Thursday, December 15, 2011

Miscellaneous Prose

“I’ve got his,” she said to the girl at the register, and placed the drinks on the counter. “He’s a regular. It’s three bucks, and he never takes his change. Sixteen ounce chai and an ice water, not too much ice?”

“Well obviously, but is the chai hot or cold—that’s the real question” the two-dollar tipper replied, with a cocked eyebrow and a crooked grin that revealed a couple of even more crooked teeth.

Sara faked deep thought and responded, “Well, it’s Thursday, which would indicate cold, but it’s misting outside, so I’d say hot, although it is the ninth, isn’t it? And you seem to have some absurd fascination with the number nine, and you got a cold one yesterday, so…”

“So which did you give me today?”

“Look at the cup. Definitely hot, with a bit of extra foam, but not so much that there’s only a shot of chai underneath a cup full of bubbles. Don’t you hate it when they do that?”

“Hot? You gave me a hot chai? And I was so hoping for cold. I’ve been looking forward to a cold chai all morning, and you made it hot?” He sighed with mock despair, and continued, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to reclaim my two-dollar tip from the very lovely—although rather confused—girl who’s still trying to figure out which button to push. New, are you, Gorgeous? About a week?”

Sara interrupted the half-formulated answer, “Oh, ignore him Hannah, he flirts with everyone. But I don’t think he’s ever really forgiven me for going and getting married to someone else, have you?”

“Forgiven you? When you give me a hot chai even though I wanted it cold? When you find fault with my brown mare and won’t buy my high flier?”

“And what’s that from?”

With a deeply injured air he responded, “Sense and Sensibility, the Emma Thompson one. Although that would make you Colonel Brandon. You might look good in a giant, floppy hat. Do you by any chance play piano?”

“Wait—isn’t Willoughby the one that says that?”

“You do know it—I’m impressed." He grinned. "You know I’ll never forgive you now, don't you? Isn’t your husband tall? So terrible: already a shortage of short girls for me to choose from, and then you go and marry some six foot two behemoth. It’s not natural; you obviously were intended to marry someone who was right around five six or seven. God will judge you for your rebellion. Unless Hannah there is wearing three inch heels.” Peering over the counter, “No chance of that is there, Freckles?”

The white skin of her face blending into her rusted hair, Hannah assured him that her shoes had no heels at all.

He sadly sighed. “And a red-head, too. Tragic.”

“Oh, go sit down and read your book. I’ll take my break in twenty minutes.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Done With This Semester

Epistle to Professor Victoria Arthur

A grade! My Teacher, leave all C’s and D’s
To trochees failed, or iambs that don’t please.
But first, since school demanded that I pay
Attention, you now have to read; I’ll pray.
Must I explain the words that soon you’ll see?
Why not. The final that was given me
Should demonstrate quite simply that I’ve learned:
Within the past four fortnights, have I earned
An A? A B? Or have my words, so frail,
So weak, so wrong, condemned me now to fail?
For learned I’m not, but have, for this next line
Does not have ten dull words, but only nine
(Although the one before it had one more).
The question, I suppose, is do they bore?
It’s hard for me to say; I’ll let you choose
For whether I say yea or nay I lose,
For if of God above and man below
Naught can be reasoned but from that we know,
I fear that I know naught. My reas’ning then
Had better far be bowed to other men,
Or even women, as the case may be.
But bore or no, my final is but three
Small poems. To justify myself unto The Man:
It took forever to make sure they’d scan.

It’s really not complex: I imitate
An author from each “age” that I would rate
As best in style, skill or simply fun:
An Irish monk, A. Pope and Satan won
(And if the Cath’lic monk can’t seem to cope
I’m sure he’ll damn the devil to the Pope).

And, now that that’s been said, I think I’m done;
Though with the wiser dead, I’ve just begun.

Blessings, and sincerest thanks. Class was great.

Jesse A. Broussard

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beowulf, Finalish Form

Herein To the Mead-Wench Words are Writ

My lady list, from my word-hoard hear
Of the spear-armed Dane, Scyld Scefing’s son,
Of Scandian shores the savior strong,
Swinger of swords whose shield shall not shatter,
The breast of my boat beats the whale-road white,
The tale of my triumphs the storm riders sing:
How the Wyrd Wielder Wise has clothed me with strength,
The Slinger of Seas that enfold the fair fields
Has hallowed my heart and my sword stained with gore.
A Wielder of Wonders, a Welkin-warrior,
A ring-giver great, weregild winner:
My enemies mighty my arm has hewn down,
My flag home a haven, my borders unbattled,
My mead freely flows and well-roasted the meat
In the hall of my fathers. There grow faithful sons;
Liegemen are loyal, the bane of my foes,
But bane of the sea wyrm, bane of the land wyrm,
The sky wyrm’s bane is the blessed Bear.
Bone cage of demons my sword split assunder
And heart of Hrothgar by my battle-boast hoisted:
That Heorothealed would be of the kin of Cain,
That house wild wight haunted, high on the hill.

Night walker was wary, dread death-dealer doughty,
Wan under welkin was the whelp of Cain.
Lief was he my liege to kill, my thane he lifted his maw unto,
Rent his bone-cage, blood ran rivers,
Swallowed him whole, even head and hands.
But my hand grasped him grim, my fingers fast held him—
No battle brand bore I, no war weapon wielded,
Yet still his soul stole I, his blood did I spill,
But deeds of might were far from finished.
Grendel’s arm I hoisted high, his hand on Heorot
A welcome sign was made. But he was naught to what was next;
The viler, viscious dam, the water wight, the elfin evil.
Beneath the abyss she dwelt, deep under the depths,
But swam I swift to her home, the hell-born hoard,
And fought her with a sword that there I found,
A mighty blade that hacked her hide, her life blood freed,
And with her perished, the greatest of its deeds done at death.

So now I stand here, and what ask you of me,
A slayer of demons, of dragons death-dealer?
Mightiest of men, king over coasts?
Full twenty men’s might in each of my hands,
And this is the task you are asking of me?
“Tell you what I’ve learned in class this semester?”

Where be the brood of Cain?
Where the enemies that plague thee?
Where the house that’s haunted? Where the demon spawn?
Is there no dragon in this domain? No hell-born beast?
No task worthy of my prowess? No death walking in darkness?
Ask not of my aid in this trifling task,
This womanish work, this infant’s assignment.

My lady noble: my flagon fill, my mead let flow—
A dearth of beasts must be in this land
For my platter’s bottom I now perceive—
Mayhap another cow to his maker and our meat-board
Might be sent. And I? My sword I shall sharpen
And of the sea-born serpents that slew I Nine—Nine!
Of the tally of ten my tale lacks but one—
Of the sea-born serpents that slew I nine
In the years bygone shall I speak to thee.

And a Lewis-Flavored Milton, Wrecked by Me

The Dyscorses of Satan and Other Fallen Beings, Recorded Upon Hys (Satan’s) Dyscouery of God Hauing Asyned Unto Mere, Mortal, Fallen Man Thys Fynal Asynment. Wryten in Unrhymed Iambic Pentameter as a Fool’s Attempt to Imitate John Milton, The Endyng Being Signyfide by the Introduction of a Septametrycal Fynal Lyne.

(Spelling has been modernized for the 2011 ed.)

Satan to the Fallen Host:
My Rebel Angels, down-cast, desolate,
Imprisoned deep within this frozen hell,
Removed from life and light by rage of Him
‘Gainst whom no power in heaven, earth or sea
Has yet His iron throne from Highest Heights
Thrown down, or rent the scepter from His hand;
‘Gainst whom nine nights, nine days we strove and failed
To win; and from Whose wrath we now so fain
Would flee, were there a realm in heaven, earth or sea
Wherein we from his Adamantine rage
Would loosed be. In vain. For I alone
Am second to Him to Whom no second else
Be known; am fire enfolding fire, Tenth
Hierarch, am Ahriman, The Morning’s Son,
And even I this end couldst not foresee.
But wiser I have grown, and if from bliss
We banned forever be, then let us
Now remove from Him who us removed
From where we fain would be. If unto earth
He us has cast, then we shall make it ours.
But now, this moment gather farther from
That scarlet city where the God that knows
Not ruth still mocks the broken beings that
Pray round his iron throne. Now come: for from
This day eternal war we shall begin
With that Almighty Foe and all His works.
Immortal our revenge: our yearning hate
Of Him and all He loves shall no end slake.

Now first for men—those vicious fools whose throats
Can bark for slaughter, cannot sing—that He
More foolish still is rumored more than life
To love (long since we cast them down to deep
Rebellion; hate. Indeed: to love the hate
Of Love Himself we taught him. Her? Deceived;
Both far have fallen. Now the fires of hell
Their feet shall singe, and soon their souls shall flame).

But now, today, what can we do? What war?
What plague? What cup hold we? What wine of wanton
Lust to wet their lips? What envy, strife,
Or drunken deep debauch shall fit our need?
What height of pride, or fool’s abyss, to what
Vile end shall man be flung? The battle’s filth
And strain? The bomb, the falling death? The moon,
A pallid green to break his worthless mind?
I fear that war will fail: Cuchulain’s bride is death;
No more shall Roland’s sword hew helm and bone,
And Arthur sleeps far hence in Avalon
While Helen’s eyes and Iseult’s lips are dust,
And dust the shoulders and the breasts of snow.
No, no war can kill all men: some win.
The plague is past, their God gave them a cure.
But, license, lust and lech’ry well we use,
And envy Cr'esus killed and killeth still
While strife lays low the hero’s home: no man
His bride well understands; far less his seed.
Still pride and folly walk as lovers lie:
Soft, intricate, entwined their limbs and lips.

But more we need—a deeper depth to delve,
A height that’s higher yet from which to fall
And then mankind will fully finished be—
And so we turn at last to lethargy:
The student’s bane—the final’s due today,
And last night Phil and Cait took John “Bones” Jones
And then his lethal elbow did to foolish,
Lazy Jesse introduce (till morning
Was at five, the hill with frost lay slain;
No slug was on the thorn, and God His wrath
Revealed). And now what hope has man? To death!
Destruction! Madness! All for naught! His endless
Labour lost! A final he shall fail
From lack of sleep (and for we wicked? Rest.)
Upon his bed he now does fling his form,
And in a heap his clothes about his fallen frame shall lie.

Wodehousian Fun