Archive | April, 2010

A Return To Form

30 Apr

First post in quite a long stretch…what better way to get back into the swing of things than with pure, unadulterated POETRY.

Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then we shall begin.

A Censored Limerick by Sian

There once was a man called -censored-
He had quite an ugly, mean -censored-
He said to be quiet,
Or leave in a riot,
So we did, he got hit with a -censored-

Starts With H

Hook was a pirate,
He sailed the seas,
But his crew was all vermin
And covered with fleas.

He set out to rid them
Of those parasites,
But whatever he tried,
Just wouldn’t work right.

So he gave up on piracy,
And what he did next,
Was theorized
F equals minus K X.

Quantum; An Acrostic

Q is for questions I don’t want to answer,
U is unpleasant, like kittens with cancer,
A is for accurate, awesome and aardvark,
N is for night, when it tends to get dark,
T is for terrible, just how I feel,
U is ‘unagi’, Japanese for ‘eel’,
M is for madness, a most mournful state,
I wish class would end so we could eat cake.

Ee Ee Ee

Molecules go ‘ee ee ee’,
This makes little sense to me,
If their sound I had to guess,
MGMT would suit the best.

Ee Ee Ee Ee by Sian

Oh lecturer, listen to me
When I say to you that we
We’re not in year four,
We do know much more
Than things that go “ee ee ee ee”

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Moep

15 Apr

Some words are more fun backwards, like ‘Oblong’.

Gnolbo.

I need to write a poem for English, and I really have no idea where to begin. I think it’s easy for a poem to become pretentious, so usually my poetry is deliberately self-aware or nonsensical to cancel that out.

But I’ve used up my nonsense piece in English, and I feel compelled to write something a little more serious. Sigh.

So, does anyone have any ideas as to what I should write a poem about? I’m thinking of doing a ballad…

Thursday the Seventeenth

4 Apr

Thursday the Seventeenth

Mr Pennant-Cord was thrilled to have survived Thursday the Seventeenth. For a month and a half, he had been planning a seminar on the Problem Solving Stratagem, and he had watched this Thursday draw nearer and nearer on his calendar with increasing dread. Public speaking was by no means one of Mr Pennant-Cord’s favourite activities. It brought him out in sweats, shivers, and hiccups.

As far as he was concerned, the world was certain to end on Thursday the Seventeenth. But he’d given his presentation and only hiccupped twice. He had been applauded, he had smiled modestly, and had most definitely conveyed to his colleagues the importance of a step-by-step approach to problem solving. He had even been named by his co-workers as the ‘problem solving expert’. The dark patches of nervous sweat on his tweed jacket were drying, and he was nearly home. His SUV was whirring along nicely towards the promise of a delicious pot-roast prepared by his charming wife.

As Mr Pennant-Cord flicked his indicator in preparation to turn off the narrow country road and into his street, he heard a crunching noise. Mr Pennant-Cord swore loudly, and pulled the steering wheel violently to the left. His world tipped upside-down. He tumbled once, only vaguely aware of the huge sound around him. Everything was grey like the upholstery, then black like the dashboard, then red like whatever it was that was running from his forehead, then blue as a window flashed into view. It was a gorgeous day, he thought, before realising how utterly ridiculous it was to contemplate the weather whilst inside a rolling vehicle. What should he be thinking about? Shouldn’t his life be flashing before his eyes by now? He was particularly looking forward to seeing himself as a twenty year-old again, back when he had hair.

His mind hadn’t wandered this much since his last staff meeting.

Shouldn’t he be at least mildly aware of the pain in his head and the sound of glass tinkling to the ground? He could hear the gentle chirping of birds, then he noticed the absence of the sound of metal being wrenched and pulled. The car had stopped.

“Any crash you can walk away from…” he whispered to himself as he pulled his rather rotund body from the car. This involved exiting through the back window, which was pointing uncomfortably towards the sky. The rest of the car was buried completely in a mound of earth, so it resembled the top of a vegetable protruding from a garden bed. Mr Pennant-Cord rolled down the mound of earth like a pudding down a slippery-dip. He landed face down in velvety grass, his limbs splayed and his shoes filled with soil. Shaking himself slightly, Mr Pennant-Cord pulled himself to his feet and brushed the dirt from his tweed jacket.

The businessman was confused.

He was standing in a field, wide and emerald green. It stretched endlessly in every direction, and rippled as crisp autumn air played across it. The sky was still blue and clear, but seemed bigger somehow. There was no sign of the narrow country road.

Mr Pennant-Cord blinked. He shook his head briskly, and looked again. The sun sat right on the line between the gently billowing field and the sky, like a child’s drawing.

“That is very odd indeed…” He whispered.

Convinced that he was suffering from concussion, he asked a nearby post-box to quiz him, to check for signs of amnesia

“Your name?”

“Melville Pennant-Cord.”

“And your wife’s?”

“Maryanne Pennant-Cord nee Smithington.”

“Do you remember your address?”

“Of course I do, but I shan’t be giving it out to the likes of you.”

“That is ultimately a sensible move. Cold weather we’re having.”

“Golly, yes. Just the other day, my wife and I went for a stroll after breakfast and she tripped on a heel and fell into a snowdrift! Imagine, snowdrifts in March!”

“It really is unusual. Global warming, I suppose.”

“That’s what they’re saying.”

Mr Pennant-Cord finished his conversation with the post-box none the wiser as to whether he was concussed. Eyes still scanning the horizon for any sign of the missing country road, Mr Pennant-Cord reached into his pocket for his mobile phone. He would call his wife; she would know exactly what to do. She was a wonderfully resourceful woman. It was with slight confusion that Mr Pennant-Cord drew from his pocket half a cucumber. He was not quite sure why the vegetable was in his trousers, but his phone must’ve fallen from his pocket during the crash.

He turned back to his car to climb back into the wreck and locate his phone. His car, however, was gone, which was more than a little bit unusual. In its place was a carrot the size of an SUV. At least, Mr Pennant-Cord assumed it was a carrot, because the root of the vegetable was buried in the hillock that had once housed his car. Huge plumes of green leaf-matter had sprouted and were unfurling and stretching towards the sky.

“This is a problem.” Mr Pennant-Cord said, shading his eyes with one chubby hand and pulling experimentally at the base of one of the sprouts with the other. But today was Thursday the Seventeenth, and today Mr Pennant-Cord was the problem solving expert.

“Identify and prioritise the problems…” He mumbled. He pushed his hands into the soft earth in the hope of finding anything metallic and car-like. He felt only hairy vegetable matter. The problems were easily identified. His car was a carrot, he was no longer on the narrow road between his office and his cottage, and he had sustained quite a knock to the head.

“Generate solutions, taking into consideration cost, time, and practicality..”

Mr Pennant-Cord squared his shoulders and picked a direction to walk in. The most efficient solution was to find a house or a road or a town, and then reassess his situation from there. With one last glance at his carrot-car (which the post-box was now prodding curiously), and clutching his half-cucumber tightly, he set off into the swaying, verdant field.

* * *

Mr Pennant-Cord had been walking for barely an hour in unchanging scenery. Every so often, he would check behind him. The leaves atop his carrot-car were still visible but were certainly getting further away. He was making good distance. Because he was looking over his shoulder at the towering fronds, Mr Pennant-Cord failed to notice the sudden change in gradient of the field. As a direct result, he found himself rolling down a slope for the second time that day. He tumbled for quite some time before, once again, finding himself face down in soft grass, arms and legs at strange angles. It was with huge relief that Mr Pennant-Cord noticed he had landed in a little village, previously hidden from view by the dip in the field. He stood up and took in his surroundings. Narrow cobbled streets crisscrossed the soft grass, lined with quaint cottages that looked to Mr Pennant-Cord like giant, hollowed-out pumpkins.

Mr Pennant-Cord came to the realisation that he was no longer in Kansas, so to speak. He had, in fact, never been to Kansas, so he could actually be there now and not know it. As that thought entered his mind, he tried to recall various titbits of information he had been told about Kansas. No one ever mentioned that Kansas consisted of condominiums shaped like oversized pumpkins, or that the Kansas Postal Service employed talking post-boxes, at least four of whom he met as he wandered down the lane paved with curiously sponge-like stones. From this, he deduced that he was neither in Kansas nor his own village, the post-boxes in which never said a word.

“And where are we off to today?” A vibrantly red mail-postage-facilitator asked Mr Pennant-Cord as he passed by. It was nearing the evening by this stage. The sun was setting and throwing an orange glow across the plush road and seemingly empty pumpkin-houses.

“I’m quite ashamed to say that I haven’t a clue where I am, where I’m going, or where I’ve been.” Mr Pennant-Cord said, panting only slightly as a result of his lengthy trek.

“Well, when you’re not here,” The post-box gestured widely with a long, arm-like appendage unusual for a post-box to possess. “Where are you?”

The round, bald, sweating man collapsed onto his broad bottom, surprised by how comfortable the spongy paving-stones were. He pulled a small box of mints from his jacket pocket and popped three into his mouth.

“You mean to ask me where my home is?”

“Yes, your normal place of residence.”

Mr Pennant-Cord sighed a long, world-weary, lonely sigh.

“Far from here, I’m beginning to suspect. Tell me, have you ever heard of Britain?”

The post-box shrugged and scratched an eyebrow. Mr Pennant-Cord bristled.

“Please keep your armlike appendage away from my eyebrows.”

“You just seem very tense.”

Mr Pennant-Cord sighed once more, and began to explain that he was, in fact, quite tense. His morning at work had taken a lot out of him. After all, it was Thursday the Seventeenth, and today he was the problem solving expert. He was looking forward to an evening at home with his wife in front of the local news with a snifter of brandy and a pair of delightfully cozy slippers. He found it unusual to be thrown into a strange and befuddling world in which inanimate objects caressed his eyebrows and cars turned into vegetables.

“I don’t believe my insurance covers that.” He said, shaking his head sadly.

“But you know what they say…any crash you can walk away from…”

And Melville Pennant-Cord knew that the post-box was right. He was very lucky to have escaped the crash with his life. After all, he was so sure this time last week that he wouldn’t live past Thursday the Seventeenth. Public speaking wasn’t so scary compared to the trials he had undergone so far in this plush green world.

* * *

Mr Pennant-Cord had mentioned to the post-box that he was very sleepy and would appreciate an armchair. The post-box nodded, and led Mr Pennant-Cord to a charming pumpkin house at the end of a cobbled lane, nestled in the crook of a creek and overlooking miles of moss. Inside, he found it startlingly reminiscent of his own cottage. There were floral patterns on the sofas, slightly faded lace curtains, and a strong smell of his wife’s hairdye (shade #45; Glowing Sunset Honeycomb). It seemed a perfectly respectable place to spend the rest of his days, despite the fact that the carpet seemed to be breathing. The floor would swell slightly in the centre of the living room, then gently flatten out again with a soft sighing sound.

Mr Pennant-Cord thanked his new post-box companion for the house.

“It’s not a worry. The market has been quite unhealthy since they arrived. Can’t give these places away.”

The post-box looked nervous. Mr Pennant-Cord didn’t think post-boxes were capable of expressing unease, but the post-box before him looked undeniably far from at ease.

“Who are they…?”

They come at night. When the darkness hides their faces. When the children sleep. They come in armies, in swarms. They come with one thing in mind, and only leave once they are satisfied. They come for blood. They come with blades and arrows and teeth and claws and venom and malice. They have no mercy. Not for the sick. Not for the old. Not for the young. They do not discriminate. They take babies from mothers’ breasts, and grandmothers from deathbeds. They come, they tear, they shred and rip, they spill, they ignore the screams and the pain, they feast on flesh and marrow, and then, as the sun rises, they melt away like the cries of the dead.

“Ah. That would lower estate value, yes.”

* * *

The last of the light slipped behind the sweeping mountains that framed the horizon. The emerald green fields looked blue in the darkness, and the wind rushing across them gave them the texture of an ocean. Cheerful buds of light began to appear all along the streets of the mushroom village. They fluttered about, all colours of the rainbow. They clustered on flowering shrubs, and were chased by wide-eyed and slightly phosphorescent possums. The pumpkin houses looked pearlescent. Glassy rainbows crept across the sponge cobblestones. After a nice, long sit, Mr Pennant-Cord decided to take a stroll in the cool evening air. He had yet to see a single person in this odd village.

“I find it remarkable,” he said to himself, “that not a soul is wandering these delightful streets and taking in these marvellous sights.”

Not a soul? No, no souls. Souls are something we lack. Delicious souls. Intangible, beautiful souls. Oh, how we hunger. Oh, how we yearn for souls.

And the lights went out.

Mr Pennant-Cord was suddenly hot and sweating. Moisture dripped down his pale forehead.

The smell of a soul! A dripping, sugary soul! Gather, brethren! Smell this soul! It is rich and crumbly and matured to perfection! This is the soul we need, brothers. Breathe it in. We must devour.

We must devour!

Mr Pennant-Cord felt as though he was on fire. The heat closed in around him, the burning started to eat through his tweed jacket. The round man did not notice his vision fading. Everything was already black and empty. It made no difference that the new darkness was inside his head. As invisible fire licked his skin, he let out a cry and fell.

* * *

Rather strangely, he fell into a comfortably furnished and gently lit room. The walls were made of soil, and tiny glittering lights were suspended from wiry tree roots that peeked through the ceiling. His vision was restored, and the burning was extinguished.

“You will soon learn, young man, that fools who stray above ground after dark don’t live to watch the sunrise.”

Mr Pennant-Cord looked for the source of the reprimand, and was astounded to find the speaker was not a post-box. Sitting in a pristine, marigold-coloured armchair was a man who looked no younger than a hundred and two. His face matched the ceiling; brown and gnarled, and dotted with white, hairy protrusions that resembled mushrooms. In this old man’s left hand was a knobbly stick, and in his right, a long string that hung from the ceiling. The string was tied to a metal latch that appeared to hold a trapdoor shut. It was through this trapdoor that Mr Pennant-Cord suspected he had made his less than graceful entry into the quaint room.

“I am sorry,” he said, meeting the old man’s little, watery eyes. “I meant no harm. I was simply taking an evening stroll…”

The old man laughed. It sounded like trees creaking and leaves rustling.
“You meant us no harm? A marshmallow like you means us no harm. I am so very relieved!”

And the wheezing laugh continued.

“I beg your pardon, sir. While I am grateful that you saved me from the heat above ground, I find your manner entirely uncivil.” Mr Pennant-Cord sniffed, and drew a handkerchief from his jacket pocket. He dabbed lightly at his sweaty forehead until the old man saw fit to stop his laughter.

“Very well. What would you do in order to convey a civil manner?” The old man smiled wryly and tapped his knobbly stick on his knee.

“If I were you, I would introduce myself and explain why I lived underground.” Mr Pennant-Cord noticed a pitcher of water on a small table near one of the earthy walls, and added, “I might also offer my guest refreshments.”

With a slight roll of his eyes, the old man tapped his knobbly stick against the pitcher. “Help yourself. I am the Mayor, and I am living underground because I feel it is preferable to dying above ground. Civil enough for you, you pasty idiot?”

“Quite, thank you.” Mr Pennant-Cord said over his glass of water. “I am Melville Pennant-Cord, and could I ask you to elaborate on your reasons for living underground?”

The Mayor stood up with surprisingly little difficulty for a man of his age. His knobbly stick seemed to be for hitting things, rather than for leaning on.

“Follow.”

The Mayor shuffled from the cozy room into a dim and narrow corridor. Mr Pennant-Cord had to bend quite low to follow, and the tree roots tickled the top of his head. After several minutes of shuffling, the pair emerged into a cavern much larger than the Mayor’s little room. Mr Pennant-Cord gasped as his eyes adjusted to the light. The cavern was filled with people. Unlike the Mayor with his skin the colour of soil, the inhabitants of this room were almost translucent. They were like glass. Empty glass bottles. Fragile and sickly. They sat in little groups, no more than four or five together. They did not speak, or even look up as the Mayor and Mr Pennant-Cord entered.
“These were my villagers.” The Mayor said in his creaky tree voice. “They were prosperous and happy. Then the raiders arrived and forced the survivors to move down here. That was eight hundred years ago now.”

Mr Pennant-Cord’s eyes widened as he spotted a group of glass children crouching in a corner. He suspected that the only reason they weren’t crying was that they’d forgotten how.

“What do the raiders want? Why do they come?” He asked the Mayor.

“They whisper their desires. Flesh, blood, bone, dripping gore. But it is said that above all, they want a soul.”

“I was led to believe that they ate people quite regularly. How is it that they have not yet found a soul?”

The Mayor shook his head and gave Mr Pennant-Cord a sad smile.
“Do these folk look like they have souls? They’re as empty as your pudgy brain. None of us have ever had souls. It’s a regional thing, I suspect. Like having an accent. It’s a huge shame… Just one soul and they’d leave us forever. That’s what they whisper.”

Mr Pennant-Cord nodded, and continued to watch the glass people sit and stare at the floor.

It was Thursday the Seventeenth, and today Mr Pennant-Cord was a problem-solving expert.

“Identify the problem…” He whispered.

“Pardon?” The Mayor looked confused, but Mr Pennant-Cord ignored him and thought hard. He imagined scrolling through his Stratagem slideshow. Glass people living underground, sad and empty. They were the caretakers of this soft emerald world. They were the builders of the pumpkin houses, and the minders of the sentient post-boxes. If they went above ground, they would be eaten. This was the problem.

“Generate solutions…”

The Mayor watched Mr Pennant-Cord with uncertainty. Mr Pennant-Cord brainstormed. The glass people had lived underground for eight hundred years. They could move, perhaps. They could build a new village elsewhere. Would the raiders follow them? Did they have the resources to build another town of vegetable condominiums? How long did it take to grow a pumpkin that big? It seemed so impractical.

A much more efficient solution occurred to Mr Pennant-Cord.

“Might I ask how one would go about getting back out of this system of caves?”

The Mayor pointed back into the tunnel they had come through.

“The trapdoor opens both ways.” he said. Mr Pennant-Cord nodded once more and turned to head back to the Mayor’s room.

“Hold up!” The Mayor called after him. “It’s still dark out! The raiders’ll be waiting for you.”

Mr Pennant-Cord brushed some tunnel fungus from the sleeve of his jacket.

“My car is a carrot and my wife is not made of glass, so she’ll be warm and fine eventually. I am informed every Sunday that the people in my region have souls. Thank you for the glass of water, Mr Mayor, but stage three of the Stratagem insists that the most efficient solution is implemented.”

With that, Mr Pennant-Cord shuffled back along the tunnel and into the pleasant room. He dragged a little table across to the spot underneath the trapdoor, then pulled the string tied to the lock. The door swung open. Mr Pennant-Cord stepped onto the table, hoisted his rotund body back onto the spongy street, and gently shut the trapdoor behind him.

It was Thursday the Seventeenth, and today Mr Pennant-Cord was the problem solving expert.

He was promptly devoured by searing invisible flames. Flesh, bones, and soul.

* * *

The raiders left and never returned. The Mayor led his glass villagers back into the sunlight and they sparkled and began to fill up.

The post-boxes were thrilled, and started to sort through eight hundred years of undelivered mail.

The carrot that had once been a car continued to grow, and soon its roots filled the caverns below the city.

Everything was fine.