Poem: H.M.S. Overly Verbose

So, it’s another poem, instead of that whole short story thing I promised. Trouble is, the short story just won’t stay short. Maybe this will give you some idea of what I’m talking about.

It is, of course, the longest poem I’ve ever written.

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H.M.S. Overly Verbose

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It’s less than true to say I’m schooled in ship-building, I know;

But there are ports I’d like to show you. So here goes.

First we pick our starting point–or in my case,

Don’t. Begin at the beginning with our metal, cloth and wood,

Strewn all over; one titanium beam for the base,

is gilt with copper for a glowing finish. If I could,

I’d shove a pole of iron all the way throughout its core;

To prove I work in layers. But I’ll restrain myself.

(don’t get too comfortable; you can be assured–

this ship will prove most hazardous to your health!)

The hull we’ll build with tungsten plate glued on to tungsten plate;

I’m sure it will suffice for this creation.

Until we have to patch the ensuing leaks–but wait:

Try not to overwrite the decoration.

Fine flowers; stencilled, cut and blowtorched on to link

One mismatched bit of steel to fine ceramics.

And if, by chance, en route to this my Frankenstein ship sinks,

You’ll be too mesmerised by it to panic.

We’ll make the deck five miles long, so to incorporate;

Every bit of timber jigsaw we can find.

And fit them all together with smooth marble counterweight,

To fill the gaps between oak, maple, ash and pine.

And cherry, silver birch and lime–the best of woods for carving,

So I’ve heard: so that one’s for the figures.

(all nine thousand) with live trees too to stop us starving,

if it doesn’t work we’ll have to build it bigger.

A cathedral of the sea, although we’ll invert the fan vaulting;

Add some buttresses and blow them out of glass.

The angel-demon-griffins on that edge will prove most halting,

Should our questionable voyage come to pass.

Now for the masts; we’ll weld a million lightning rods together,

For the first, and next a million spears.

And if you fear the rest will attract equally bad weather–

Don’t worry. It won’t be done for years.

I want to build a ship that has a piece for all occasions,

And force it out into uncharted slaughter;

Decked with anything that’s caught my eye: the magpie consecration,

My pretty fish to blow out of the water;

With the super-laser-cannons I have armed with brazen swords

I brought to gun fights (true, to some exasperation)

And moon-rock enjoined catapults to face oncoming hordes,

Of better-made ships bound for devastation.

To keep the sails working in the face of this onslaught;

I suggest we take what we’ve already got,

And weave it through with spider’s silk; admire what we’ve wrought,

And fly them every time we have the shot.

But one restraint I’ll put here before people get excited;

That silk and sack, that satin suede and skin–

Will bear no message sewn on them until we’ve all alighted,

Or else I’ll have to sink it for its sins.

I guess we’ll have a colour-scheme: for I’ll not have a rainbow,

Spoil the twilight horizon with bad taste.

But we’ll embroider every metaphor with silver, like a halo;

always one more adjective to stall our haste.

And let’s erect a tower with a turret at the helm;

Like the writer in the berth that’s next to mine.

It’s not a rip-off; mine is knitted, hers is made of elm,

Homages honour these ships ‘of the line’.

And wool from every corner of the world will make the cables;

Even if exceeding three will weigh it down.

We’ll change it later if we have to. First–we’ll draw on Aesop’s fables,

One more homage won’t run us into ground.

As for the ridiculous amount of decks below;

Eventually there’ll be some theme in their style.

I swear the trip will go too fast, even if the ship is slow,

And stern to bow can be measured in miles.

I realise it’s not the ideal vessel for the task;

The monstrosity upon the wine-dark sea.

But skill in this and every art can only come to pass,

With time. (yes, that’s an allegory).

There are so many islands that I want to take you to,

That cannot wait. So while some might use a raft,

I’ll throw everything I know together; conjure up a crew

Of characters who’ll help us in this craft.

So the ship is both built and edited as we go;

Which of my many tales would you know?

H. M. S. Overly Verbose

Poem: On Time

As in, ‘on the subject of time’, rather than ‘I got this in before the deadline for my next blog post by the skin of my teeth-on time’.

Unlike my other recent poems this one doesn’t rhyme until the last two lines; and though I honestly prefer rhyming poetry, I feel this one expresses my half-asser self better.

Yeah… so. It’s a poem. Enjoy.

On Time

(And for those of you who prefer your poetry legible…)

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ON TIME

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Endlessly slumbering Time. Your dreams accelerate;

Day by day I struggle to find a moment to complain about it,

Amidst my own dreams;

Let alone to make the attempt to realise them.

Years pass; whole forests of imagination are swallowed,

To the very last leaf, by Your sands.

One tells oneself the silver sparkling dunes are prettier anyway,

But by the time only the ashen shells of the sturdier trees remain–

What else can you say?

Well. Things live in the desert too; buried in dark hollows.

Some can brave the moonlit wasteland to dig them up;

Others try to outrun the onslaught–for as long as possible.

Me, I shed my leaves at work: one eye on the clock;

Each letter writ in the blood I squeezed from a steel block.

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Ode to Doodles

Yes, other poets may choose to compose their verses on the great issues of the day, or agonise over the fundamental questions of human experience. Me, I’m a shallow tosser who wrote a sonnet about my own doodles. Surprise!

(and I don’t even know if this really is a sonnet; don’t those have to be written in iambic pentameter or some such shit? I don’t want to be the fuck who puts one two-syllable word down and calls it a ‘haiku’, after all…)

But for someone as boring as me, they do form an integral part of my existence; the representatives of that 99% of the time when I’m not doing anything useful, even though I really should be.

Doodle Sonnet

And because this is one of the most illegible of my poems; behold a typed and slightly edited version, with an illustration of what I mean by ‘snail-knights’, in case there are those of you out there who aren’t familiar with that particular illuminated manuscript trope from the middle ages.

(like that would happen!)

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DOODLES

*

Resolute, one’s purpose keeps the pen in ruled lines;

If only one commits to resolution.

Yet here the ink imagines to branch out in tangled vines,

Resolve’s for those with sterner constitutions–

Than a scribbler slacking off from ticking boxes in Excel;

Solemn sowings given way to tiny stars,

Whose points are blacked in alternately–yes, she does it well;

Like frustration incarnate in paper scars.

Those flowers, skulls and rabbits might not serve to look as grand as

When gilt angels illuminated letters;

Yet kinship of their snail-knights with her wrong-looking pandas,

I see between our stationery’s fetters.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/bd/21/45/bd214501feb6772cddaf27e7437c6ec5.jpg

For faithless inspiration moves the heart’s pen when it will;

But the one in my hand’s shackle, struggles to be still.

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So there you have it. I think the doodles do deserve their own ode, at the end of the day. What do you think, patterned unicorn rabbit I drew while I was supposed to be working? Patterned unicorn rabbit’s… friend?

Unicorn Bunny and Friend

Patterned Unicorn Rabbit: I think that soon the world shall be mine!

… Friend: Yessss, masssster.

An Gallerie of Doodles: Part II

The slacking off from doing actual work continues, and continued a long time ago when these doodles were drawn, back in good old University. Part I here: https://racheliliffe.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/an-gallerie-of-doodles-part-i/

Trigger warning for stick-figure violence and gore, u gaiz.

Muse of a Friar

There it is. The Demon of Doodles. The Muse of Procrastination. From this creature everything that litters my pages of notes was spawned. Except for, you know… the notes. Some of them have actual facts ‘n’ stuff in them.

Pope Eats Lemons

Pope: Yum yum, Lemons, yum. Kill the Albigensians. Lemons, yum.

Of course, like in part one some of these doodles served to illustrate and clarify the factual notes. Here we see a Pope (I think it was Innocent III?) who ordered the Albigensian Crusade in the 13th century. I may not remember his name exactly, but I do remember that he was known for eating lemons–and in the end, isn’t that the most important thing?

I have no idea what the fuck that abomination on wheels is at the top of the page though. Demonic possession?

Explosion of Cute

To whit, the doodles that were nothing more than pictorial gibberish continued too (and do so to this day). Rabbits, rabbits with wings, earthworms, earthworms with wings, stars, hearts, flowers–they’re all there.

Most interestingly, to illustrate the word ‘EXPLOSION’ there is a character I made up at about the age of ten: Ponyloon, the turquoise horse with an eyepatch who loved blowing stuff up. He’s stuck with me all these years; one of my favourite characters from my own deranged mind. In fact…

Three Freaks Play Chess

CAPTION: “3 crazed freaks playing chess”. Note the thoughtful expression on Zeiban’s usually blank face, as he tries 2 figure out how to kill Diddilydum the Fly before Ponyloon’s bomb goes off.

The characters from my youth could also be combined with cartoon clarification, to make a pointless in-joke that any student could be proud of.

… not showing to anyone. Ever. This one, for example, was a direct parody of this image here:

https://i2.wp.com/usercontent1.hubimg.com/8521066_f520.jpg

The resemblance is uncanny!

The Batshit Insane Griselda

But the ones that related to the notes themselves were funnier to a wider audience. Here my doodle of Chaucer’s Clerk’s ‘Patient Griselda’ is drawn with an arrow next to ‘The ‘patient’ Griselda. and by patient we mean batshit insane‘.

Seriously. Look up the story of Patient Griselda if you don’t believe me on that one. Above her, stick figures of Chaucer’s Friar and Summoner declare their manliness with a masculine fist-bump. Because they are Men. And if you’re wondering why the words are green, this was an organisational tool that worked fairly well for me; different coloured inks for different classes. Genius.

A Bell-Ringing Accident

Stick Figure Bystander: Oh no! There’s been a terrible BELL-RINGING accident!

There’s an even mix of relevant and irrelevant though; hence the rabbit and cat fighting over a cupcake above the stick-figures describing one medieval scholar’s commentary on the 5th commandment. Funnily enough I remember that context exactly–in the commentary the writer was saying who accidentally killing someone should not be considered breaking the 5th commandment (Thou Shalt Not Kill), and the example he used for this was if someone rung a bell, and in doing so knocked the bell off it’s hook where it fell on someone’s head and killed them.

And my seminar group was like: “How often did that happen in the Middle Ages!?”

Bunnies Martyr Early Saint

CAPTION: An early saint. Died of fatal bunny wounds.

Still, the cute little drawings could help being relevant too, as I here reminded myself that early saints often had messy and violent martyrdoms by having one torn apart by rabid bunnies. What can I say? It was a harsh time to live in.

Tune in tomorrow for the final installment; doodles I doodle at work; with a special surprise of specialness for your enjoyment!

An Gallerie of Doodles: Part I

Okay, so I’m running out of ideas. That’s pretty much always the case with me though, and when I run out of ideas, I doodle. What follows over the next three days will be a showcasing of some of the… doodliest of my doodles, culminating in a special surprise on the final day.

(it’s not that special)

We begin with a selection from my A Level History notebook; chosen because that’s what I went on to do at Uni. I was going to put them all together in a big MS Paint collage, but then I figured, ‘hey, I can’t be bothered to do that!’ and so the hilarious doodles below are presented individually so you can appreciate the full wit or lack thereof of each one.

Enjoy the cartoons of Henry VII being haunted by the mutilated ghost of Richard III, there were many more than I’m showing here!

The Diet of Worms

Geddit? Cos ‘diet’ is what people eat… but it’s also a kind of parliament-type-thingy? And Worms is a place… but also a creepy-crawly thing? Ya geddit?

The Haunting of Haz 7

Richard III: Oooooh! Ooooooh! Nobody likes yoooou!

Henry VII: Go away, Richard.

Onlookers: Who’s he talking to?

I left in enough of the next page for you to see a flower–that’s what most of the doodles you’d come across in my notebook are of; flowers, stars, suns, hearts… just things that are easy to draw when you have nothing to write even when you really want to.

The League of tORgO

A German Prince(?): I said League of Torgau, not Torgo!

It’s another pun, but this one’s only funny if you’re familiar with both the German Reformation and Mystery Science Theater 3000, which I’m guessing amount to about three people in the universe.

No Witty Title Available

Also, butterflies. And some weird fucking face on a dome on wheels.

Inheritence Tax

The illustrations of my youth also served to remind me what happened in history… even though it would have been far more efficient to just read the text, like this little cartoon about Henry VII’s inheritance taxes.

Henry VII: That’ll teach you to inherit land!

A Noble: Oh yeah, I’m really not going to rebel now!

Richard III: It’s their own fault for betraying me.

Sacking Rome

Notes: Charlie [Emperor Charles of the Holy Roman Empire] sacks Rome.

Charles: Rome, you’re fired!

Because puns are the highest form of humour.

Dissolving the Monasteries

… and of course we moved on from Henry VII to Henry VIII eventually…

Henry VIII: We shall dissolve the monasteries… With HYDROCHLORIC ACID! HA HA HA HA HA!

Richard III: I miss Henry VII…

Tune in tomorrow, where the story of doodles continues… to not really be a story or anything. Just doodles. And post your own while you’re at it, they’re the modern day manuscript illuminations!

(In the same way Twilight is the modern day A Tale of Two Cities, that is)

Poem (and Doodle): Hikikomori

Well, it’s another short poem from me, I’m coughing them up while I prepare for this year’s Halloween treat (while also preparing for NaNo), and this one comes from a notebook next to a note that says ‘Revamp ‘Hikikomori’ so it doesn’t sound so dumb‘. The original poem was longer, and did sound pretty dumb, but the more time I spend a-poeming the less dumb my poems sound. To me, anyway, I’m sure they sound plenty dumb to the rest of humanity, lol.

N.B.: ‘Hikikomori’ is a Japanese term that describes a certain type of reclusive shut-in, and at one point came very close to describing me. For this piece I’ve filled up my pretentiousness-quota by referring to a poem by Tennyson; no prizes for guessing which one. Enjoy. 😉

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HIKIKOMORI

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The reflection of the view outside my window serves me fine;

For my masterpiece, one colour will suffice.

Indeed, these days the curtains take the brunt of the sunshine–

Protect me from the doom within the ice.

Thus in my skin I harden into stone;

An island, suited for a writer’s home.

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Hikkikomori

Rainbow Snail Initials and Another Poem

Initials in Snails

Because who doesn’t end up writing their initials in snails after a while, am I right!?

[It’s R.N.S.I., for those of you who were going to point out what a bad artist I am]

As for the poem I threw together while trying to think of something to write while I was at work and should have been working (complete with pretentious font-changes accentuating the words… and just overall pretentiousness) …

Writer's Block

In case the image is difficult to read:

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Writer’s Block

*

The opposite page is still blank.

Loop your florid lines of ink all you like;

It’s been blank the whole time.

You scour your Tabula Rasa,

And struggle to make it rhyme.

*

*slow claps self* …damn, I hate poetry! One of these days I’m going to write a poem about it…