(Upon reading a new translation of
Gawain and the Green Knight)
The lexical stresses in languages Latinate
Sound syllables situate second or third,
But German, a guttural language and glorious,
Likes syllables sounded first in the word.
So when surly Saxons sat safe in their castles
Ere Frenchmen finagled their fiefdoms a bit
And Alfred valiantly vanquished the Viking,
In Albion's lyrics iterations alit.
Rarely end-rhymes work well in this rhythm,
But alliteration is lauded and loved,
And the tappy-tap tempo this trope entices
May lure lonely lyricists looking for rhyme
To try tin-tin-abulations instead... just one time.
Just as jointly Jack and Jill jauntily journeyed
With a wish for a well water well on a hill,
Till two tripping teens took a terrible tumble,
Jack enjoying joyfully tumbling with Jill.
Though scribblers who rhyme may alliterate lightly,
The habit of rhyme has a hold on them still,
So itsy-bitsy spider who sat down beside her
Marred Miss Muffet's morning on her tuffet of twill.
No, you can't wrest the rhyme from the riffs of a rhymer
Or the doggerel dogging a bad balladeer;
Hippety-trippety go skipping the syllables,
But the damn dactyls will rhyme... never fear.
Shame on the Saxon for his saga romances
In those Angle-alliterative syllable messes
That mangle men's minds with minstrelsy migraines
Sourced in those silly Saxon dis-stresses.
And anxiety, angst,
Insobriety, and nerves,
Dog my dactyls with
Rhymes... I confess.
"Stress" here betokens a bit called "the bob."
The following four lines finish finally "the wheel."
This puny pentad punctuates the precedent stanza
To pleasure the palate with a short pulse of rhymes.
Wouldn't our worrisome, weary world welcome
The boost of a brisk "bob and wheel" sometimes?
Home you limp lonely from lugubrious labors.
Wouldn't a big "bob" of bourbon be nice
Well wet with a "wheel" of well water and ice?
For your bride, the "bob" of a brooch or a bracelet
Set in a setting of silver for "wheel,"
Might make her man mean more than a helpmeet
And result in a remnant of romance... for real!
A biscuit or bone as a "bob" for your boxer
And fetching a Frisbee far flung for the "Wheel"
Might make your mastiff a merrier mongrel,
Might help housebreak him and bring him to heel.
Bone or bracelet
Frisbee or brooch
Romance for a wheel
Or a jigger of hooch.
All got up in green was that gangster, and Gawain
Acquiesced in an action of hatchet romance.
He hewed off the head of the horrible headsman
Never knowing that noble would nip up and dance...
His horrid head horribly held by the hair...
Saying, "FUN ISN'T FUN FINALLY UNLESS FAIR IS FAIR."
So, Gawain was trapped in a terrible treaty,
A bargain that bound him to bravery bold.
He had to have his head hewn off by that headsman,
For Gawain had granted that good guarantee,
Thinking the threatening thane would be dead,
But, golly! The Greenster had stood up instead!
The pact that he promised proved a perilous plight
For his neck was the next to get knocked in a year.
And a wight of his word wouldn't wimp out or whine.
Is wimpish, and wincing
Is wienie, but Gawain,
We all hope, will beat
The Green meanie.
So off Gawain galloped to get his comeuppance,
And a terrible tangle of trials, temptations, and tests
Harassed our hero hying o'er hill and hollow
Till he came to a castle and called on the king
To hail him as hero, and house him as host.
But this host had a heavenly hausfrau, a hottie,
A Saxon seductress so saucily sexed
That three nights running, so stunning and cunning,
Gawain with ugly, adulterous offers was vexed!
Tawny, the temptress with T & A taxed him,
But Gawain's libido limped listlessly low
Tho he kept caressing and kissing the king
In some kind of high-minded, virtuous show,
For when housed by a host in his home and his hallways
You mustn't betray him by banging his bride
And our hero had hoped to hew to his virtue,
Of naughtiness knowing next to nothing, beside.
And hottie, our knight
Wasn't naughty, but
You were hoping he
Was. Am I right?
Then Gawain a green garter was granted to guard him
By the lecherous lady whose kisses he gave to the king.
But he didn't give back the garter he'd garnered,
For self-preservation is strong. That's the thing.
Then when the green headsman hefted his hatchet,
He just nicked the neck of our noble young knight.
"THAT'S FOR THE RIBBON YOU REFUSED TO RELINQUISH,
FOR A LIEGEMAN MUST SELFLESSLY LAY DOWN HIS LIFE,
BUT ROGUES REFUSE RARELY TO ROGER ROWENA
SO YOU'RE A GOOD BOY FOR NOT BOINKING MY WIFE,
AND YOUR GREED FOR THE GARTER IS FINALLY FORGIVEN
CUZ WE LIKE OUR WIVES AND OUR WOMEN UNSWIVEN."
Yes, the host was the headsman. Our lad had been had.
He was good, but grabbing that garter was bad.
Home afraid fared our fellow fretting his failure,
Ashamed the good name of "Gawain," had been gored.
But the Camelot cowboys cared more for his candor
Forgiving his faults for a future of fame.
And the garter gained glory engraved in their memories
As a sign that concern for one's self is a shame,
For which painful lesson we must thank Gawain.
Verse is a mess.
Leaving us where
We began, in distress