To A Literary Sister on Her Birthday
Selections From Childe Laura's Request
Oh Sister, how I love to chat with thee
Within this grand volume of song and prose
That you so kindly did bequeath to me:
I hear your thoughts flit about these leaves,
Your pencil's impression remains--it throws
Some light my way at stanza forty-two,
Gets a laugh at fifty-three, but some No's!
We often disagree. Yet when all's through
Who can I thank for insight, dear Sister? Just you.
Dear, is it not clear and apparent yet?
Yes, I compose these lines only in lieu
Of reading CHP. The goal's not met,
I must discern this: from whose point of view
Is the voice in Canto III? Is it true,
O wise, green-eyed goddess: "Here Byron, here Childe?"
Do not fail me, for my fate lies with you;
Escape from this scheme with which I'm beguiled
Can only spring from those notes I know you've filed.
Happy Birthday, my beloved Sister,
Yes, belated, but O! Can you not see?
My brain is but a festering blister
Because of Byron, who you gave to me.
True, an easier read tis Canto III,
But why not send a bundle, through the post,
Of your key notes? Please dear, make me privy
So that my G.P.A. will let me coast
And together my G.R.E. scores we can toast.
Driven to Distraction Laura MacAdam
The screams of a shivering and starving
sonnet travel through thin walls,
but die before I reach the door--
Cruel Byron would not let me leave.
He is no gentleman, I'll tell you that;
he shouts and stomps and storms across my floor,
demanding that I look, that I know
what his journey was all about.
And there sits poor Humphry Clinker,
abandoned, but unaware--he is too polite and old,
and his letters too quiet for me to try to read
while Byron boasts on one side,
and on the other Espa¤ol snickers at my attempt to speak,
taunting my ears with a multisyllabic babble
of tenses past and imperfect, drowning
my protestations in a sea of articles
defiantly floating across a foreign page.
Yet my own tongue betrays me too,
stumbling over objects, clauses, and adverbial nouns,
then shocking me senseless with troublesome verbs.
All the while my phone stays silent,
not bringing distant voices to relieve my ear.
But a few words on the wire would ease my heart
and strengthen my desire to don my helmet,
assemble my armor, and wield my sword
against the gruesome Gre-Devil lurking up ahead.
To hear Love's voice stretch across the ocean
would far outweigh the sadistic pleasure
of shutting Lord B out forever--would delight me
more than seeing in Red "A+ Muy Bien!"
If my love spoke to me today
I'd easily traverse that not expeditious route
of Humphry and his pals. If love requested a reply, be
my tortured tongue would glide,
cases objective or nominative pushed aside
--I care not whether it's he & I, me & him, he & me--
Grammar be gone!
For when Love speaks, all I hear is "us,"
all I need is "we."