A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bad Poetry: The Faithful Dog Fido

I shouldn't repeat poets in this feature, but for William Topaz McGonagall, an exception needs to be made. For faithful readers of this blog, he is the author of "Captain Teach alias "Black Beard'" which you may remember from Talk Like a Pirate Day. He shows the same cheerful disregard for rhyme, rhythm and meter in this poem. Although suddenly it seems he's retro-cool and being touted as one of the fathers of rap. He certainly had the notoriety for it--people used to throw things at him during readings. Not too many poets can evoke such emotion from a crowd.

by William McGonagall

Little Fido's master had to go on a long journey,
So Fido followed her master, and ran cheerfully,
And often the master would speak kindly to the dog,
As along the road together they did jog.

Her master rode on a very beautiful steed,
And Fido followed behind at slow speed,
And so they travelled on and on,
And the road was dusty, and they felt woe-begone.

The sun shone hot, and the horse was covered with sweat,
And poor Fido was tired and began to fret,
And she felt so tired that no farther could she go,
So Fido lay down and whined with her heart full of woe.

Then the master dismounted near a cool shady wood,
And tied his horse to a tree while in an angry mood;
Then he took from the saddle his heavy bags of gold,
And laid them beside Fido, and to watch them she was told.

Then he drew his cloak about him, and lay down
With the saddle bags under his head, without a frown;
Then little Fido close to her master did creep,
And in a short time was fast asleep.

But she didn't sleep sound, because her master had her told,
Not to fall asleep, but to watch the bags of gold,
So she pricked up her ears in fear any one coming,
And around the bags of gold she kept running.

Her master was tired and slept right soundly,
But little Fido began to feel rather weary,
And she thought her master was long enough in that place,
And at last she awakened her master by licking his face.

The dog knew it was time for her master to go,
And for fear of sleeping too long Fido's heart was full of woe,
And she began to bark loud and strong,
Then her master jumped up, troubled because he'd slept so long.

Then he quickly mounted his beautiful steed,
And rode away at a very quick speed,
And calling Fido! but Fido paid no heed,
Which caused Fido's master to feel angry indeed.

She ran after the horse and bit at his heels,
But poor Fido's master indignant feels;
This she did several times, but her master paid no heed,
And he began to think Fido was going mad indeed.

At last the dog sat down by the road side,
And looked sorrowfully after her master, as onward he did ride,
Then she ran after him, and him she overtook,
Just as he had stopped to water his horse in a brook.

And there she stood beside the brook, and barked so savagely,
That her master thought her really mad, she acted so strangely,
Then she ran down the road barking with all her might,
Until her master was now convinced Fido wasn't right.

And taking out his pistol, he aimed at the dog,
And fired, and poor Fido lay there as dead as a log;
Then with a sad heart he rode hastily away,
Spurring on his noble steed without delay.

But he hadn't ridden far, when he stopped as in dismay,
And searched for his bags of gold, but they were away,
And pondering in his mind as spell-bound he stood,
Had he dropped them, or left them behind in the wood.

Then he turned and rode back as fast as he could go,
And crying on his little, dog, with his heart full of woe,
And all along the road he still saw drops of blood,
Which brought tears into his eyes in a flood.

And oh! how guilty he felt as he galloped by the road side,
And found the bags of gold, and there lay beside
The faithful dog Fido alas! quite dead,
And when he saw her he was terror-stricken with dread.

And taking the bags of gold with him he rode away,
Lamenting the death of Fido, who's life he'd taken that day,
Who was true to her trust in protecting her master's gold,
And an ill reward for doing to, be it told.

I think there's a moral in here. For the dog, if not the man.

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Anonymous Christopher said...

One good metrical line . Although you're right of course about the general disregard for meter here. "And at last she awakened her master by licking his face" works well enough as five anapests.

9:23 AM  

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