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Raven Redux

October 30, 2012 43 comments

Recycled for Halloween 2012

 

One of my all-time favorite poems is Poe’s The Raven, but let’s face it, at 1086 words it is way too long.  In today’s frenetic world, who has the time to read such things. So, in the interest of making it more accessible to the schedule-impaired, and with all due respect to the original, I have undertaken a slight edit.  Here is my 68 word version of the classic.

 

Lonely dude about to snore

Hears a knock upon his door

What is there? A talking bird!

All it knows is one damn word


Conversation is a bore

All it says is “nevermore”

Asks about his long lost flame

Lenore, the lovely lady’s name


Bird provides no help at all

“Nevermore,” it’s single call

Lonely dude goes raving mad

Bird just sits there.  Bird is bad



Linked to One Shot Wednesday.

The Twenty Year Poem

February 27, 2011 4 comments

The creative process is so unpredictable.  Some things seem to almost write themselves while others take…well, forever!  I have three, twenty-year poems.  I have literally been working on them that long. I like the concept in each, but have been unable to pull off the execution.  Usually it is only a line or two that I can’t get just right.  I don’t think about these projects that much, but occasionally I’ll pull one of them up and try to work it out.  It’s an epic battle…and, to this point, an epic fail!

One of these is particularly thorny.  Like I said, I like its offbeat concept: A paranoid guy is convinced that as he watches a certain network news anchor, the anchor is watching back through the TV. It starts like this:

 

Now if I’m watching quiz shows

Or some “soaper” on the tube

I’m often in my skivvies

Looking every bit the rube

 

But when the Evening News comes on

It’s quite a different scene

My face is cleanly shaven

And my clothes are pressed and clean

 

My living room is spotless

As I know it has to be

‘Cause as I watch Dan Rather

I know he’s watching me

 

So, this sets the premise, meter, and rhyme scheme.  The next few stanzas expand upon the theme and work the transition to the final punch line.  The Dan Rather line is repeated every third stanza. I’ve got the punch line nailed, but the transition is a bit wobbly…has been for two decades now.

The thing is…now I have another problem.  In the intervening decades, Dan Rather has retired, morphing from a prominent to obscure reference. No one under forty would know who I was talking about.  At first, it was no problem, because Tom Brokaw was still active and had the requisite three-syllable name.  But, time wore on and Tom retired, leaving me with three unacceptable, four-syllabic news anchors:  Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, and Brian Williams. That one extra syllable blows up the entire thing.

So, now I have to not only solve the, here-to-fore unsolvable, wobbly transition, but also must wait for one of the networks to hire a three-syllabic news anchor!  My twenty year poem is looking like a thirty year poem. I’m going to beat this thing someday…I swear.

Do any of you have a similar experience,  or do you do the healthy thing and just hit the delete button?