Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Squirrels at Yale

I mentioned, in a previous post about lunatic squirrels, a parody assignment in a literature course I took. Here you go, internet - I reckon they're still pretty amusing.

The Squirrels at Yale
(apologies to Yeats' The Wild Swans at Coole)

The trees on Old Campus are getting their leaves
The lawn is filled with frosh
The sky's a perfect April blue
Girls' summer dresses are posh
And upon the verdant grass they race
Nine and fifty squirrels.

The fourth spring has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had finished,
All suddenly start
And scamper in a circle - one had a muffin in its mouth -
Grunting that strange little grunt they grunt.

I have looked upon these ratlike creatures
And now my heart is sore
All's changed since I, a sweet little freshman
The first time on campus,
The "eh-eh" of their cries ringing in my ears,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, fighting over the muffin,
They play upon the lawn
Or dash up the trees and scold from there:
Their hearts have not grown old;
Acorns or bagel crumbs, wander where they will
Await them in the grass.

But now they play on Old Campus
In Spring, the college student's Fall;
Into what entryway will they venture,
In what garbage can, delighted, root -
Amazing the frosh while I awake some day
To find that I have graduated?

(apologies to Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken")

Two streets diverged that New Haven night
And sorry I could not travel each
And be one traveller; not long I stood
And glanced down York to where it would
Bring me at last in the library's reach.

Instead we went down Broadway
And ordered shots at Viva's bar.
We joked and laughed the night away
(More fun than work, but who can say?)
English left my mind - but it hadn't gone far.

A parody exercise was due in just hours
And though I swore I'd do it when I got back
We stumbled in glee up Harkness Tower
Drank some more, and talked for hours -
I got home at six, and I was a wreck.

I'm telling this story with a sigh
and a splitting head - I need more sense!
Two streets diverged last night, and I -
I took the one that got me high
And that has made all the difference.*

(Well, actually, I don't feel like apologizing to Ezra Pound's cantos.)

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
--Horny Frenchman
Naughtius Maximus, Bigus Dickus, Incontinentia Buttocks!
--Pontius Pilate in The Life of Brian

Asclepius Daedalus Romulus Argos
Bellerophon Circe Demeter Callisto
was bathing green-ruddy in the moonlight
the foam of Neptune's sea
Athena, my proud moon
Athena, my proud moon

"To my dear and ever-patient reader, the frustration you feel
in hunting down every one of my obscure references
is no less than the glee I feel in watching what is essentially
a chain of random classical references be discussed in whole forests
worth of dissertations; it is my version of a Roschach test
for bespectacled grad students; remember I am laughing!
Your favorite Imagiste,
the ever devoted Ezra Pound
(written this 1 April by his mortal spokeswoman

phallocentric fundament
icy in the sea's swift pull
the goddess bares her smooth white arms
antithesis; anaxagesis, epilogue
insert latin quotation here

atlas! thou must set thy house in order
i like to potter around on my ship
and play with my toys, and pretend to be Odysseus
I have a crush on Deng Xiaoping
jade mulberry blue china yellow river rice paddies
insert Chinese cliche here
who's on first, who's on first -
it's a joke - who's on first -


zmcx vnml;w!!!!!!

My teacher's comment on this last poem: "This is such an effective parody of Pound as to seem almost cruel. Very funny though!" More than "almost" ... I was indeed a vituperative little girl, gosh. To be fair to Pound, my last English lines (based on his famous couplet "The apparition of these faces in the crowd/Petals on a wet, black bough") are misplaced - his words may be bullshit, but I'm sure he did not get a big ole check for them. Although they may have seemed thus to me at the time, poets are not rock stars!


*Actually the story in that poem is bogus. I was totally dorkily excited by the assignment, as evidenced by the fact that we were only required to do one parody, and I wrote three, and anyway I was underage my whole time at college and never went to bars.


Blogger Dallas Corsair said...

Ha! I love writing parodies of famous poems. These are excellent. By the way, fear the genetically engineered black squirrels which are invading from Palo Alto.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

12:16 AM  

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