Monday, September 25, 2017

With love but not permission...

    In a previous post, I mentioned a poem I've always enjoyed but was dubious about sharing  because it is still, apparently, in print.

This week, however, I'm going to be big and brave and bold, in keeping with the indomitable poet, archy. Perhaps I'm breaking copyright (I don't know) but I want to share this with you because, if you don't already know of Don Marquis and his characters by now, you should.

Also because the author is dead these many years, and because the poet who claims, here, to have written this poem was, if he is to be believed, once a vers libre bard whose soul transmigrated into the body of a cockroach named archy.

Now, archy could type out his poems by climbing up on a typewriter and jumping down to hit each key with his head, then going back up and jumping down to hit another key with his head...well, you get the picture. However, archy couldn't use capital letters because he couldn't hold down the shift key.
His best friend was a black cat named mehitabel who claimed to have been Cleopatra.
Who or what they may have transmigrated into by now is anybody's guess ...maybe he is still a cockroach and she still a cat, or they might even be mice... but in the Don Marquis book I love so much, mehitabel was an alley cat of dubious virtue, and archy was a very determined poet who had, one imagines, a very sore top-of-the-head.

This poem appears as it was written by archy, with no uppercase (capital) letters because, as I said, he couldn't shift for himself.

archy meets warty bliggens

i met a toad
the other day by the name
of warty bliggens
he was sitting under
a toadstool
feeling contented
he explained that when the cosmos
was created
that toadstool was especially
planned for his personal
shelter from sun and rain
thought out and prepared
for him

do not tell me said warty bliggens
that there is not a purpose in the universe
the thought is blasphemy

a little more conversation revealed
that warty bliggens considers himself to be
the center of the said
the earth exists
to grow toadstools for him
to sit under
the sun to give him light
by day and the moon
and wheeling constellations
to make beautiful
the night for the sake of
warty bliggens

to what act of yours
do you impute
this interest on the part
of the creator
of the universe
i asked him
why is it that you
are so greatly favored

ask rather
said warty bliggens
what the universe
has done to deserve me

if i were a human being i would
not laugh
too complacently
at poor warty bliggens
for similar
have only too often
lodged in the crinkles
of the human cerebrum
                                           ... by archy

archy is sharing my walk down memory lane with
Lady Fi's marvelous meme, Our World Tuesday


Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I don't know if it's breaking copyright, but the little critters and words are delightful.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari oM
HAH what fun! Glad you shared it. YAM xx

Jeanna said...

Maybe Archy is an E.E. Cummings fan.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh how I loved this and how I wish I still had my dad's copy of that book. I live part of the year in Florida and I can tell you fairly confidently that Archy could very well still be inhabiting the same body -- cockroaches are really hard to kill, especially, I'm sure, the ones who can jump up and down and who have heads as hard as his.

In addition to the lovely nostalgia factor, this particular poem meant a lot to me at this particular time.... I am having a huge existential crisis because so many of my neighbors from our Florida resort (that was not seriously damaged by Irma) remind me of Warty B. They are now writing things like '...the wonderful power of prayer..." "God sure answered our prayers" .... etc. etc. And all I can think is, what the *%@&^, God liked your prayers better than he did the people of Puerto Rico? Or even the Keys? You are so important that he listened to you first? (Bill says, 'it gives people comfort and please don't say that to any of these people when you see them".... ha ha, he wants our neighbors to still speak to us when we get back ...(I shall probably listen to him, because after 60 years it is just easier ;>)....

And of course I too am glad our little cottage was safe. I just don't think it was the Universe (or god) doing it for us because we are so darn important!

carol l mckenna said...

What a great post and delightful poem ~ thanks, believe you are okay as you give the source of the poem

(A ShutterBug Explores)

Al said...

Interesting - this is new to me.

Lady Fi said...

These poems got me through my horrible boarding school days!

Jo said...

Hello Kay I'm so glad I saw you on OWT meme. I love this post. I've never heard of the poet or the cockroach OR the cat. Interesting stuff. I heard that 50 years after the death of the artis/poet/writer, copywrite falls away. Perhaps this is the case here. Anyway. I enjoyed your post as always. Jo

Powell River Books said...

Great poem and very interesting poet story. - Margy

Jenn Jilks said...

love this poem.

Sara's Fave Photos Blog said...

I love archy and mehitable. Great stuff. And a fine poem indeed!