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.

*~*~*

H.M.S. Overly Verbose

*~*~*

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

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Sheep Knitting in Top Hat

Psst! I painted this plate, guys–praise me for it!

Sheep in Top Hat Knitting

Every year the Workshop I work for goes down to London for a ceramic-painting Christmas outing; and this was the sweetest of the fruits of my labours. A little ‘meh’ next to the fruits of the professional artists I work for, but my Mum liked it, and at the end of the day that’s about as much as I can hope for all that matters. 😀

Seriously though, none of the pens they had wanted to work for me; it was so frustrating! Anyway, Happy Bah Humbug to both my religious followers, and anyone else who happens by–hope to be giving you all a short story for the new year!

The NaNoWriMo of Argon

https://i2.wp.com/d1lj9l30x2igqs.cloudfront.net/nano-2013/files/2015/11/NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner.jpg

As the image above is worth a thousand words, and I no longer have to keep up my daily wordcount by writing those thousand words, I shall return to fanfiction my numerous awe-inspiring original projects presently, after leaving my dear followers with an account of my experience of this fearsome month, written in the style of Jim Theis’ ‘The Eye of Argon‘ (http://ansible.uk/misc/eyeargon.html)

(I take no responsibility for anyone who may die laughing in reading ‘The Eye of Argon‘. Several of my barbarian comrades came very close)

*~*~*

The swirling pools of boiling gold that formed the scarlet orb, named ‘sun’ by some, withdrew its coils of heated shimmer in terror at the approaching dusk. Brave-hearted Rachelignr, the unsung Englisholian writer of barbarian fame bent the glistening sinews of her fleshy, manipulative fingers over the taunting keys of her crepuscular laptop, dulled and catastrophic thoughts abuzz with the permutations of thought related to her tangled, twisted, aggrogonious novel that lurked in the dingy shadows of her sinister and sacreligious id and ego.

“Mrifk!” she ejaculated, bustily–blubbering clusters of uncompassionate letters streaming like wisps of the most elegantly spun silk of the horned tarantulas that live craftily, luring naive prey to grotesque ends in the darkest corners of the Englisholian empire. “Thou NaNoWriMo approaches, wretch! Accept the defenestrating chaos of despair!”

Though she was, for many a day, ahead of the steep incline that set points–not arbitrary, but cunningly contrived along a parallel point–the creeping arms of sallow failure, grim and clammy in their mocking swamp of death contrived emporiously to wrap around her soft and lifeless limbs and guarantee her a place among her many slain comrades, strewn about the frigid haunts of the local CB2 Bistro, their entrails lain in pools of crimson gore.

In such a way did the teaming swarms of rainbow powdered fluff, efulgent with their horde of glassy eyes, pitch pupils jangling back and forth like the fair maiden Carthena’s luscious breasts in the arms of her barbarian lover, the unstoppable army of Plot Bunnies bore their mouth-knives, eager to bite into blood-gorged flesh.

“Thou shalt ne’er prevail, slut!” they cackled; their shrill and mincing voices legion in the unseen glow of the cerulean laptop.

Not cowed by their dancing tongues of prophesied doom, Rachelignr bashed her swollen digits along the malicious letter-makers and brought forth words an infinite amount of monkeys may very well have secreted with their mischievous ways.

“Away with thee!” she bellowed, lungs shaking, bosoms heaving, “Thou verminous rejections of Hell; thou shalt all taste death in the jaws of the violet oblong of completion!”

“Alack!” shrieked the mirthful lepus scourge, felt arms cast to the deaf ears of their abominable sky-gods. “Your slothful procrastination was orchestrated all along, reserving your strength for a final assault!”

“Aye,” agreed Rachelignr, “And may these fifty-two thousand words avenge the gnashing souls of my fallen, noble brethren.”

Exploding into explosions of pastel fibres the horde was brought to naught; the novel validated, and Rachelignr’s honour was avenged as airborne blobs of dead bunny devastation thickened the air.

“Rest in peace, Grignr,” she sighed.

And with that, the worthy barbarian and her overlarge chest of magnificent breastage departed NaNoWriMo victorious.

*~*~*

THE END

(OR IS IT!?)

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!)

*~*~*

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.

*~*~*

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!

Missing Word Stories: Procrastinations

Well, what else are you going to do when you’re stuck in AS English Lit but write up a one-page synopsis of the text you’re studying, leave some words out and ask your friend to fill them in with only the type of the word you’re looking for for her to go on? I obviously couldn’t think of anything, and that’s why the aptly named ‘Procrastinations‘ was created, like Eve from Adam, out of the bones of Brian Friel’s ‘Translations‘.

https://i0.wp.com/d.gr-assets.com/books/1417605514l/859500.jpg

(which you’ve probably never heard of, but hey–I only have a limited number of these things to work with, and for obvious reasons this one was on my mind at the time; however much I wished it wasn’t. This version is at least a lot less miserable than the original.)

Procrastinations’ was almost certainly done in 2007, so a couple of years later than my previous stories, and with a different friend filling in the words, which you can probably guess from the early use of the word ‘penis’.

Also different is the illustration; which I did just now since I clearly couldn’t be bothered to do one eight years ago, and is therefore a vast improvement on those of my fifteen-year-old self…

Oh my god. I’ve just realised it’s been ten years since I was fifteen. NOOOOOOOOOOOO–I’m so OLD!

Procrastinations

In the brand new illustration spoken of before, we see the Irish witch doctor Hugh gazing with disapproval at his son Grayson Peg and his friend Yolland of the evil land of Rotherham (a name-replacement that you can either cringe or laugh at these days depending on how morbid your sense of humour is) as they rename the ancient Irish cities of ‘Glasgow’, ‘Mars’ and ‘Suffolk’ with more ‘Rotherham-ic’ appellations, on a masterfully drawn outline of the island. It’s vaguely recognisable as Ireland and everything.

Procrastinations Illustrated

There you have it. I sure did write a blog post just now, didn’t I? Productivity FTW, as they say.

Purple Vampire Sheep

I suck at blogging, (and everything else) during the summer, so here’s a drawing of a purple vampire sheep I did with my five-year-old cousin’s coloured crayons at my grandmother’s 80th birthday party earlier today–to tide you all over until I come up with something intelligent again.

Not that this is that much less intelligent than my usual fare, but still…

Purple Vampire Sheep

There you have it. Total. Masterpiece. 😉