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Story Data

Posted November 7, 2002

Original Story: Poetic Parodies

I wrote a number of poetic parodies for a literature class my senior year in college. I was told I had quite a knack for mimicking not only rhyming structure, but also rhythm and sound patterns, while setting up an entirely new theme. So, tell me what you think! Here are my four best attempts:

The Fly
How Can I Hate You?
Le Bel Homme Sans Merci
Stooping for Socks on a School-Day Evening

The Fly

    Little fly, who squashed thee?
    Dost thou know who squashed thee?
Took thy life as thou did feed
While he paused to pull a weed;
Ripped thy wings in angry spite,
Pretty winglets jeweled and bright;
Hearing not thy tender voice
Humming of thy insect joys?
    Little fly, who squashed thee?
    Dost thou know who squashed thee?

    Little fly, I’ll tell thee!
    Little fly, I’ll tell thee!
He is taunted by that name,
A scrawny boy callèd the fly.
He is weak, and he's reviled;
He’s become a vengeful child.
He a child, and thou a fly,
Ye are callèd by his name.
    Little fly, now rest thee!
    Little fly, now rest thee!

(Parody of: William Blake "The Lamb")

How Can I Hate You?

How can I hate you? Let me tell you why.
I hate you from the depths I saw last night
When out you reached, then held me under tight
And tried to drown the life-light from my eye.
I hate you for the poison in every pie
And sandwich, robbing me of health and might.
I hate you freely, as you turn from Right;
I hate you truly as your bullets fly.
I hate you with the passion that I'd use
Had you loved me, not cut me with a lathe.
I hate you with a hate I'll never lose
Until I'm gone; I hate you with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I will but hate you better after death.

(Parody of: Elizabeth Barret Browning "How do I love thee?")

Le Bel Homme Sans Merci

Oh what can ail thee, college girl,
    Alone and palely loitering?
Thy other friends paired off and left
    Each with a ring.

Oh what can ail thee, college girl,
    So bitter and so woe-begone?
Thy storehouse of knowledge is full
    And the studying’s done.

I see the mark upon thy brow
    Of jealous frowns; is that a clue?
For on thy cheek a tear-track sighs
    Heartsickness too.

I met a young man in my class,
    Full handsome – yes, Adonis’ child,
His skin was tan, his smile was bright,
    And his eyes were wild.

I made a dinner for him then,
    And breakfast too, and did him loan
My heart, for he did say he loved,
    And made sweet moan.

I joined him at Shari's, and talked,
    And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would he glance, and sing
    A lovers' song.

He brought me flowers, scented sweet,
    And earrings bright, a necklace too,
And always he in actions said—
    "I love thee true!"

He took me back to my place then,
    And there he wept, and sighed full sore,
And there I shut his wild blue eyes
    With kisses four.

And there he lullèd me asleep,
    And there I dreamed–there in the gloom–
The latest dream I ever dreamed
    In my dorm room.

I saw pale women, dressed like me,
    Old girl-friends, death-pale were they all,
They cried—"Le Bel Homme Sans Merci
    Hath thee in thrall!"

I saw their full lips in the gloam
    In jealous warning mouthing doom,
And I awoke and found me here,
    In my dorm room.

And that is why I’m staying here
    Alone and palely loitering.
I'll wait 'till he returns to me—
    I want a ring.

(Parody of: John Keats "La Belle Dame Sans Merci")

Stooping for Socks on a School-Day Evening

Whose socks are these, I think I know;
The laundry basket's not here, though.
She will not see me stooping here
To send the socks where they should go.

She might just think it slightly queer
To look and yet not find them near,
Between the trash can and the wall
Where the carpet's stained, I fear.

I give my head a tired shake
And wonder if there's some mistake.
I work, she drives out in her Jeep;
Tell me, where went give and take?

Emotions heavy, dark and deep –
A roommate's promises to keep,
And chores to go before I sleep,
And chores to go before I sleep.

(Parody of: Robert Frost "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening")


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