Friday, April 9, 2010

Sour Milk

Merry is the marionette,
almost a miniature man, who finds
his wires new-severed do flap
where once strum-tight they dictated
the when to fall octopus-limp
or to dance a sprightly jig
accompanied by silly jug tunes
he never even liked.

Stringlessness comes at a price.
On disjointed steps, Merry
would he have to make his own way
as an unprovided walker.
He sets out, philosophical
tomes in hand, for the wooded
fringes where a brook gurgles
and he'll grapple with consequence.

"I have a goodly appetite,"
Merry remarks. "I'll attack
these meaty words with fork and knife."
But the ideas do stew
and uncomfortably stowed
between Being and Nothingness,
Merry wonders whether freedom is
not what he bargained for.

Just then he's startled by the tug
of wires gone taut, and caught up
by the dangle of an enormous
eagle, its talons eagerly
trying to untangle the strings
of a new play thing. Merry
might have wept, but who could cry
over the spilling of sour milk?

6 comments:

Jenny Enochsson said...

Your reference to fairy tale/childrens' culture adds a great surrealistic dimension. "Merry" comes across as an extremely complex figure!

A brilliant theme is indeed "between Being and Nothingness".

Ande said...

This was a real” weekend poem” (if that’s the right word for it); I needed time to fully grasp its ways. For each time I read it I got a sense of reward; the brilliant texture, the complexity and the humor ensured that.
Well done!

Francis Scudellari said...

Thanks Jenny & Ande. I've been listening to a dramatic reading of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and I'm sure that's affecting my work.

Megan Duffy said...

I like the syntax here. Good stuff.

And I have always wanted to write about puppets and marionettes. I just finished reading The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. One of the characters is master puppeteer. Byatt writes that marionettes make "human movement less human." So interesting.

PO Johnson said...

I love the feel and richness of your poems. Thank you.

Francis Scudellari said...

@Megan Thanks. I'll have to check out Byatt. In some ways, I guess marionettes were the precursors to robots, but with visible strings.

@PO Thanks so much. Having such a receptive audience keeps me chugging along.