little time, not (necessarily) any good".
The reason I wouldn't ever mind my poems being described as such is quite simple: it has the word "dog" in it.
I do enjoy poetry, reading and writing it, but it has to rhyme and scan impeccably and not be what I consider 'up itself' or 'pretentious'. It helps also if something happens in it and it's funny. Poetry written for children tends to be good for these qualities.
I've been criticised, within a small writing feedback group I've frequented, for my overadherence to rhyme scheme and meter. I don't particularly want to move away from it, though. Those are what I like about the stuff in the first place.
tends to feel
Doggerel! Doggerel is when people rhyme fire with desire (or, worse, higher), love with above (or, well, love with anything that rhymes with love; it's all over-done) or alone with [on my] own. When I hear these, I want to smite things. A good one I heard once, from Shania Twain I believe, was optimistic rhymed with pessimistic.
A doggerel might also be a cross between a dog and a cockerel. It could comb its own fur, but it might give you some rather sharp pecks on the cheek.
I am, I suppose, what one might call very English. I am not talking about being born in Chester, but more about such things as dry and ironic humour, honesty, fair play, dislike of making a fuss, excess of reserve and not doing sex. Oh, and liking dogs. A lot. However, I never drink tea, don't think all that much of the Royal Family or the Church of England, loathe cricket and football and am chronically disinterested in the weather.
I like the English language, though am aware that it's a pig for non-native speakers to learn. (Something about a Great Vowel Shift, which always sounds vaguely scatological to me.) I have no ear for accents and sometimes have trouble telling what people with thick accents (of any sort) are saying. Perhaps for this reason, Received Pronunciation accents — posh English, also called BBC or Queen's English — are the most pleasant on my ears. My own accent might be described as modern RP or BBC English with the edges knocked off, or… well, perhaps I'll record it someday and let others judge. I've lived in the North all my life, but don't have much of a local accent, if any at all.
I'm extremely weak to wordplay, too. Puns aren't the lowest form of wit. They are de rigeur, even obligatory, at least when one is handed the perfect set-up.
I'm also a pedant when it comes to those parts of English grammar that I fully grasp, which aren't necessarily all of it. I do have the reputation as go-to guy within the office for matters of spelling, punctuation or usage. What surprises me is that people are so nervous and unsure of some really very basic conventions. What might surprise people is that I didn't study English beyond the mandatory level (GCSE; 14–15 years of age) at school. And I learned nothing from those lessons beyond parroting someone else's interpretation of a poem. (This is what I think of the analysis of poetry by classes of 14–15-year-olds.) My secret? Genetics and upbringing, sad to say. I came into the world hard-wired to read; the usual autistic difficulties with language passed me by quite. I learned to read when I was about two years old (apparently it wasn't a question of being taught by a pushy parent; Small Me decreed that I jolly well would be taught) and didn't stop for many years.
There, I used the phrase "jolly well" as an intensifier. What more proof of Englishness do you need?
The dictionary definition of sangfroid is "coolness of mind; calmness; composure". A quality I much wish I had. On the other claw, a less neutral and more negative definition — 'cold-bloodedness' in the sense of not caring about people — might easily be applied to me. I wish mankind no specific ill. Let's leave it there.
I also write a character known for both sides, coolness and coldness. (He means well. The problem may stem from the fact that he means well in an entirely theoretical and abstract sense.) However, in my writerly universe, your Captain Kirks and your headstrong princesses tend to get themselves killed out of clear incompetence and what we might call excessively glandularly-oriented decision-making, to the benefit of chaps like him; in other words, I deeply distrust people who claim to be led by their 'hearts' or 'gut feelings', which generally means "prejudices and guesses I don't want to bother to substantiate", and so I do not do things like setting up such rather reptilian sorts of fellows as cheap fall guys to 'prove' emotional humans are superior to thinking ones. Calculating people tend to succeed. At least ones who know how to play the socio-political game.
I actually have a character called Sangfroid, too; she is the great-grandmother of the character I've been talking about. She was a military general. It's said her legendary composure only cracked once, when her infant twins were in danger of death. (I bet whoever said that wasn't present at the birth. "More morphine, darling?" "Only half a glass, thank you; I'm driving.")
Twine [not string]
There was once a little installation of UseModWiki, hacked a little bit to include a 'boilerplate' text functionality, which was rather an achievement considering its owner didn't actually know any Perl. Its name was Twine Encyclopaedia and it was and is is the main publically-accessible repository of information regarding the HellMutt's writing characters, not to mention those of des co-writers at Profusion.
The little UseMod that could is named Twine because Twine is a word associated with Profusion's shared universe — though in exactly what manner remains to be seen. That's the nature of shared universes. The idea advanced so far is that it is the name of an interplanetary organisation that sets itself up as some breed of self-declared police force, tasking itself with applying and upholding interplanetary treaties and laws.
According to current plans, The Twine Encyclopaedia shall eventually apotheose and become some manner of wiki add-on in an installation of Drupal, which shall be database-driven and PHPish and Chaotic Good. Its owner does not currently know any PHP, except
phpinfo(). You may be sensing a pattern here.
As aforementioned, I like dogs. In actual fact I grew up with two exceptionally good-natured and well-trained Golden Retrievers. The stupider one knew upwards of 100 words in three languages plus sign language. This is why I don't believe in stupid dogs, only unambitious (one might even say inhibiting) owners.
I do not, however, currently enjoy the necessary honour of living with a dog, instead being drooled and occasionally sat upon by a fat, eleven-year-old, somewhat toothless cat.
They say write what you know, and so far I have a character, and to a lesser extent an entire species, based on or influenced by my inept observations of the feline nature. According to my fair and unbiased assessment of catkind, the character is murderous, spiteful, graceful, hateful, extremely fast, distractible, equal parts cynical and naïf, excessively interested in moving objects, rather dim, insecure, almost impossible to keep hold of if he wants to escape, utterly convinced of his own species' superiority to all other forms of life, and obsessed with balls of yarn. (In addition, he loves high places, can't bear to have his tummy touched and really hates getting wet.)
The character fiercely denies being kittyish in the least. He does not have fur, pointy ears or a tail and never wears bells around his neck, so we will have to believe him.
I eat my peas with houmous.
I've done it all this week.
It makes me feel a dumbous
But it's keeping this physique.
*crunches an apple*
I'm holding steady just below 80. I want to lose more, but I can't muster the strength. It's just gone. Ah well, maintain for now… and never again the 80s.
Well, a little year-end status report seems appropriate.
Way back in December 2007/January 2008 I thought I'd have a stab at writing a poem a week throughout the year. I made it to half the total, 26. You can read them here. That total includes some I'm genuinely proud of, such as the sonnets (Railing is my favourite; here are some kitties too) and Wefty's little apology/self-hatred/guilt trip/mourning poem (I don't care that it met with general apathy and criticism; I'm proud of it), as well as some lighter ones I wrote to amuse colleagues and others.
What did surprise me, and is one reason I'm laid-back about the poetry target, is that I suddenly started artsing again. I honestly never expected to use my Wacom tablet for anything serious again, after going through a particularly horrible time of hating my 'art'—and this was serious; I can't tell you how severely without scaring you—and generally thinking I'd never make another visual thing. I can't explain why I was able to pick up the stylus again, or why I did so, but it's been fun. The first thing I painted was a giant crow made of insects, which won me pictures of Weft as a furry in return. (It's impossible to explain to those not in the know how incredibly funny this is.) I laid into some huge projects, too, including a parrot, an elf (half) and a grandmother.
Other artwork included owl, dog with furry (I like this one a lot, probably because of the boar piglet), red panda (I should definitely do more of those), dog jumping, dog-in-costume, Egyptian wolf, sketch wolf, inky-style sceptical demon and human (warning: human).
A lot later in 2008, we set a deadline for "the end of the year" to start our epic Profusion project, formerly the 'Great War', which we've now retitled to 'The Twine Wars' to make it a little more distinctive. And all right, I left it until the last minute, and yes, technically it was 2009 in NZ already, but nevertheless, for readers in any time zone west of Finland's, the very first Twine Wars posting did indeed go up before the end of the year.
Which is nice, very nice. My major characters aren't yet in play this early in the storyline, but I can already tell I'm going to have fun with Paraskive Taxidies ("parra-skeevuh tax-ee-dee-ess"), my viewpoint character for this region, who is also one of my comparatively rare female characters.
If Weft would stop cuddling Sweetoff and get in character, I have prequel short stories to write for both of them, long before they met. I might even have yet another stab at drawing one or the other of them, too.
I'm also fatass again after going nuts over the holidays (sigh), but that is soooo temporary. Diet starts tomorrow. Well, technically today by now, but I'm finishing this can of lychees before bed, because DUDE LYCHEES. OM NOM NOM.
The work email poet-pirate strikes again…
Context needed. Someone in Religion sent around a blank-verse invitation to come pub crawling for his leaving do, mentioning bars called Odder and Long Legs. (Jabez Clegg is another bar along Oxford Road.) I'm still on holiday leave on the date in question, so:
Pub Crawl RSVP
With deep regrets, etcetera,
To turn down such a lyric lure
I find myself away that day
Upon a quest obscure;
For secretary's siren song
Informs me I have leave to burn
And must essay some holiday
Or lose it, in my turn.
So raise a glass for absent Herms
And happy quaffing, one and all:
Be odd, be clegg, be long of leg -
The better pubs to crawl.
(Oh, and I'm well aware the last line can be interpreted in more than one way. "To crawl the better [of the] pubs" or "The better to crawl pubs".)
That takes me to 26 poems, half my target for this year (52). I'm quite happy with that, especially because I've also started digi-painting again in the meantime, which I hadn't expected to do.
I may even bubble up with some more poetry before the year's out, if all my creative juice isn't spent on paintings and writing the Twine Wars opening.
edit: A few people have emailed me back with things like "Brilliant!", "You really are very good at writing poetry. Have you written a lot? Have you published anything? I'm properly impressed…", "I loved your poem back to [colleague] – good work!" and "Bravo!" Fun to get compliments and hopefully give other people a chuckle out of their afternoons. *danceydancey*
edit2: reply from sender:
"Its bad form to send a reply so witty
It make the author of the invite feel rather shitty"
Awwwwww… haha. (Don't worry – he didn't mind really.)
I like riddles. The final one written for that roleplay thread.
My first begins a Song,
my next's the end of time;
my third's in neck and scratch,
my fourth in sword and prime:
a comb upon its side;
a headless scarecrow-frame;
now put my parts together
and you shall learn my name.
(Be wary of the comments in case the answer's given there, of course.)
'Tivo may appreciate this…
This makes no sense out of context, but hey, puns. Again, a rhyming 'clue' written for a roleplay board: this one refers to some things that have been lurking in the background all the while.
Riddle 2008:3, 9 Nov
The beast is dead; long live the beast!
Your quest moves on a-canter
But hark, what things are stalling here
Attending to your banter?
We blow no horn; we sound no bell;
We're neatly groomed and stable,
All creme except one à Palouse -
Now find him, if you're able.
The servants in this scene are all wearing horse masks. One of them, as one of the characters noticed much earlier, has a black spot painted on him.
Hmmm. If I make it to half my 52-poem target for the year I'll be quite satisfied.
Up at 06:30 for Neopets giveaway, lulz. I got the spooky site theme for me and the brother-creatures. Seem to have got in before the massive site-laggage, too. *dances* Now I can go back to bed.
I think Piper has an injury to his white eye. There's lots of gunk underneath, which I keep cleaning away, even though there's no cut visible. There's also a little dirty patch on the edge of his white ear (same side), which I suspect is a small injury too. Piper is clearly a menace to society with his hard-drinking, roustabouting, bar-brawling ways.
Since I'm awake anyway, a poem. Amphibrachic tetrameter because I can.
Country Road Meeting
An Anglian roadway in whistling November.
No sign of the taxi; no signal, no money,
A cardie from Primark 'tween her and the weather,
Suspecting she'll come to regret the stilettos.
Some headlights: the taxi? She moves to the hedgerow
And hopes she'll be visible. Funny, no engine.
It comes round the corner; she shivers. What is it?
It looks like a calf but it's burly and shaggy
And looking at her with those luminous eyeballs!
Its claws make no clicking, no noise on the roadway;
No steam from its muzzle. It's not even breathing.
"If this is a pisstake," she mumbles, "it's working."
It passes her swiftly, the muscular creature,
So close she could touch it. You're kidding. She doesn't.
Intent on its business, it wholly ignores her.
A roar from behind makes her jump. A Fiesta
With spoiler and skirts and a strip light beneath it.
A hundred and fifty or more, never slowing,
It bombs down the roadway, so close it could touch her.
The dog—was it hit? Where's it gone? Shit, she's blinded.
She rubs at the afterglow, loses a contact.
The car's disappeared and, it seems, so's the creature.
No body. No impact. No blood. Must have dodged it.
Her sobs become mist as she turns and examines
The tracks of the tyres in the place she was walking.
A few minutes later, the cab driver finds her.