Darkling I listen

John Keats was sitting at his kitchen table. Everyone else was asleep. He was drinking filter coffee and wishing espresso wasn’t such a pain in the ass to make.

It was very humid. He was trying to write something.

He wrote, “Blah, blah, blah.”

He wrote,

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
To thy high requiem become a…

John Keats took a drink of coffee. He wondered what time it was. He looked at the corner of the journal he was writing in, as if there would be a clock there, and marveled slightly at the way use of computers colors one’s use of print media.

“Darkling I listen,” he read.

Then the cat ran into the kitchen. It ran in circles as if something were chasing it. It stopped, then it started again, in full panic mode. John Keats squinted, and perceived that the cat had a petunia stuck to its asshole.

The cat ran back out of the kitchen.

John Keats went into the living room and meditated. Then he got the kid off to school, and went to work.

The Waste Land (v 2.0)

THE WASTE LAND

(from a manuscript recently discovered in the stuffing of a sock puppet)

“Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam
possit materiari?

I. THE BURIAL OF THE DEAD

I take it back, April is not the cruellest month,
But June, breeding
Slugs out of nowhere, geeze
Where do they all come from, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, they say
Not much snow, and April, so hot, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised you, didn’t it, dude?
Everything looked fine, the tomatoes so tall
Lettuce so lush, until, with a shower of rain, we swarmed
And went on in sunlight, into the Salatgarten,
And ate radishes, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Schnecke, sondern Nacktschnecke, echt hungrig.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

What are the roots of that beet, whose branches are
So very tasty? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, devoured beets,
And the dead row of peas gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
This is where we hide, nice and cool, during the day
When your shadow at evening rises to meet you;
We emerge, slimy flashmob, today’s the lettuce’s turn.
Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?
Heulst salzig’ Tränen
Im Salatgarten!
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth slug.”
– Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Our bellies full, and trail slimy and glittering
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
I thought I would burst
Od’ und leer das Meer.

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Floating belly-up in Schwechater. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, we’ll skip her
Kids read this blog
Here is the man with saucers, and here the ale,
And here is the desperate gardener, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by flat beer.
I see crowds of people, reading about this on Twitter.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

Unreal City,
Under the foggy dew of an Austrian dawn,
A crowd flowed over Mig’s vegetable garden, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each slug fixed his eyes upon a saucer full of beer.
Flowed up the rim and down into it, kersplash
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying “Yo, Mig!
“You who planted me the red beets and peas!
“That lettuce you planted last week in your garden,
“Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this week?
“Or have we sudden slugs disturbed its bed?

Winners of the 2009 Metamorphosism St. Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest

First of all, wow. And my sincere thanks to all entrants. The entries to the 2009 contest can be found here.

Despite attempts by me to confuse things with random rule changes, there were significantly more limericks entered in this year’s contest than in past years. They were quite classy as well, and most managed to follow the rules, even when those rules called for Latin or Icelandic, or diseases that affect rat behavior.

There were even entries entirely in Latin, and Irish. Thanks guys.

Things went kind of crazy for a while, which was nice. As Anon wrote:

I think Muireann and Trish should both be disqualified. They seem to be using this competition as a forum to air their petty grievances and are not taking the competition seriously. For example in the last 28 posts there has been no mention of a burlesque performer and only one or two references to scalpels. Some of the limericks seem to be written in an unidentified foreign language and could have any meaning. How can that be judged? They should at least be asked for a translation. Also the limericks are of poor quality and there are too many of them. There should be a cap on the number of limericks allowed and there should be more control of unruly participants.

However, since Anon was posting from the same ISP number as Muireann, I am disinclined to disqualify her at the behest of a household member who obviously bears a grudge against her. (You might want to look into that, Muireann.)

We judged this year on the basis both of quantity and quality, using a weighted algorithm and a compass. As a result, the only possible contenders for places 1, 2 and 3 are, in alphabetical order, Jann, Muireann and Trish, and it comes down to their bonus points. Toxoplasmosis gondii would normally have automatically cinched it for Jann, as that is my favorite protozoan, and the one I was hoping to elicit with the related rule change. However, the sheer quantity of Muireann’s entries won her points, as did the Icelandic. Honestly, I did not expect to see much real Icelandic, beyond references to Björk, maybe. Trish was doing well, in the running for first place, until her broadband went out, setting her back somewhat.

As a Solomonic solution, I was briefly tempted to let Tony and Ian tie for first place, but my wife said that would be a stupid thing to do.

Anyway, here are the final results.

First place: Jann (extra points for toxoplasmosis gondii, and also more of her entries stuck closer to the rules, and the youtube burlesque link)

Second place: Muireann

Third place: Trish. Sorry about your rat, Trish.

Thank you to everyone who entered. See you next year.

As far as this year’s prize goes, I am hitting the flea markets in search of trophies. I’ll mail the winners when I find some, or something similar, for mailing instructions. Or, how about you guys let me know where to send them?

8th metamorphosism.com International Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest

PLEASE NOTE NEW, EMERGENCY, (literally) LAST-DAY RULE CHANGES BELOW!!!11!!!!

Time for the 8th (I think) annual Metamorphosism International Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest.

Enter in the comments to this post.
Winners will be announced on 14 February, 2009.
ENTER AS OFTEN AS YOU LIKE!!! But read the rules before entering! Or else!

IMPORTANT NOTICE: THERE HAS BEEN A SMALL CHANGE IN THE RULES FOR THIS YEAR’S CONTEST!!

SECOND IMPORTANT NOTICE! THERE HAS BEEN ANOTHER RULE CHANGE!

  1. Poems entered must be an actual limerick. We are strict about this.
  2. Entries must contain a Latin word or phrase.
  3. Extra points awarded for working in one of the following: a king, a burlesque performer, an extinct or rare musical instrument, a prosthesis, NEW: an obsolete, extinct or rare musical instrument. NEW RULE CHANGE HERE: No kings, prostheses or obsolete musical instruments after all. All entries with kings, prostheses or obsolete musical instruments will be disqualified. Unusual or innovative musical instruments will still be allowed. Instead of kings, extra points will be awarded for parasitic diseases affecting the behavior of rats. Prostheses and prosthetic devices shall be replaced by surgical equipment.
  4. NEW RULES (made necessary by the unfortunate flame war in the entries): entries are to include themes of general bawdiness, redeption and reconciliation. Bonus characters: famous peace activists, famous ventriloquists, escape artists. Bonus languages: Latin, Icelandic.
  5. Rules subject to change without warning (changes will be posted here or in a subsequent post)

(Note: Over the years, a number of rude etc expressions have been added to the comment blacklist so if the comments refuse your entry that might be the reason. In that case, mail it to me at metamorphosist (at) gmail dot c0m and I’ll set you up.)

Feel free to search this site for past winners. Good luck.