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Saturday 23 May 2009

Body Swap

(The result of me relaxing a day or two and reverting to type.)

Body Swap

He was The Lord of Lowering, and she
The Witch of West Wherever,
an amorous bird of prey
that Marvell might have championed.
Without quite meaning it,
she held him in her thrall.

Nurturing a garden,
she'd sentence plants to die.
Erotic joy - but not its sister,
sexual pleasure - was
a bounty of her voice,
her presence and her touch.
Her fragrance spray gave
only evil's odour.
Babies cried at her approach,
dog's growled and cattle fled,

And when at last she let 
him slink into her bed,
it had more strings attached, he found,
than a macramé web.

Macramé was her hobby,
she used its skills to hobble him
in tight string garments that she'd tie
with her own brand of love.
By that she branded him.

Of whips, she'd two:
one short and red,
the other black and long,
a rat's tail, tapering
towards the business end.
She'd crack them when the time had come 
for him to shake his feathers out and take
on board some new persona 
to appease her passing whim:
a child perhaps, a servant, horse, 
an idiot or dog. She'd crack 
them to more purpose though,
when playful, disappointed, vexed
or passionate. And doubly so
for disrespecting Tortoise-shell
her one familiar and his bête noir.
(And black it was, in all but name.).

The day came when their morning trot
descended into farce. He bucked
and threw her from his back.
His punishment: to be confined
a single night in her tin trunk
with Tortoise-shell.
(For no amount of grovelling,
boot licking, being spanked
could possibly atone
or put the matter right.)
She saw it as a sign 
that he was slipping from her power.
It happened on the very day 
that Tortoise-shell, to her delight
and great astonishment,
seduced her - twice.

All night she walked around the trunk
in widdershins, intoning
from her mother's book,
the poem, Migrant Soul.

At daybeak she unlocked the trunk.
He stepped out free as air
and purring slightly, while the cat,
its face and body badly scratched,
hissed and spat between the knots
and tangled strands of its string suit.

I can't believe you thought I'd leave you without a proper poem! Here's the Andrew Marvell Poem from which I took my reference.

To his coy mistress

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Should'st rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain, I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow ;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze ;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest ;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart ;
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear

Time's winged chariot hurrying near ;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honor turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust :
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.

Now, therefore, while the youthful hue

Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life :
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.


Jinksy said...

A Tall Tale or a Tall Tail, your poem - can't decide which - or witch - but I did enjoy it. Purrrrrr

Dave King said...

JinksyThanks a lot for that. Good to know its received in the spirit in which it was posted!

Unknown said...

You are a clever man Dave and make my mind work! Marvell's poem is beautiful.

Lucy said...

What an extraordinary, quirky and, I must say, slightly sinister take on it...

Much fun!

Rosaria Williams said...

Uh? I trudged through the first one, not intrigued but irritated; then skipped happily tothe next, saw the parallel, and returned to appreciate the modernized parable.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dave - my mother had a good singing voice - deep contralto. Her idol was Dame Clara Butt (that dates me, that I remember her!) and one of the songs which Clara Butt sang was my mother's favourite "The Enchantress" - I still know it off by heart - and your poem so reminded me of it. As usual it is a joy to come to your blog and always food for thought.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I.ve just read your comment on my comment on your last post (this gets tedious!) and now I have got to go away and ponder on the question you pose playwrights! I'll say this for you, Dave - you certainly keep my brain active.

Karen said...

Dave - Your poem is very intriguing - clever. As to Marvell? I think he deserves what he gets!

Aniket Thakkar said...

Your wits shined throughout the piece. Much fun.

Glad you posted the reference too. :)

Conda Douglas said...

My, my Dave, I agree with all the above and need to add that you find the correct and most apt illustrations for poems--must be your artistic side!

Dave King said...

Derrick Thanks for that, but I think it must have been Marvell who made your mind work... sure you're not confusing the two?

Lucy Only slightly sinister? Thanks anyway.

lakeviewer I didn't think it would be everyone's cup of tea, but you do me proud at the finish. Thanks.

The Weaver of Grass I do actually remember Dame Clara Butt, she was a great favourite of my dad. I must confess I don't recall The Enchantress, though. I shall try to find the lyrics on the web. As to your second comment, I agree: it begins to get a bit like the girl who danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with The Prince of Wales.Karen Thanks for my bit. Ever so slightly ambiguous, though, the Marvell comment.

Aniket Ooooooooer, should I be pleased about that. Glad you found it fun, though.

Conda I must confess that I was quite pleased with that particular image. Thanks Conda.

Diya said...

We had this poem in our course this semester...! and I loved studying it. :)bdw, your and mine blog templates are the same :)

The lady in Red said...

Dear Dave, very intriguing.Your writing amazes me more and more.
Best wishes and have a nice week,

Ronda Laveen said...

Body Swap was twistedly fun!

"Babies cried at her approach,
dog's growled and cattle fled"...sounds like my boss.

Barry said...

I like the playful side of you Dave!

And somewhere up there I think Marvell has a rather large smile on his face.

And his housekeeper is laughing outright!!

Dave King said...

DiyaWelcome to my blog, and thanks for commenting - great tastes choose alike - or something?

The Lady in Red Thanks for the compliment and the good wishes, which I return.

Ronda Does that mean you have twisted fun with your boss?

Barry It was his housekeeper I was concerned about. Thanks for that.

Raj said...

75 and still singing...2 gud to be true...lovely poem thou...read the 1st one...liked the parts of it that i did understand..

Carl said...

Dave - As always you make me shift my brain ito a higher gear when I read your blog... and on so many wide ranging topics and thoughts.


Jeanne Estridge said...

The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.

Reminds me of something Dorothy Parker might have written.

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Fun and interesting reads, both!

I am reading John Updike's "Widows of Eastwick," a long-delayed sequel to "witches of Eastwick." (Not to be confused with the horrid movie.) I'm submersed in magic and ready to receive your poem!

Renee said...

Oh no Dave the proper poem was the first one and I also loved the picture with it.


Renee xoxo

Dave King said...

ScarletTd1ar1es Welcome to my blog. More than that I cannot ask. Much thanks for stopping by to comment.

Carl I'm not sure whether you're giving me an inferiority complesx or a superiority one, but thanks anyway. (Actually, I've had both of them for a very long while.)

Jeanne I wonder...

Cecil/DreamCreateRepeat I've been meaning to read The "Widows". Must get around to it.

Renee Good of you to say it. Thanks greatly.

A Cuban In London said...

I enjoyed it because it has a devilish, inner side to it. I will have to read it again. There are ideas swarming about my head and I can't quite put them in order. Or should I?

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Carl said...

I assure you Dave... I was trying to compliment you!


Lucy Lopez said...

"Macramé was her hobby,
she used its skills to hobble him
in tight string garments that she'd tie
with her own brand of love.
By that she branded him."

I don't know why,
but this was the bit that brought the first smile
and kept it there for quite a while...

(something about macrame and hobbling I think ;))

mmm...the rhymes have found me...:)

Thanks for stopping by Dave and for your encouraging comment. I love that picture with Andrew Marvell's poem...among other things here...:)

Dave King said...

A Cuban in London Sounds a bit like me when I wrote it!

Carl I did actually take it that way - just the modest side of me coming out. Thanks Carl.

Lucy Welcome to the blog and many thanks for your response. Much appreciated.

Apologies to all three for the delay in responding - those pesky anti-virus problems.