Friday, October 28, 2005

The Nazi

Halloween nears and to pay tribute, I'd like to enclose a poem I wrote a few years ago, along with most of The Raven, by E.A. Poe. (I left out about 4 stanzas.) This poem is such a favorite of mine. Not only do I love the spooky story but I think Edgar's use of alliteration, rhyme, and rhythm is freaking genius. I absolutely love it. MY poem, on the other hand, does not quite attain that same level, though I tried to emulate Edgar's as much as I could. I lined them up side-by-side so you could see the comparisons. In some places, I used the exact same word. In others, a similar word--only dumbed down in Jen Speak. In other places I looked up the meaning of his word and put a simpler equivalent in mine. For instance: to quaff means to drink deeply in a very thirsty way.

Now for some background on what my poem is about. At the BYU I had many experiences where I'd run into tennis court employees trying to enforce rules with no reason. In this particular case, I'd be playing tennis at one of the courts on campus and if I didn't have my ID, i'd get kicked off. This is an understandable reason given that they want to make sure actual BYU students (with proof of being a BYU student) get to use the courts. Except quite often, my partner and I would be basically the only people playing on any of the courts! Oh, i'm so sorry i didn't realize you wanted to reserve these empty courts for all the ghost BYU students. Ridiculous. I had so many instances of this that I had developed a 6th sense for detecting the Tennis Court Nazi. Now, you might be saying, why didn't you just remember to bring your ID? And to that i say, shut your trap! Read the poems. :)

Oh also, I apologize for the weird breaking up of lines. It was surprisingly difficult getting these into columns and trying to match up the stanzas. Hopefully it's not too choppy.

The Nazi
Once upon an evening twilight
I went to partake of my life’s highlight
Playing tennis by courtside lamplight,
Getting exercise and fun galore.
While we rallied, my backhand working,
I felt a feeling somewhat irking.
As of someone quietly lurking, lurking
In the shadows of the court.
“T’is nothing, nor no one” I uttered,
As I returned with a strong hand-fore–
“Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, so vividly I recall, it was in the
Brisk of fall;
And the trees, each and all, dropping
Leaves upon the floor.
Excited, I breathed anticipation, would a
Champion from competition
Arise from playing tonight? I questioned.
Was my victory in store?
Although my skills matched the other's,
What would be the resulted score?
My goal: To win the set, 6-4.

And the shaded shadowed lingerer
Causing me to jam my finger
Shifted me--lifted me to familiar
Caution I had felt before;
So that now I'd be in denial trying
To play, and all the while
I'd be saying "Some strange wind is gusting
Gusts behind me on the court--
Some eerie wind is gusting gusts
Behind me on the court.
That it is, and nothing more."

As we rallied my breaths were growing
And my moves, not really flowing,
"What" blamed I, "is up with this freaky wind that I abhor?
Because, you see, I'm trying to rally, and over there, my friend, my pal, he
Will soon be taking, I fear, a tally
Each time I hit balls to a neighboring court.
That I scarce can keep it in-bounds"--
I faced the fore-ground of my court;--
Wall and fence there, nothing more.

Back to the game I tried to turn, the ache
Of dread in my gut burned,
But soon again I felt the presence
Somewhat harsher than before.
"May be" said I, "t'is a speculator
Or a hopeful fellow player
We just got here, M'am or sir! Now,
Go and find another court!
Do you hear me, man or woman?"
I turned my head like as before.
T'was the wind, and nothing more!

Then this twenty-something fellow, a
Pompous look on face so mellow
Emerged from the shadows, I approached
Him, leaving my racket on the floor.
"For what you ask, I haven't got, see?
And though I know you're doing your
'Job,'see, I won't repute thee, O Tennis
Nazi! For having no ID, kicking kids off
Courts. Well I won't abide to mundane
Rules, thus I sit planted on this court!"
Quoth the Nazi, "nevermore."

But the Nazi stood purposefully; this
Word caused my mood to sully
This one word spoken, deafening my ears
With decibals, it seemed, one thousand-four.
No other words from his throat voiced--
This left me with no other choice--to
Bring forth my defense, rejoice!
"Others have let me stay before--
They aren't as calloused as some I know,
Who've tried to boot me times before."
Then the guy said "Nevermore."

Angered by this word of nonsense,
As if to mock my retort and defense,
"No doubt," said I, "what he stutters is
A symbol of his rancor.
Forced by lack of tennis skill, a
Predator, prowling for his kill
Searching, lurking cardless students, to
Kick off yet one player more--
So every "felon," and "lawbreaker" would
Have to feel the pain he bore
Of 'Never--nevermore."'

But there he stood, and my blood curdled
Sent my legs o'er fence I hurdled,
Straight I pointed my short-nailed finger at
All the surrounding empty courts;
Then, I named off countless reasons
Why his "rules" were so unseasoned
Trying to fathom, thinking, wondering
What this brainless man of bore--
What this dim, embittered, slave to rule
Books, oh, this man of bore
Meant in mumbling "Nevermore."

This I stood, in hopes to beat him, thinking
'Maybe I can eat him'
To this soul whose stupid reasons
Scraped me silly to the core;
After having retrieved my racket, I stared
At his face, desiring to whack it
Oh I pondered this sweet action, that
I admit I would adore,
But whose not sweet consequences would
Give me troubles I'd not adore,
He bugs me! ah, nevermore!

Then, I thought, the air grew colder,
Heightened by my voice now bolder
Pushed at wit's end, to convince him
To allow me to keep my court.
"Dork," I cried, "Your boss has made
You--by some spell, he has bade you,
Along with your bitter motives, to remove
Me from my court,
Get a soda, and I tell you to
Forget me and my court!"
Quoth the nazi, "Nevermore."

"Loser!" Said I, "thing of lameness!
Loser still, at fault or blameless!--
Whether employer sent, or whether
Your bitterness throws you to my court,
All around me are courts a-plenty, all but
Mine are bare and empty--
On this soil of cursed Nazis-- Leave me
Alone, my court ignore!
Will you?--is there hope among us?--
Tell me!" I asked in my uproar.
Quoth the Nazi "Nevermore."

"Be that word all you can say? Tennis
Nazi, let me play! Go tell your boss
That I care not and leave your rules
At the door! Leave my tennis game you've
Splintered, if I must
I'll stay 'til winter,I stand my ground,
You'd better sprint, here-
I tell you now, I do deplore!
Take thy name tag from my vision, and
Thy footgear off my court!"
Quoth the Nazi "Nevermore."

And the Nazi, ne'r departing, is still
Imparting, always imparting
In the shadows in the foreground like
An ever-present sore;
And his eyes have all reflection of a
Germ spreading infection,
Spits forth on me cardless detection
So I know he's by my court;
And my anger that re-kindles every
Time he nears my court
Shall be lifted--nevermore!

The Raven
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I
Pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume
Of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping,
Suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping
At my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered,
“Tapping at my chamber door-
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the
Bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought
Its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; --vainly I
Had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow-
Sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom
The angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of
each purple curtain
Thrilled me-filled me with fantastic
Terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my
Heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visitor entreating entrance
at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance
At my chamber door;--
This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger;
Hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your
forgiveness I implore’
But the fact is I was napping, and so
gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping,
Tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”-
Here I opened wide the door;--
Darkness there and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my
Soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat
Louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is
something at my window lattice
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and
This mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this
mystery explore;--
“’T’is the wind and nothing more!”

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad
Fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the
Countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven,
thou,’ I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven
Wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the
Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the
Placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that
One word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered -not a
Feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered
“Other friends have flown before-
On the morrow he will leave me, as my
hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken
By reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless” said I, “what it utters
Is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom
Unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster
Till His songs on burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that
Melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never-nevermore.’”

But the Raven still beguiling all my
sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in
front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook
Myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this
Ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly,
Gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no
Syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned
Into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head
at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the
Lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the
Lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser,
Perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls
Tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “Thy God hath lent
thee-by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite-respite and nepenthe from the
Memories of Lenore,
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and
Forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” Said I, “thing of evil!
Prophet still, if bird or devil!-
Whether Tempest sent, or whether tempest
tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert
land enchanted-
On this home by Horror haunted-tell me
Truly, I impore-
Is there-is there balm in Gilead?-
Tell me-tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird
or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting-
“Get thee back into the tempest and the
Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that
Lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! -quit the
Bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and
Take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is
Sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above
My chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a
Demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming
Throws his shadow on the floor’
And my soul from out that shadow that
Lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted-nevermore!


Brooke said...

Genius, Jen. Sheer genius. Happy Halloween!

Anonymous said...

Amen. It truly is Halloween now, after a good perusing of "The Nazi." I also loved the illustration this year. Is that a Jen original?

)en said...

It suuure is...

Rob said...

I agree with brooke in that it is genius. I would add though, that most geniuses are crazy. All it takes is one weird poem to go from eccentric to insane. You're walkin' that line Jen.

)en said...

what? I'm not crazy! What a silly thing to say! Crazy? Me? AH HAHAHAHAHA....!