Chapter 1: Once Upon a Spring-day Ramble (Villanelle)
Inspired by this passage from "The Yellow Face":
One day in early spring he had so far relaxed as to go for a walk with me in the Park, where the first faint shoots of green were breaking out upon the elms, and the sticky spear-heads of the chestnuts were just beginning to burst into their five-fold leaves. For two hours we rambled about together, in silence for the most part, as befits two men who know each other intimately.
Silent stroll through din-thorned bramble.
Friends who knew each other well
once upon a spring-day ramble.
Through the Park, the two did amble,
side by side, as robins knell.
Silent stroll through din-thorned bramble.
Elms break out in Nature’s gambol,
faint green shoots toll springtide’s bell
once upon a spring-day ramble.
Chestnuts burst without preamble;
sticky heads ring five-fold pell.
Silent stroll through din-thorned bramble
Theirs, the aimless, graceful shamble-
shuffle ‘neath the chirrups swell
once upon a spring-day ramble.
Puzzles left to piece, unscramble,
Secrets left for time to tell,
Silent stroll through din-thorned bramble
once upon a spring-day ramble.
This poem is a villanelle, which is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines.
Chapter 2: Archer (Tyburn)
Inspired by this prompt from the LJ Holmes Minor comm: Ladies Archery Society in Regent's Park.
Archer aims with higher flier-straight
whilst sleuth sports a wrier, sprier mate.
A tyburn is a six line poem consisting of 2, 2, 2, 2, 9, 9 syllables. The first four lines rhyme and are all descriptive words. The last two lines rhyme and incorporate the first, second, third, and fourth lines as the 5th through 8th syllables.
Chapter 3: Art (triangular triplet)
Inspired by three quotes:
1. Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms. "The Greek Interpreter"
2. To the man who loves art for its own sake...it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived… "The Copper Beeches"
3. He would talk of nothing but art, of which he had the crudest ideas. The Hound of the Baskervilles.
in the blood, it is liable to take the strangest coagulations
for its own sake, pleasure’s derived from lowliest manifestations
its absorbing modern mastery provokes the crudest observations
A triangle triplet is a triplet, meaning it has to have 3 lines that rhyme. The catch is it has to make sense reading the lines in any order.
Chapter 4: Because I could not stop for tea (Parody)
Because I could not stop for tea
Tea kindly stopped for me
The Trolley held all sorts of fare
The Sweet and Savory.
I swiftly dove – Pangs knew no haste
And soon had put away
a fleet of treats, three decks replete;
squalled a Darjeeling sea.
I ate the Bread, with Butter spread
The Scones – with Cream and Jam
I ate the Buns, Hot Crossed with Plums;
quaffed Cordial by the Dram.
Or rather – Sip by sip
Indeed, the mead exceeded hopes
unspoken. Fancies mixed cue joys
foretoken -- Art and Gin –
We sketched before a man who seemed
so far too overdressed --
I failed to note his seam much less --
which way his crease was pressed --
And then -- to Gin – and Homeward Bound
So glad to miss the Rush
Though left unseen Glasgow’s May Queen,
I’ve got a Royal Flush!
Chapter 5: Dismal England
Inspired by Dismal England, which is apparently and hilariously by the same author as Merrie England.
Dismal England of old. Rife with strife hundred-fold.
Adverts promise fools’ gold. Plots like clots, bloody, bold;
greed’s misdeed; honour sold; foul trickery foretold.
Life in death’s cargo hold; filthy, grim, fog-dim, cold.
Merrie England of ages past. Notions like buttons holding fast
to a Dickens Yuletide repast. Tra-la-la’s ring unsurpassed.
to puzzles solved, resolved at last. To quips and wit and intrigue vast.
To bright futures unharassed. To good’s triumph, woes outcast.
Whether ‘twas dismal or merrie matters not, you see.
I pen what drops the shillings in the purse o’ me.
Chapter 6: Under our own steam (Shadorma)
Inspired by this LJ Holmes Minor comm prompt: Victorian Ladies Cycling
Up and down
Our fortunes rode on
Strength of men.
Now we are
Pedalling, moving forward
Under our own steam.
Shadorma is a Spanish 6-line syllabic poem of 3/5/3/3/7/5 syllable lines respectively.
Chapter 7: A good cyclist (Holmes/Watson. Rating: Teen)
Inspired by these lines from "The Priory School":
"But the bicycle?" I persisted.
"Well, well!" said Holmes impatiently. "A good cyclist does not need a high road.">
From Holmes: the Musical playing on and off in the West End of my mind.
A good cyclist doesn’t need a high road
to reach his destination.
A good cyclist doesn’t need a clear day
a vane or weather station.
A good cyclist doesn’t need a flat plain
devoid of undulation.
A good cyclist doesn’t need a bold sign
and lines of demarcation.
WATSON: But the bicycle, Holmes?
HOLMES: He does not need
He will proceed
Upon spoked steed
‘Cross moor and weed!
A good cyclist doesn’t need a fair wind
for his acceleration.
A good cyclist doesn’t need a choice map
for his edification.
A good cyclist doesn’t need a full moon
for his illumination.
A good cyclist doesn’t need a stout boot
for his perambulation.
WATSON: But the bicycle, Holmes?
He goes along
a-burst with song
legs firm, lungs strong
through fork and prong!
A good cyclist doesn’t need a straight path
or steady elevation.
A good cyclist doesn’t need an odd tree
to fix exact location.
A good cyclist doesn’t need a sharp grade
to foster wheel rotation.
A good cyclist doesn’t need a smooth lane
to go without vexation.
As far as it goes, you’re right, I suppose,
about metal bars, spokes, and rubber hose.
But a different story altogether when it’s cotton, wool, and leather.
Yes, Holmes, it’s not the same, at all, you see,
when the vehicle you’re riding is me!
O, dreary dismal unprofitable world!
Such commonplace crime, commonplace existence.
Dun-coloured houses offer no resistance
to drifting menace, xanthous carpet unfurled.
What use powers ‘pon this field of mist thick, swirled?
The old particulars lacked such persistence,
such hopelessly prosaic, tired insistence
of material which grips with edges knurled.
How figures loom, are dimly seen, then retreat
on silent tiger paws into the cloud-bank.
How one might pounce, then fade to droplet and cog
of urbane machinery, mission complete,
assassin’s paradise, pea-souper made rank
by age, rage. O, curtained stage! O, London fog!
Inspired by two quotes of Holmes. The first from The Sign of Four.
“Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unproﬁtable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-colored houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, doctor, when one has no ﬁeld upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth.
And the second from “The Bruce-Partington Plans.”
"Look out this window, Watson. See how the ﬁgures loom up, are dimly seen, and then blend once more into the cloud-bank. The thief or the murderer could roam London on such a day as the tiger does the jungle, unseen until he pounces, and then evident only to his victim…It is well they don’t have days of fog in the Latin countries—the countries of assassination.”
Chapter 9: Mycroft Holmes & the Recursive Ravens (Parody)
Title: Mycroft Holmes & the Recursive Ravens
Notes: Christmas parody of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”
Summary: Mycroft gets a visitor on Christmas Eve.
Author’s Notes: For the monthly prompt: animal + precious metal/stone. The notion of recursive ravens is from the Listing to Port tumblr. Also, I have written a couple of ficlets about my head canon that the knife used to affix unanswered correspondence to the mantelpiece of 221b was used by Grandmother Holmes to slit the throat of a Barbary pirate. Here I suppose there were two knives, the younger grandson got the utilitarian and the older grandson, the ornamental of the set.
Once upon a Christmas Eve, while I
toiled without reprieve,
Over many a faint and tedious ledger of
While I studied, always checking, suddenly
there came a pecking,
As of some one calling, some one becking, with a
“What’s this creature,” I inquired, “pecking with a
‘Pon this night of sugar plum?”
spied I, then, through glass darkly, dim, a stately
Raven perched on limb,
I knew his business, he of mourning dress and widow’s
Might persistent was the patter which announced
his urgent matter;
Thus, with Yuletide dread, I harked the night-winged harbinger’s
the ancient crier who caws the hour, but one, with his
Squawked the bird, “Your doom’s to come!”
But soon, with lip growing stiffer, I politely
begged to differ,
and stole my hand into a bottom drawer,
without squeak or um.
Fingers sought the silver dagger which cut
Barb’ry pirate’s swagger.
My fate-strings were not his to snip, no, sir, but mine
to play, to strum.
There was much this broad bass-fiddle, yes, sir, had yet
to say, to strum.
Thus, I cried, “Your doom’s to come!”
At my counter-declaration came a squall of
what’s more, beyond the pane, appeared another, smaller,
a second stately well-groomed squire, perched upon
the bough just higher.
At the arrival of a petite rival, the Raven
He made not a peep nor mistletoe cheep. The Raven
fell quite dumb
at the squawk, “Your doom’s to come!”
The harbinger society atuned to looming
had dispatched to future scene-of-crime a follow-messenger
Many my questions, just one rife: how to kill two birds with
just one knife?
To what foul end might dark portent—and portent’s portent—
Might not two fall with proper blade and proper flick of my
Then came a third, “Doom’s to come!”
A third winged-lord, smaller, bolder, perched on bough at
To scale, was he, with matching beak, eyes, caw, and
It would vex the sagest mavens: how to best
This riddle fit for desert Sphinx rendered puzzler
as fate of one was quick to multiply to fate of
I cried, “Too much doom’s to come!”
Then, humbly, did I remember, ‘twas twenty-fourth
With dagger released, the bell was rung, sprang a hope I’d
yet to plumb.
Atop my desk my odd requests, window opened, I hailed
The larder mice, the pies of mince, the cakes of seed to
washed down with island spirit sweet, then pudding,
a carol to hum,
“Forget the doom, pass the rum!”
Poet's note: Now the morale of this verse, I suppose
is make merry with an unkindness of ravens
Or you'll be guest at a murder of crows
The hansom cab. The gaslit street. The fog.
The puzzle rare. The crime. The mystery.
The clever sleuth. The doctor-scribe. The dog.
The known address. The fireside chairs. The tea.
The client duped. The Scotland Yard distressed.
The violin. The smoke. The pipe to think.
The dressing gown. The clue. The wrong redressed.
The newspaper. The envelope. The ink.
The ill repute. The foreign plot. The scene.
The photograph. The plans. The letters bold.
The very start. The final act. The in-between.
The articles. The stories left untold.
A thousand Reichenbach apologies.
A million words, care-sung doxologies.
Today (18 December 2017) I celebrate my fourth year of writing Sherlock Holmes fanfiction. And with this sonnet, I now have more than 1,000,000 words in my AO3 account.
Before I posted my first ficlet, I had never done any creative writing. Before joining the Sherlock fandom, I had never shipped fictional characters. I don’t know that I would have even understood the concept. I have always liked Sherlock Holmes but for most of my life I never gave Doctor Watson a second thought.
So I’ve changed a lot in the past four years.
A tremendous thank you to all my gentle readers, your kind comments make my world a less lonely place. I am very thankful for this space to share and learn and enjoy with like-minded folks.
Chapter 11: A perfect fit (concrete poem)
For National Puzzle Day (US, 29 Jan). A very poor excuse for a concrete poem, but it was the best I could do given my ignorance of many things technological.
It is the opening exchange between Holmes & Watson at Barts laboratory. The left statements are Holmes's, the right ones, Watson's.
Chapter 12: Grey (Colour poem)
Notes: Colour poem (a variation on)
Summary: 50 shades of Victorian grey
a bouquet of grey irises: keen, like the quicksilver gleam of a master blackmailer; shifting, like odiousness crafted, framed by white lashes; empty, like the vacancy of the overwrought and hearth-rug-strewn; shrewd, like set-companions for the granite face, iron nerves, and leathery conscience of the successful man of affairs; watery, like the peculiar, far-off introspection of the first-borne.
a grey light: uncertain, like a tinge cast through a solitary window; shimmering, like a copper beech bathed in midnight’s glow; swirling, like the mist of the only highly improbable; polished like the coffee-pot of omniscience; bright, like the moon on the Tor; foreboding, like the dawn of long-shouldered reckoning or a significance of almost-too-late; inevitable, mayhap, if one’s spectacles are tinted.
a wearisome grey metropolis: stone-hard, like the pavement of London-town, dusty, like its streets, dead, like its winter evening’s gloom, slate, like its wind-yielding, brick-wielding roofs; prosaic, so unlike the wispy heather-tuft curve, the gleaming half-shadow companion, of the moor; low, commonplace, so unlike the ancient clay of a Tudor chimney, rising high, crumbling singularly, keeping silent vigil over bucolic wickedness.
a grey rhythm: jaunty, like the dappled double-time clip-clop of unmistakable hooves afore aniseeded wheels; brazen, like the splendid clop-clip of a pair of high-steppers in the shafts of an old yellow barouche; swift, like a Blaze of horseflesh.
a grey cry: tinkly, like a pane broken by crack-shot aim; jingly, like coins dropped for pity, for work, for play, for ruse, for greed.
a grey noise: plinking, like the glug of pond-soaked loot, dripping; splashing, like Rapunzel tresses dashed where they lay; quiet, like the press of a note’s blotting, silent, like a treaty unfurled, scratching, like a cypher of revenge.
a drop of grey bitters on the tongue: ashen, like a tell-tale Trichinopoly; pearly, like the chaulk means-end of a point dissolved in milk.
a taste of grey smoke: burnt, like a coil set to roust a crouching evil; subtle, like the perfumed exhale of a dove suspended in air.
a touch of a grey pair of trousers: baggy, like the shepherd’s check of a ginger fool; coarse, like the Harris tweed of a phantom angel; soft, like the swagger of flannel beneath a Panama.
a lady’s grey: worn, like a typewritist’s glove; smooth, like a tidy little handbag of crocodile skin; coldly comforting, like old Spanish pendant within reach; silky, like a dress, trimmed with ostrich feathers; sombre, like a dress, untrimmed, unbraided, yet unmatched in memory; portentous, like a shock of grey in the dark near-doom of a step-daughter.
a grey Sherlock Holmes: warm, like a long cloak that shields ‘gainst journey’s soot; icy, like veins frozen to bursting by anger’s sudden winter storm; supple, like the plumes of a lank bird at study; variable, like austere clouds parting to reveal a fundament of twinkling amusement; quick, like darting questioning glances in every direction; sharp, like rapiers; mouse, like the embrace of an old familiar dressing gown.
…of Victorian grey.
Chapter 13: Ice Skating and Holmes & Watson's Ice Dance (Alliterisn, Complex & Rhyming)
The first poem is a Complex Alliterisen. The second is a Rhyming Alliterisen.
Both are for this month's LJ Holmes Minor comm poetry challenge.
The prompt for the first is ice-skating policemen, and the second is the following quote from "The Beryl Coronet."
Several times during our homeward journey I endeavoured to sound him upon the point, but he always glided away to some other topic, until at last I gave it over in despair.
The first poem is rated Gen. The second is rated Teen for Holmes/Watson innuendo.
We slip, slide. Gloves grip as grins glide,
yours curtly cutting, mine churlish chutting.
Our skates scrape, skit, skirt, flit, flirt,
fillet fresh-eyed fish under-boots brute.
Silent sound, urge unfound
to tell truths knighted, nimble-nice
We weave, dodge on thimble-thin ice.
Holmes & Watson's Ice Dance
My entreaties endeavour
to cleave claws, handsome, clever
from ‘round-pond skating, skirting.
They toy, tease, ever flirting
‘bout timely topics, now’s news.
My pink point, would they peruse,
chance, charm, ere the sport grows cold.
Chapter 14: Jeeves & the Violet (Quintilla)
Title: Jeeves and the Violet
Written for: Debriswoman
Poetic Form: Quintilla
Notes: Violet Hunter (COPP)/Reginald Jeeves (from Jeeves & Wooster); the prompt was a romance for one of the Violets & the conversation heart MISS YOU.
Miss Violet Hunter, head of school,
had many codes but just one rule.
She shepherded her lambs with care,
attended matters miniscule,
but never, ever cut her hair.
One day, a tiny tempest swirled
into Miss Hunter’s ordered world.
Before the school, a carriage crashed,
and from its bow, a lord was hurled.
The teachers screamed. The pupils dashed.
Miss Hunter followed in their wake,
concerned life, limb might be at stake.
From carriage wrecked and scene disturbed
emerged one jolly, muddy rake
and gent’s own gent most unperturbed.
“What ho, what ho!” the rake exclaimed.
“Old Yaxley’s Lord, though Bertie named.”
He smoothed his hair. He brushed his sleeves.
“Don’t fret. Just bent. Nothing maimed.
And this, you see, is my man Jeeves.”
“This time machine’s bit rummy, no?
To make the thingagummy go
is nothing like my two-seater.
Just hang on tight, cry, ‘Mummy! Whoa!’
Then, ‘What, ho!’ on quick repeater.”
Some girls a-titter, some agog.
most teachers staring, in a fog
Miss Hunter solemnly took charge,
invited rake and gent’s stuffed frog
to school. ‘Not types to be at large.’
Miss Hunter thought. The rake’s odd charm
did much to gallantly disarm
with jaunty step and curious tongue
the fears and doubts of miss and marm.
And very soon, heads, hearts were won.
Miss Hunter herself much preferred
a company much less absurd,
so whilst the valet tended clothes
Miss Vi stood by, chatted, observed
‘There’s quite a lot this man Jeeves knows.’
The lord was forced to wear, meantime,
Nick’s robe from Christmas pantomime,
not having garb for gents about.
He feasted, frolicked, looked sublime.
and even passed term prizes out!
Miss Hunter showed Jeeves ‘round the grounds.
Affection grew by leaps and bounds,
exchange of wisdoms practical
whilst ol’ St. Nick taught ‘hare and hounds’
and whatzits most didactical.
A picnic followed, then some songs
‘Minnie Moocher’ in flutes and gongs.
Then master bid their steed set right.
“One must return where one belongs.”
A sad-eyed Jeeves said, “Yes, sir. Quite.”
Miss Hunter watched Jeeves fix the coach
and felt, for once, the need to broach
her murky past ‘mongst copper trees.
The tale was told without reproach,
but brought the valet to his knees.
“Les mots justes, I’m compelled to say,
vous êtes une femme formidable.”
Miss Hunter blushed. He took her hand.
“I wish—" he said. Said she, “Don’t stay.
He’d miss you more. I understand.”
At guests’ farewell, all were waving,
brimmed with ways of misbehaving
“Home, Jeeves! No horses shall you spare!”
Stiff nods ‘twas all hearts dared braving
ere coach became a puff of air.
The days were long, with vexation
Then there he was! With elation,
he smiled, then bowed, bid, “May I stay?”
then offering curt explanation:
“He took up the banjolele.”
Like hands inside well-tailored gloves,
like pairs of clever turtle doves,
they fit and met with much success.
And now each night Miss Hunter loves
that her long hair is deftly pressed.
Chapter 15: The Virtues of Violets (Quatern)
Poetic Form: Quatern
The Language of Flowers gives the meaning of blue violet as faithfulness, dame violet as watchfulness, and yellow violet as rustic happiness. The stanzas refer to the Violets from BRUC, SOLI, COPP, and ILLU, respectively. For the LJ Holmes Minor February prompt: the violet.
The virtue of the violet is
faithfulness. Words spoken with
pride, in defense of honor true,
when love is silent, buried, slain.
Sweet like birdsong, spring morn’s dew,
the virtue of the violet is
the joy of rustic happiness,
pedaling down the country lane.
A catching eye, a straining ear,
a care-placed step in noon-day dark,
the virtue of the violet is
watchfulness, vigilance well-masked.
Faith in treachery, joy in ease,
blindness to danger, these burdens
rest on she who will not know what
the virtue of the violet is.
Chapter 16: The Rose Speech Sonnet (English Sonnet)
An English sonnet made from The Rose Speech in "The Naval Treaty" for gardnerhill's birthday.
A dainty blend of vermillion and green
a-droop arrests those curious eyes of his;
it sparks a light of something novel, keen
and cry of ‘What a lovely thing this is!’
‘So unlike bread, this handsome bloom; indeed,
its scent and colour, life’s embellishments,
they rise above the base of human need
and manifest the good of Providence.
For only goodness give gifts like these,
so far from the necessity of life.
Assurance, this, I seek, I find, I seize
in coarsest days, in times of trouble, strife.
When all is said and written, I propose,
we’ve much to hope for in this,’ sigh, ‘this rose!’
Chapter 17: Lavender (Puente. Holmes/Mary/Watson.)
Poetic Form: Puente
Notes: Holmes/Mary/Watson; for the LJ Holmes-Minor comm poetry prompt of perfumes and the Poly Shipping Day prompt for February: lavender.
Beneath the violet-coloured sky, a violet-coloured field exhaled its perfumed breath,
its scent as known to all as English garden prose, as heralded for loveliness.
It vowed to work-worn maid, domestic sweetness, and to doomed crusader, fragrant death.
A prim bouquet of purple blooms as strong and true as milky tea with governess.
So commonplace its charm, so near, so dear, ubiquitous its spell to have under
The one, the all, these three, to have beneath the sky, betwixt the stems of lavender.
~ Ours was a lavender marriage ~
We walked beneath a plum-wine sky and drank too deep of heady fields of lavender
and hand in hand in hand decided path too short for other’s rules to live under.
Let true affection guide our steps, said we, not nurs’ry governess with milky tea,
and so, we laid beneath the sky and strew about bouquets of little, fragrant deaths
and wondered, as we wished our craft of three a maiden voyage calm on tumult sea,
how long had we to reap this love, to exhale sweet perfume and never catch our breaths.
“Puente” means bridge in Spanish. This form was invented by James Rasmusson. Constructed in 3 stanzas, the 1st and 3rd are separate thoughts but share an equal number of lines and the center, bridge stanza. The middle stanza is one line and is enclosed in tildes (~) to distinguish itself as both the last line of the first stanza and the first line of the last stanza.
Chapter 18: Exalted (Parallelismus Membrorum)
Poetic form: Parallelismus Membrorum.
Notes: for the LJ Holmes Minor quote prompt: He would hardly reply to my questions, and busied himself all evening in an abstruse chemical analysis which involved much heating of retorts and distilling of vapors, ending at last in a smell which fairly drove me out of the apartment. (SIGN)
Exalted is the name, shouted from the rooftops, of the natural philosopher who sets his peers’ cobwebbed doctrines aflame with the fruits of his abstruse efforts, the heating of retorts and the distillation of vapours.
But woe is the name, shouted from windows flung open, of the incorrigible tenant, of the insufferable co-lodger, who sets his landlady’s curtains, and his companion’s Clark Russell, afire with the sparks of wick’d and wicked burners, condemning all to a collective fit of the vapours.
Parallelismus Membrorum or grammatical parallelism is of traditional Hebrew origin and dates back to biblical times. It is an independent clause presenting parallels or opposites in balance using contrasting and complimentary extensions. The verse employs the same grammatical elements for each side of the parallel. This pattern is often used in prose poetry or is written in long lines often broken at the caesura into couplets making 2 short lines, 4 to 6 words each.
Chapter 19: Orange Blossoms (Pantoum)
Title: Orange Blossoms
Poetic form: Pantoum (with an extra line at the end)
Notes: Stanza 1 & 4 refer to Queen Victoria; Stanza 2 Irene Adler and Stanza 3 Hatty Doran of "The Noble Bachelor." Venus' car means 'fly away with me' and common laurel 'perfidy.'
In the year eighteen-forty,
orange blossoms for the bride
in manner regal, courtly.
Dye was cast as tears were cried.
“Orange blossoms for the bride?”
“If Venus’ car too rare.”
Dye was cast as tears were cried.
“I’ve two grooms too rapt to care.”
“If Venus’ car too rare,
why not a common laurel?
I’ve two grooms too rapt to care
about my choices floral.”
“Why not a common laurel
in manner regal, courtly?”
About my choices floral,
in the year eighteen-forty,
dye was cast as tears were cried.
The pantoum is a form of poetry similar to a villanelle in that there are repeating lines throughout the poem. It is composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first. The pattern continues for any number of stanzas, except for the final stanza, which differs in the repeating pattern. The first and third lines of the last stanza are the second and fourth of the penultimate; the first line of the poem is the last line of the final stanza, and the third line of the first stanza is the second of the final. Ideally, the meaning of lines shifts when they are repeated although the words remain exactly the same: this can be done by shifting punctuation, punning, or simply recontextualizing. A four-stanza pantoum is common (although more may be used), and in the final stanza, lines one and three from the first stanza can be repeated, or new lines can be written.
Chapter 20: Otto (Palidrome poem)
A palindrome poem can be read forwards and backwards. This poem may or may not reappear in an ACD series/collection I am contemplating about perfume, specifically a ficlet related to the valuable attar (or otto) of roses used in perfumery. Also, a hint of the Rose Speech of "The Naval Treaty." Also, this poem is purposefully a true drabble, or 100 words, to represent the one-hundred leafed rose used in making the attar.
providentially-bestowed gift, mine,
senses-all, with wealth, observe
see here, smell here,
oil and water of aroma un-mixing,
muddling scent-hound following fragrant trail.
Absolute in fortune-seeking, darkness-cloaked villains betray
pieces puzzle like ruffled petals pink.
scent, is distilled
distilled, is scent.
pink petals ruffled like puzzle pieces,
betray villains. Darkness-cloaked, fortune-seeking in absolute
trail fragrant following, hound-scent muddling,
un-mixing aroma of oil and water.
Here smell, here see,
observe wealth with all senses,
mine gift, bestowed providentially,
Chapter 21: Rye-Sticks (Nonsense poem)
Nonsense poem patterned on "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll.
April is National Poetry Month!
So expect a lot of verse as well as fic inspired by verse.
So Watsick, and the slothing sloves
Do glume and glomphrum ‘bout the frem
No whimsy for one’s cricket-hoves
And the lingsters must rehm.
“Begone these Rye-tricks, oh, my woes,
the tendrils foul, mendacious plague
of mineral-speckled spite that goes
pum-TUM, like spectral vague.”
Cruel sword and shield refuse to speak
and trenchant stains the yearnament
abound elixirs, foolscap, teak
a tea-soaked firmament.
Whilst bogged in slogamund repose
I spy the Rye-tricks seeping in.
They ither-ick of slime most crowse
a silent seeping din.
Thud-shug upon the steps and rug,
and pests all fade like autumn misted
all banish-ed, all drained pull-plug
with draught of joy untwisted.
“Oh, shall my days be Watswell ones,
rye-tricks made sticks for treacle fire?
To death well-put what grain begun,
restored soul’s calm desire.”
No Watsick, no more slothing sloves
no gluming glomphrum-rumping frems
bouquets for all the cricket-hoves,
and just one lingster rehms.
"Oh, Holmes," I sighed. "I was only gone a week!"
Chapter 22: The Doctor and the Lazarus Sleuth
Post-Hiatus reunion verse patterned on "The Walrus and the Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll.
Though spring was springing everywhere,
singing like a lark,
‘twas shoot of March, not April’s buds,
which, ‘pon me, scratched a mark;
‘a line of least resistance’ quest
led me across the Park.
From Park to Lane, that eventide
washed up like unsliced bread
upon the pavement, I looked up
at window overhead
and wished a lively plain-clothes sleuth
a dapper one, long-dead.
Disgusted, I withdrew and turned,
but then, to my chagrin,
I trod upon a poor old man
and to compound the sin,
a few of his much-treasured tomes
were sent to ground, a-spin.
Once set to rights, with snarl, he fled,
Still puzzled, I adjourned
to study for to brood upon
the mystery concerned
And, lo! In haste appeared the man
whose books I’d overturned.
He offered me a British Birds.
He offered Catallus
He offered me The Holy War
in volumes numerous,
He bid me pardon for his gruff
with charm quite humourous.
I turned away, then turned right back
and, much to my surprise,
there stood a ghost where peddler’d been
I stared with wild surmise
until a swooning mist fogged all
before my very eyes.
I must have been mistaken, no,
I must have been confused.
Of such a notion crazed my mind
must soon be disabused.
I tasted brandy on my lips
and then, the haze diffused.
Believe the unbelievable,
it seemed a Hobson’s choice,
but for familiar turn of phrase
in well-remembered voice.
A spirit carved of flesh and bone,
a reason to rejoice!
“Apologies one thousand, friend,
and pardons even more
for such a shock and three years’ pain,
I’ve much to answer for.
A shameful bit of drama this,
to shake you to the core.”
“But can it be?” I cried aloud,
releasing sinew thin.
Then, scarcely trusting senses mine
I grasped his arms again.
“But, tell me how you came alive
expelled from death’s own den.”
“The time has come,” my old friend said,
“To talk, to tell, to share:
Of Falls and stalls and funeral palls
Of plans made wet, laid bare.
And how to best escape a trap
is never to be there.
My note to you was true enough.
Your note, I knew, pretense
to quit from play my strongest piece,
to weaken my defense.
Upon your exit, I prepared
for confrontation tense.
My enemy appeared forthwith.
We sparred with word and fist.
But in the end, ‘twas him, not me
who perished in the mist.
But ere he reached his grave, I had
my plan to not exist.
To sweep the whole of spider’s web,
to see its ruin through
to live as ghost, a clever scheme
but to a friend, to you
conscripted unawares and pained
a dismal thing to do.
I traveled south, I traveled east
I traveled far and wide
as mouse to Moriarty’s cats
in game of seek-and-hide,
lamenting with each breath the lack
of Watson by my side.
But one foe left, I thought of home,
and then the Park Lane case
arose. I dare not waste the chance
to claim my name, my place,
my work, my address, most of all,
my Boswell’s shining face.
There’ll be more time, my dear old man,
to talk of three years gone,
but now’s the hour for action swift.
May I rely upon
your loyal aid, your shrewd response,
and, mayhap, your pistol drawn?”
“They’re yours, of course, whenever bid,”
I swore with solemn truth.
“Hurrah,” he cried. “Ere dawn, we’ll have
that tiger by the tooth!”
“And then?” he said. “It’s home,” I said.
“for Doctor and his Sleuth.”
Chapter 23: Headache (Musette)
Context: Holmes states in canon he can identify 75 perfumes. These two imagine him conducting such study at 221B and the effect of the fumes of 75 perfumes on Mrs. Hudson.
in air, alive,
all breath, they thrive
dear Mister Holmes
or it's all down
my patience's on
The Musette, created by Emily Romano is a poem that consists of three verses of three lines each. The first lines have two syllables; the second lines have four syllables, and the third lines have two syllables. The rhyme scheme is a/b/a for the first verse; c/d/c for the second verse, and e/f/e for the third verse. The title should reflect the poem’s content.
Chapter 24: Ex-Libris: The Book Belongs to Lady Frances Carfax (minimonoverse) [Warning for violence & ref to rape]
Title: Ex-Libris: This Story Belongs to Lady Frances Carfax
Length: 24 (poem) + 221b x 3
Warning: Darkfic! Violence (torture, murder) and a non-graphic reference to rape.
Notes: The poem is a minimonoverse. The art is by me!
Summary: The buried alive communes with the buried dead, then murders the Honorable and the dishonorable, respectively.
Edited to add the damn poem. Sorry!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
from fry pan
to fire ran,
flee a man,
snag a plan.
hare turned hound.
I once believed flaws to be physically burdensome, invisible weights which compounded over a lifetime, curling the spine; now I know: weakness, and, yes, sin, is confining, rigidly suffocating like the wooden walls of this double-berth coffin.
Each mistake, misstep, misjudgment, misperception that I have committed since memory began, upon its consideration, takes the form of a moth, with fluttering wings that caress my desiccated skin and tiny mouths that nip at the chloroformed cotton-wool swathing my head.
I should have been more guarded around the Reverend Doctor Shlessinger and his sister, less taken in by their performances of piety. I should have left my jewels in the bank. I should have been cleverer in eluding Philip.
I should have…I should have…I should have…
I should have taken Marie into my full confidence, and if not Marie, then someone. I should have written to Susan of the whole matter. I should have known what trustworthy looked like.
But how? I do not even trust myself.
Nevertheless, for all I’ve done and all I’ve failed to do, I have paid. In physical suffering. In mental torment. In the cold slap of a hand and the cold slap of the realisation that were it not for my obstinacy at having my pretty things near, I might just be alive.
Instead of alive, buried.
The moths nibble at my swaddling until I dare open my eyes.
I can see, but it is a strange sight.
I have shifted since my interment, turned like a roasting suckling on a spit, and now I face my fellow-lodger.
She is an emaciated figure, a wornout wreck. Her shriveled skull cracks and she squawks like a parrot.
The moths have provisioned me with an egress for speech, too.
“Go on. Go on.”
The moths swarm ‘round my mouth, taking hold of my tongue and pulling gently. The bandages prevent any movement of my head, so I must wait until the procession crosses my line of vision.
The moths float, bearing a thin, trailing ribbon upon which is written:
…stupidity, ignorance, fragility, pride, childishness, unkindness, despair, denial, greed, sloth…
With every word, a bit of life-breath departs. I expel the last as the wooden walls press. No tears survive for the last rite. Then…
The tail of the ribbon ripples by, then disappears in the cavernous maw of my companion. She swallows the moths, too, and with a coquettish twinkle in sunken sockets, cries,
“I never acted upon my lusts. They are not, in themselves, confessable.”
She tut-tuts. She tsk-tsks.
“You are one of the most dangerous classes in the world.”
“It’s ready,” says Marie.
She’s worked her delicate hands to bleeding with the shovel. I have aided her in the task when I haven’t been carving the word ‘coarse’ and ‘rough’ into the flesh of the Honorable Phillip Green.
“Un véritable sauvage?” I ask, studying my handiwork. The memory of a scullery maid lays as heavy and cold on my breast as a Spanish brooch.
Susan snorts. “Let me finish him. For little Annie. And her mum.”
I nod and hand her the knife.
I waste no time with the Revered Doctor Shlessinger. I do, however, with his missus, but it is time, indeed, wholly wasted for she never ceases her foul blathering and her horrid screeching and her demon hissing. She dies as blind and cruel as she lived, but I pity her enough to dig a separate grave, that she might have what she once denied, the dignity of being buried alone.
Everything is scrubbed and swept and burned, and we sleep for days in an odd little configuration of beds and cots that suits us just fine. When we wake, I invite Mister Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to dine, and one day, the latter arrives bearing the former’s apologies.
Doctor Watson pronounces the roasted chicken most toothsome, and we, three foxes, look at each other and beam.
The Mini-monoverse is a poetry form originated by Emily Romano. Each Mini-monoverse is made up of two stanzas of five three-syllable lines. They rhyme scheme is a/a/a/a/a for the first stanza and b/b/b/b/b for the second stanza. For a double Mini-monoverse just add two more stanzas.
Chapter 25: Four Seasons, Four Sonnets, in Sussex: Winter (English sonnet)
Poetic Form: English sonnet
Notes: Retirement!lock, Holmes/Watson, sonnet + drabble
a quickening, thickening, dazzling snow
a twirly, swirly, whirly, snip-laced shawl
a twilight-ning, tree-whit’ning crystal show
a crisscross, whisk-frost, hurry-curried fall
I sit and watch from cosy cat-like perch
whilst scent of vintage grape-gasp spiced to mull
perfumes our quiet haven like a church,
with naught but vintage snores to crack the lull.
oh, bite-ful, frightful, skeleton-grip cold
oh, lashing, gnashing wind of wasp-like sting
oh, bitter rogue no cell could ever hold
oh, numb-dumb trudge-ons that its bludgeons bring.
I gaze, transfixed, by bleakest blank tableau
content to gawk whilst I’ve nowhere to go!
At the press of lips to my neck, I started, surprised that I hadn’t noted the absence of snoring or the approaching shuffle of worn slippers.
“Snow storms, too, my dear Watson? And here I thought my only rival for your attention were those bloody seed catalogues.”
“Shall we discuss the bees?” I retorted, wrenching my gaze from the winter scene beyond the pane to raise an eyebrow and cast a hard look behind me.
“Oh, is that mulled wine I smell?” he remarked off-handedly before planting a quick kiss on my cheek and beating a hasty retreat to the kitchen.
Chapter 26: Spring (Italian sonnet)
Poetic Form: Italian sonnet
Notes: Retirement!lock, Holmes/Watson, poem + drabble
At spring’s first breath, we burst like song upon the earth.
My spade’s sharp blade awakes the sleeping soil like drum.
From skep to shed, your head, like bees, flit-flirts, at hum.
At toil, we grunt like swine as winter’s schemes give birth.
No time for tea, we work, aware of each hour’s worth.
I heave great stones abed and sow fine pips a-thrum.
You fret, inspecting combs a-piece and hives in sum.
At dusk, we rush, compelled by dying light, warmth’s dearth.
But why? I catch your eye and wonder why we choose
to toil like burdened beasts on such a festooned day
The beasts themselves, the birds and bees and beetles, too,
are drawn and driven. We, in autumn’s stage, might lose
an afternoon to watching tender shoots at sway
on spring’s first breath and leave for ‘morrow ‘morrow’s due.
“Come on! Let’s take a walk. It will all be there tomorrow.”
“It might rain tomorrow.”
“My knee says it won’t, and as if a bit of rain would stop you.”
“You’re stopping me.”
“Let’s take advantage of such a day.”
“That’s just what I was doing!”
“It’s too glorious to potter about.”
“That’s not what I was doing.”
“We’re retired. What is the point of retirement if one works as hard, but without compensation?”
“There is compensation, perhaps not financial.”
“Look at the sky. What is the name of that purple flower?”
“I haven’t a clue.”
“You are retired.”
Chapter 27: Summer (Curtal Sonnet)
Poetic Form: curtal sonnet
Notes: Retirement!lock, Holmes/Watson, poem + drabble, inspired by the fanart Isn't retirement fun? by Ireallyshouldbedrawing.
A languid rose-head heaves a weary sigh
and droops, pink petals scorched, pale perfume rank,
while gossamer silks spread, then cease to be
a-flutter, folding slowly, by the by,
resigned to stillness, save the fan of frank
miasma, summer’s hazy waves of sea.
Not us, for we are truant little boys
at heart, too full of mischief, tad-pole prank,
We race towards sky, say farewell merrily
to land, good day to blissful summer joys,
“It’s too hot to potter about.”
“It’s too hot to move.”
“No breeze at all. Even in the shade, it’s dismal.”
“Nothing to be done, my dear man.”
“No! There is something!”
“What are you doing?”
“Finding my bathing costume, then racing you.”
“What?! Racing me to where?”
“To Lover’s Leap!”
“Perhaps a touch of sun, but I’m so tired of wilting and sweating.”
“Damn, my knee!”
“Good Lord! You’re serious. All right, all right, let’s go—wait, winner’s prize?”
“Dishes for a week?”
“Deal. And first turn as ‘wicked sea monster’?”
“Good Lord! You’re on!”
The curtal sonnet is a form invented by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and used in three of his poems. It is an eleven-line (or, more accurately, ten-and-a-half-line) sonnet, but rather than the first eleven lines of a standard sonnet it consists of precisely ¾ of the structure of a Petrarchan sonnet shrunk proportionally.
Chapter 28: Autumn (Caudate sonnet)
Poetic Form: Caudate sonnet
Notes: Retirement!lock, Holmes/Waston, poem + drabble
The world is draining fast of colour, light
and warmth. Midsummer’s bouquet giving way
to withered shades of brown and brittle blight,
the hues of fallen trees that seep decay.
Encroaching night, which casts a greying pall
on all, which pilfers vernal-minted coins of gold,
enchants a tempest-dirge, a dark-cloud squall
of doubt and melancholy manifold.
The cold! Oh, worst of all, the chill that creeps!
Its tendrils curl ‘round breath and pulse like vines.
The bitter company it mulls and keeps
the wormwood ciders, the rotten, rancid wines.
But autumn’s rich designs!
of honeyed crimson, pumpkin, aubergine
of cloaked embrace, warm brush of candle sheen.
“You ruined my sonnet, Watson!”
“Hello to you, too. Your sonnet was gloomy. I gave it a volta.”
“It’s meant to be gloomy—all the way through. It’s about autumn.”
“You overdid it yesterday.”
“You’re not my—!”
“The liniment I ordered arrived at the post office. It will do you a world of good.”
“Liniment? Ugh. Autumn’s hideous.”
“Autumn’s lovely. And so are you. And don’t think of it as liniment, think of it as balm, which will be very lovingly applied while the cider warms.”
“Cider? Well, you still ruined my sonnet.”
A caudate sonnet is an expanded version of the sonnet. It consists of 14 lines in standard sonnet forms followed by a coda.
Chapter 29: Ex-Libris: This Story Belongs to Mary Sutherland (Minimonoverse. Warning for patricide & eye-gouging)
Title: Ex-Libris: The Story Belongs to Mary Sutherland.
Rating: Mature for dark themes. No sex.
Poetic Form: Minimonoverse
Notes: poem + ficlet (221b x 3), darkfic, implied Mary Sutherland/Eugenia Rounder, supernatural elements, with my own fan art.
Warnings: patricide & self-mutilation (eye-gouging).
Summary: Two by two, Mary rids herself of what she cannot trust.
plop! plop! plop!
out damned pop
with a lop
full glott stop
Two slumps. Two thumps.
Two teacups crashing onto the table, rolling, then dropping onto the floor.
There are many ways to murder one’s family, I suppose. Arsenic in the tea’s as good as any.
…your fiancé, Mister Hosmer Angel…your stepfather, James Windibank…the loss of a hundred a year…
My question is: is it my eyes or my mind which failed me as badly as my mother and father?
If I had seen clearly, I would have recognised the deceit. I would have known that my fiancé, Hosmer Angel was, in fact, also my stepfather, James Windibank. My mother and my stepfather counted on my blindness as much as they counted on my hundred pounds a year.
Well, they will count on neither and nothing else, ever again.
Corrective lenses are not the answer, for hadn’t my Angel worn tinted glasses?
The answer is to rid myself of what cannot be trusted.
Two are gone. Two are left.
I do not recognise the deep baritone, nor do I stir.
I sit, still and silent, on the kitchen floor, propped against a wall with, like Lucia of Syracuse, a large curling frond of a scarlet feather in one hand and my eyes on a saucer in the other.
Such is the punishment for betrayal.
Doctor Watson’s face is buried in the basin of my cupped hands.
“I’m so terribly sorry,” he mutters, then the weight of his head, the touch of his features, the warmth of his choked sob, are gone, leaving behind tears and a smear of wax whose scent will linger long after he has taken his leave.
“Mister Holmes and I owe you a thousand apologies, Miss Sutherland. We had no idea that you be so affected.”
Men’s are the foulest of melodies, and what they do not know about me could fill the firmament.
Nevertheless, I like Doctor Watson. His voice is like Harris tweed or the coat of a well-brushed spaniel.
“You will receive the best of care. Of no less quality than your legal counsel. Anything you require, please, beg it of us.”
Shall I beg his silence that I might hear the birds in the trees and not his warbling?
“Thank you, Doctor Watson.”
“But, Miss Sutherland…”
He, like everyone, wants to take the mirrors from my eyes, but he shan’t have them. I want every look to be cast back at the gazer.
They do not understand me? They do not understand themselves.
They pity me? They pity themselves.
They are disgusted? Well.
“Not until an acceptable alternative presents itself.”
I hear his solemn bow.
“You have a visitor, Miss Sutherland.”
I sit up.
Sparrows flee. Seed spills.
Unlikely, unless he’s shaved his moustache.
“Miss Sutherland, my name is Eugenia Ronder.”
There is a something in her voice, something that is not pity or curiosity or disgust or bafflement.
“I am an acquaintance of Mister Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.”
“Doctor Watson thought…”
Oh, bother what Doctor Watson thinks!
“I am widow, and I’d rather you call me….”
“And I’d rather you call tomorrow. A pair of sparrows were just about to nest in my eyes.”
“Unlikely. You are using the wrong seed.”
“How do you know?”
“I was once part of a circus. Any animal that could be tamed was.”
“Bring me the right seed, and you may tell me your story.”
I see the blue bottle of Prussic acid so clearly that I can smell its almond exhale when uncorked.
“I’ve wanted to come for some time, but I dared not until…”
“I grew weary of reflecting other’s shame. I prefer listening to the birds, but my eyes are too small for proper nests.”
“But not too small for proper perches.”
Two noises. Two spasms of air.
“I have not laughed for a very long time, Miss Sutherland.”
“It is like birdsong.”
Chapter 30: Ex-Libris: This Story Belongs to the Shoscombe Spaniel
Title: The Shoscombe Spaniel
Rating: Teen for dark themes
Length: 25 (minimonoverse, a variation on) + 221b x 3
Warning: Non-graphic bestiality and murder
Notes: POV Animal, my own fan art.
Summary: Lady Beatrice Falder loves her dog.
Poor Lady Bea
‘midst fly and flea.
Beast’s burden clipped
to add postscript
to life foul-gripped,
cruel-binned in crypt.
She calls me her one true love, and perhaps I am, for I do love her and have loved her since my eyes first opened.
My place is at her heel. That is where I belong.
She reads me stories and calls me her knight-errant.
I love her, but my love cannot save her, neither from the greed that surrounds her nor the weakness of her own heart.
She calls me her darling, her joy.
Sometimes her eyes are hungry. Sometimes she bids me lie beside her.
I do, but as soon as her breath evens, I slip to the rug.
She calls me her handsome lad. She brushes my coat for hours, stroke by stroke, from pleasure to numbness.
My favourite hour is when we visit the stables. Only then is there a bit of slack in the lead of her love. While she showers affection on the Shoscombe Prince, I sneak away to watch the Duke.
He is slower than the Prince but not nearly as haughty.
I watch his galloping legs. I woof my shameless appreciation.
He trots toward the fence. He bends his head.
I sniff. He sniffs.
He snorts. I bark. We race.
But far too soon the race is over.
She calls me her everything, her God and her all.
Poor Lady Beatrice.
Her hand reaches for me, then droops.
I bark my alarm, my fear, and, as it turns out, my farewell.
They smell fouler than ever. They carry her away.
I am her knight-errant. My place is by her side!
I follow. I bark.
They remove her to the well-house.
I howl their treachery, my pain, into the night’s sky.
My love! My lady! Trapped!
My place is by her side!
I flee the inn as soon as I arrive.
Mad for the loss of her, I am tethered and left to mourn in a corner.
Until a fellow arrives asking what I am worth.
To one, I am worth everything.
Her God and her all!
The fellow takes my lead.
We journey home.
My lady! My love!
Loosed, I charge!
Not her, but a beast wrapped in her scents and her sounds.
Where is she, you blackguard?
“…Dogs don’t make mistakes…”
This fellow is an intelligent breed. I might offer my services as companion if the position were not already filled.
I remain at his heel for the afternoon. My reward is a handsome trout, the first food that has tempted since her hand drooped.
At night, I follow this smart fellow to the old chapel and
I fly to Duke’s stall. In the morning, when they try to remove me, he makes such a disturbance that they allow me to stay. After that, I spend most of my days around the stables, free come and go as I please.
Oh, the leadless life!
Sometimes, I howl for sheer joy.
My love for her fades with every butterfly chased. There is no heel, no hunger, nothing to beg obedience, save a memory.
This memory I keep, however, for a little while longer. I was never her knight-errant, but I find myself very much wanting to be her avenger.
I watch him, the one who so often made her cry and curse and reach for me, and after many moons, I spy him heading towards the old chapel.
I hurry ahead of him and silently flatten myself across one of the steps that lead down to the stone box which holds her bones.
When the moment arrives, his boot is so sharp and heavy that I fear it may break my back in half. Nevertheless, when its weight and its violence are upon me, I summon all her love and distill all my rage.
Neither his scream of terror nor his gasp of comprehension nor even the snap of his neck is drowned out by my barking.
Chapter 31: a dozen haikus
Title: a dozen haiku
Notes: haiku x 12 (one for each of the stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)
1. March. Blows in proud King.
Blows out woman. The Woman.
Storm turned farewell breeze.
2. league of autumn hues
fiery red drawn (to, by) gold
(falls, is run) to ground
3. Love’s spring hides winter’s
avarice. The seasons of
4. June’s glass, unlike past,
twenty-nine, holding steady
in Boscombe Valley.
5. Equinoctial gale
gives the innocent, guilty
the September pip.
6. Orange blossom brides
left for season-less den,
a twisted June Boone.
7. Holly and Mercy,
Yuletide spirits are best served
when your goose is cooked.
8. home-grown wickedness
fear’s no April fool
9. midsummer garden
beds of bloomin’ trick-me-lots
a phantom green thumb
10. bleak autumnal eve
relics, noble and less so,
throw their weight about
11. bright February
sun on snow dazzles like gems
blinds like gold-set truth
12. flight from yellow fog
a certain Copper horror
a nip in the air
Chapter 32: the ABCs of Ghoulish (Untold) Glee (abecedarian)
In the style of Edward Gorey;s Gashlycrumb Tinies and other works. References many of the 'untold cases' which are mentioned in canon but not fully discussed.
A is for Abernettys who peddled gutter-soup,
the family recipe be-spoilt by herb-in-butter droop.
B is for British barrow and the horrors it contained:
an ancient curse preserved in verse; a corpse intact, de-veined.
C is for Crosby, banker drained by repulsive leech.
“Stop! That sucker’s my aunt!” ‘twas his last beseech.
D is for Dundas, who threw teeth at the missus,
just ‘cause there ‘weren’t no bite in ‘em kisses.’
E is for Etheredge, the incorrigible ‘Wolf!’ crier
who went out for a smoke and came back on fire.
F for Farintosh who lost her tiara
trading her jewels for the Devil’s chimaera.
G is for Grice Pattersons on the island of Uffa
breeding dogs with sheep to much sorrow and ‘Woof-ba!’
H is for Huret, that bane of French streets,
wrung to death by a char with the week’s dirty sheets.
I is for Isidora, he of maddening worm,
whose spoon-bait for jack made all the docs squirm.
J is for James, Saunders and Phillimore
the latter met former when a skin umbrella tore.
K is for King, the one in Scandinavia;
whose favourite butter-knife was found underground in Belgravia.
L is for Lizard, that Monstrous Gila,
who took her act on the road as ‘la belle Fork-Tongued Lila.’
M is for Merridew of Abominable Memory
forgot he wasn’t dead, nor kings Richard or Henry.
N is for Netherland-Sumatra Co.
that paid interest in feet, dividend in toe
O is for Old Baron Dowson
who raised vampire bats by the hundred and thousand
P for Politician who trained the clever cormorant,
but expired at a recital of Shelley’s ‘Sensitive Plant’
Q is for Queen whose knighthood was refused
for a slight ‘bout Watson’s kite that could not be excused.
R is for Railway Porter who had a rare habit
of petting his uniform and wearing his rabbit
S is for Sultan, the one of Turkey
pressed ‘tween bread, twixt cheese off ‘n’ ‘cress murky.
T is for Tankerville, where the club’s fraught with scandal
of a card-cheating Pope and his short Roman candle.
U is for Unfortunate, like that Madame Monpensier,
whose strings got yanked by an incensed puppeteer.
V is for Van, like the one in Grosvenor Square,
chocked full of legs, but not one table or chair.
W is for Wilson, he who trained poor canaries
that sang off-tune hymns and the odd ‘Aviary Mary’s.
X is for ex-Presidente Murillo
whose papers were hidden in bone-crafted bureau.
Y is for Young Perkins, killed in a bar
who choked on a joke that didn’t get very far.
Z is for Zu Grafenstein, Count Von und
saved from a Nihilist to die hot-cross-bunned.
Chapter 33: Thirty miles of Surrey air (Blank verse)
For the WW drabble prompt: 'breathe'
The line is from "The Naval Treaty": After breakfast, my dear Watson. Remember that I have breathed thirty miles Surrey air this morning.
Imagine if "The Naval Treaty" were made into a musical.
I have breathed thirty miles of Surrey air
I have appetite for three, with room to spare
But what a grand ol’ story I’ve to share
A fitting end to the whole affair
Dear Watson, you must with me bear
And Mister Phelps, oh, do take care
For my tale waits on this fine bill of fare
Curried fowl! Ham and eggs—without compare
Can’t wait to feast upon this toothsome pair
For I’ve breathed thirty miles of Surrey air
Chapter 34: Lanturne (Isa & Kate Whitney)
Poetic form: Lanturne
Three lanturne from Kate Whitney's perspective ("The Man with the Twisted Lip") and three from Isa Whitney's perspective. Then a drabble from each perspective.
Warning for angst and reference to opium use.
For the WW drabble prompts: anger & emotion
smoke, you would
surely follow it
a mistress as
lit each night
to guide your way
each night, long for
loathe my very
choice that I
can no longer
One day the tide will turn, and the shore littered with broken promises will be greater than the sea of our love.
And then I will leave everything behind.
In anger. In despair.
That day is coming, but it is not here.
Three days. He has never been gone three days before.
I fear the unimaginable, a shadow more obscure that nightmare, more horrifying than death.
What to do?
Mary. Her husband—James? John?—is a doctor. They will help.
But before I leave, I place the oil lamp in the window.
Because the tide has not turned.
There are no windows, but then there is nothing to see with eyes open. We all slip out through the tops of our heads and float in the ether like down on the breeze.
Is it day? Or night?
If it is night, then there will be a glow in a window.
I strain to see with eyes closed, but emotions, not light, surface.
Guilt, sorrow, shame…too much pain.
The only remedy is to breathe deeply and keep breathing until the pain disappears, until looking for the light is forgotten.
A shake. A grip to my shoulders.
“Whitney! Doctor Watson.”
The Lanturne is a five-line verse shaped like a Japanese lantern with a syllabic pattern of one, two, three, four, one.
Chapter 35: Ode to Hands (Sapphic ode)
Watson is ashamed of his hand fascination. Sapphic ode.
Why should mere hands hold my attention so? For
what are hands but fingers and thumbs and lined palms;
mottled, plastered, calloused and acid-stained skin;
canvas a-drape bone?
Yet. Your hands provoke that which I dare not…not…
How they grasp all, point the way, clench in rage,
fragile philosophical instruments tuned
I know I stare longer than prudent or wise.
Puppetry or sleight of magician. Art made
flesh and dwelt amongst us. Or is it just me?
Best be rid of it.
I cannot avoid observation, but might
forestall comment frank if I forced myself to
look upon the beautiful as if they were
Chapter 36: Corrie (Xenolith)
Poetic form: Xenolith
For the Holmes Minor poetry prompt of King Edward VII's coronation.
Coronation Street is a long-running British soap opera.
They paved the road the year King Edward took his seat.
The grandest spectacle it made,
the talk of tea and toast, a chin-wagging treat,
the British Empire on parade.
At Rovers Return pub, where all the thirsty meet,
all pints were raised to the king’s health
while passed us by all the king’s wealth,
a pageantry prolonged, a drama bittersweet.
Though sleuth who once refused a queen
was not amongst the knights on scene,
for knights are few, our avenue’s trod by working feet
in worker’s boots, a-watch, in crowd,
for intrigue’s rife as kitchen sink, as indiscrete.
As soldiers marched, eyes glowed proud,
out-reign a king will our Coronation Street.
The Xenolith is a 15 line poem. Seven of the lines have twelve syllables per line and are mono-rhymed. Eight of the lines have eight syllables per line and are written in rhyming couplets. You can separate the 12 syllable lines from the 8 syllable lines and have two complete poems.
Chapter 37: The only sanity is a cup of tea. (Villanelle)
Poetic form: Villanelle.
The line 'The only sanity is a cup of tea' is from the poem "Boy Breaking Glass" by Gwendolyn Brooks.
References to "The Creeping Man," "The Sussex Vampire," The Sign of Four, "The Crooked Man," "The Beryl Cornet,"and "The Boscombe Valley Mystery."
When sheer inanity is at apogee
and men choose primate over growing old
the only sanity is a cup of tea.
A Doña’s vampire spree? What insanity!
But less bizarre than sinister truth-told
when sheer inanity is at apogee.
When a gift of a pearl of a mystery
yields promise and sorrow worth more than gold,
the only sanity is a cup of tea.
A steaming cup restores a sleuth’s humanity
when following the scent false of will o’ wisps bold,
when sheer inanity is at apogee.
When performing pious acts of charity
and one’s confronted by Death’s own, paroled,
the only sanity is a cup of tea.
When a Yarder casts aside his vanity
and asks for help, tea soothes the bruise ten-fold.
When sheer inanity is at apogee
the only sanity is a cup of tea.
Chapter 38: I, Sir Arthur (Variation on a clerihew)
Title: I, Sir Arthur
Poetic Form: It started off a clerihew and grew longer.
Notes: HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIR ARTHUR!
I, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
would rather be boiled in a vat of hot oil
than have a true Renaissance vocation
reduced to him, that tiresome creation.
Why, oh, why is this world so remiss?
Won’t you recall who brought skiing to the Swiss?
And the war! Which? Why, the Boer!
You’d think that the world might
since it made me a knight.
What about bodybuilding? And Portsmouth United?
But do let’s forget when my cricket kit ignited
[Ball to matches in pocket. I went up like a rocket.]
I solved crimes! I wrote history!
I even went looking for Agatha Christie!
So many answers to so many calls,
save for those cottage girls and their damned paper dolls!
And, uh, that once I nearly poisoned myself.
Oh, why doesn’t Professor Challenger sit as proud on the shelf?
Oh, well. If you must
remember me thus
I’ll lie in repose
he who created the world’s greatest sleuth, or so the world claims,
he who begat Sherlock Holmes
and his loyal chronicler
Chapter 39: Boot! (221b verselet/6 word poem)
For the LJ Holmes Minor comm poetry prompt of boots/shoes.
A 221b verselet is a 6 word poem of 4 lines. Two words, two words, one word, one word beginning with 'b.'
Chapter 40: Hanging from a bootlace (terza rima)
Poetic form: terza rima
For the LJ Holmes Minor prompt: “I can never bring you to realise the importance of sleeves, the suggestiveness of thumb-nails, or the great issues that may hang from a boot-lace.” "A Case of Identity"
O, there, before our eyes, your words made flesh suspended.
How great, indeed, the issue that hangs from a mere lace,
There, son and heir, on whom so many, much depended!
You study noose while I, the harvested form and face.
Our journeys end in no lover’s meeting, but one thought:
a strap to bind soul to God is of uncommon place.
But where, oh, where could such Herculean cord be bought?
Our quest’s arrested by suggestiveness of thumb-nails.
“Yes, Watson, these sketches show it was carefully wrought.”
We discover the smith and sample his cat o’ tails,
a test which reminds me of the importance of sleeves!
There’s a sleuth’s cry of triumph, then a murderer’s wails.
“How one’s words, dear Holmes, can prove truer than one believes.”
“I, too, confess surprise at proverb bearing such fruit,
but how real the drama, dear Watson, inspired by leaves.
One sees the tree, the limbs, the shade, supposes the root.
How telling the sleeve, the nail, and, yes, the lace of boot.”
Chapter 41: Cornish verse (Englyn unodl union)
References to "The Devil's Foot."
looking down on Mounts Bay—old death trap
treacherous waters grey
from north to west winds betray
sinister cliffs reefs waylay
the land no less grim than sea—lonely moor
earthen ashen stone mystery
vestiges of lost history
meditations. long walks—a rest cure
curated peace. mute talks
of tinned tongues. beyond the gawk
of crowds and their patter-squawk.
But oh, the Cornish horror—devil’s foot
the evil that bore her
and kin off. brought explorer
back avenging Death. for her.
puzzle once solved, then dismissed—justice ours
the strangest of a strange list
time’s mill. chronicler’s grist.
The englyn unodl union consists of four lines of 10, 6, 7, and 7 syllables. All four lines rhyme with one another, although the rhyming syllable in the first line is usually the seventh, eighth, or ninth syllable of the line. This rhyming word is followed by a pause (called a gwant, and indicated by a dash), and the remaining one to three syllables (the cyrch) alliterate, or rhyme with the beginning of the second line. Lines 3 and 4 must feature a rhyme between stressed and unstressed syllables, as in a cywydd.
Chapter 42: three wee verse about Hound (butterfly cinquain, elfje, double reversed etheree)
Three short poems inspired by The Hound of the Baskervilles. The first is a butterfly cinquain, the second an elfje and the last a double reversed etheree.
Just bought. Unworn.
Vanished from hotel room.
Nothing to sniff about.
Snatched after black boot reappears.
Well-worn. Well-loved. Perhaps
better to go
Devil-bound hound howls
Man on the Tor
luminous, red-eyed agent of the Devil howling at the moon
pair of croaking ravens nesting on the craggy cairn
grey curlew soaring aloft in the blue heaven
pouring rain making morass of the firmest
rolling clouds rising now and then
last of the bitterns booming
flock of moor sheep
little curly-haired spaniel
dog-less, downhearted doctor
watchful, wondering, waterproofed Watson
mysterious man on the Tor
last of the Baskervilles beckoning fate
all-seeing eye of Mister Frankland’s rooftop telescope
boy bearing tinned peaches, clean collars, local-via-London news
sisters and wives, warning, aiding, heeding conscience, fearing man
butterfly-chasing villain losing his way for the very last time
Chapter 43: Turkish Delight (Blank Verse. Rating: Mature)
Watson at the Turkish bath.
Blank verse. Drabble. Rating: Mature. Oral sex.
Written for the 2018 Watson's Woes July Writing Prompts #11: A Sea of Drabbles.
dry heat drawn
scorched lungs squeeze
wilted flaccidity stirs
draping towel invites
wet lips reply
‘I will attend’
so much sweat
drips in drabbles
on sweet-scented planks
briny bodies burn
burnished blood pools
profound pulse pounds
salty oath exhaled
eyes shuttered tight
nary a peek
hips beg thrust
devilish infernal cheek
savoury suckle savoured
hissing steam rises
simmer to boil
once-halycon warmth heats
re-forged steel sings
against soft ebb-flow
hot-iron mou pressed
in saint-sebastian agony
when sought’s found
grail ground fine
swallowed spittle mine
though unbidden ever-welcome
faceless, nameless pleasure
Chapter 44: Italian Sonnet at the Turkish Bath. Gen.
Watson and Holmes collaborate on a bit of verse at the bath.
For the 2018 Watson's Woes July Writing Prompts. Four Seasons. Give us a glimpse of all four seasons with
Holmes and Watson.
A case begins like spring, its promise new and green
The plea’s a bud to bloom. The puzzle’s birdsong fair.
The claims and clues are bees. They buzz on summer’s air.
Solutions pollinate. They reign like hive’s own queen.
The zeal then cools to crisp. The autumn’s courtroom scene.
Leaves fall on graves and talk. A blank page’s gummed with care.
The winter sets in swift. The barren boughs despair.
The hibernating hope the spring will intervene.
“’Both Watson and I had a weakness for the Turkish bath. It was over a smoke in the pleasant lassitude of the drying-room that I have found him less Boswell-esque and more Bard-like than anywhere else.’”
“Holmes! I thought you’d fallen asleep.”
“I did. Then I was watching you write a poem. Really, Watson, I never get your limits. What about a Turkish bath would inspire you to write an Italian sonnet?”
“How do you know it was an Italian sonnet?”
“You were fighting with your alexandrine,” he replied, then extended a long bare arm and put thumb to fingertip in imitation of my struggle to achieve iambic hexameter. “What is it about?”
“You mean you can’t guess?”
“Watson, you wound me. Bricks and clay, my dear man.”
“The seasons, if you must know. A metaphor. I’ve only got the octave.”
“Ah-ha! May I have the volta? I’m awake now. You lie back and smoke and sweat and dream of Xanadu and the lascivious glances that I may or may not be throwing your way.”
I studied him for a long moment, then shrugged and handed over the nub of pencil and scrap of foolscap.
What matter thawing ground to trusty boots that tread?
What likeness dog day’s warmth to tracks and scent made fresh?
What harvest glows like justice, truth, and chapter’s end?
What’s winter for, but notes un-played and words unread?
What’s wool for linen cream? What’s sweat to goose-down flesh?
‘Tis naught to him who weathers all with soul’s own friend.
Chapter 45: There's something about a nice woodcock. (Gen.)
For the Holmes Minor comm Poetry Page.
Quote from "The Noble Bachelor": There were a couple of brace of cold woodcock, a pheasant, a pate de foie gras pie with a group of ancient and cobwebby bottles.
A parody of Ogden Nash's poem "A Drink with Something In it."
There's something about a nice woodcock
Which elevates a meal to first-rate
Well roasted, well toasted fine woodcock
I wish I had one on my plate.
There's something about a fine woodcock
To celebrate the end of a case
Of winged fowls, it's the best
And the only plump breast
In which I wish to bury my face.
There's something about a nice pheasant
that strikes me remarkably pleasant
With parsnip, no hardship, a pheasant
I wish that I had one at present
There's something about a fine pheasant
Ere the port and the pipes are at hand
As busty birds go
It's a jolly good show
And the lone one my good cock can stand.
There's something about a pate
Which makes my heart want to boast
A savoury, goose-flavoury pate
In a pie or spread thick on toast
There's something about a pate
Which sets my tastebuds a-quiver
And forgive the faux paux
But I think with foie gras
A great deal depends on the liver!
There's something about an old bottle
With cobwebs and dust on the label.
From an austere, fine-year old bottle,
I'll drink as much as I'm able.
There's something about an old bottle
The sort to be kept under padlock
I've found nothing better
to whistle my wetter.
Nothing less can stand up to my woodcock!
Chapter 46: Two poems about drink. (Gen.)
For the July Holmes Minor poetry challenge.
2. A drink for everything
Chapter 47: The Cursed Feast. (Ballad AU)
The Cursed Feast. Ballad. Inspired by this Halloween-esque image and the line from the "The Noble Bacherlor": There were a couple of brace of cold woodcock, a pheasant, a pate de foie gras pie with a group of ancient and cobwebby bottles.
I eyed our feast with hungry glee.
The woodcock smelled divine.
The pheasant savory as could be.
And foie gras pie! And wine!
“Oh Holmes, this dinner’s quite a dream,
and you a host so clever
to always sup by candle gleam,
to dine so forever!”
No sooner had these words escaped
my pair of smacking lips
than I began to feel unshaped,
to stir from chest to hips.
My body shrunk, my nose had grown
and I'd premonition
that my soul was not all alone
in this odd condition.
I watched with dread as Holmes transformed
exchanging man’s disguise
for tiny, whiskered, tail-adorned
fur-suit with beady eyes.
“Oh, Holmes!” I squeaked. He twitched his nose.
In polished candlestick,
I spied I, too, in rodent’s clothes,
“Is this a witch’s trick?”
We thrashed upon the table laid
with wine and birds and pie,
but cobwebs spread like ivy weighed
and snared us, by the by.
“Oh, how to break the spell?” I cried.
“To un-enchant the curse?”
“Un-wish the wish,” tittered Holmes.
“It might effect reverse.”
But nothing happened. Nothing helped.
So, Holmes and I remain
a pair of rats, quite trapped, hex-whelped
in feast macabre, profane.
Chapter 48: Tea and sympathy (palindrome poem)
Palindrome poem for the DW 100words prompt (#107) tea and sympathy and the August Holmes Minor prompt small moments of happiness.
Mrs. Hudson takes a moment out of her busy day to enjoy a cup of tea and scribble, with whimsical happiness, upon the nearest scrap of wastepaper.
Sympathy and tea are—like a much sought-after, ever-found remedy—compassion-skinned.
A cup, steaming breath, steeping leaf, resembles kindness.
Agony exhaled is sorrow cleaved.
Separateness breeding shame—God, you thank—no more.
Dollop pours out: burden lessened, dregs themselves reveal fortunes told ‘fore ruinous end.
When, suddenly, life leaves one
one leaves life,
when end, ruinous-foretold fortunes reveal themselves.
Dregs-lessened burden out-pours.
Dollop more? No, thank you, God.
Shame-breeding separateness cleaved.
Sorrow is exhaled agony.
Kindness resembles leaf-steeping, breath-steaming cup; a skinned compassion-remedy found, ever after sought.
Much alike are tea and sympathy.
Chapter 49: Shameless. (Wordplay. Pre-slash Holmes/Watson.)
Verse originally written for the DW Drabblezone Challenge: #103 - Shameless
And when the candle’s out, it’s flameless.
And when the fault is none, it’s blameless.
And when there is no clout, it’s fameless.
And when the hybrid’s won, it’s sameless.
And when a man is lost, he’s aimless.
And when he’s bachelor set, he’s dameless.
And when he’s un-embossed, he’s nameless.
And when he’s out of debt, he’s claimless.
And when his heart is wild, it’s tameless.
And when his stride is round, it’s lameless.
And when he speaks truth mild, it’s gameless.
And when his body’s sound, it’s maimless.
And when his love arrives, he declares himself, most shameless.
"At the verse again, I see, Watson. More tea?"
"How observant of you, Holmes. No, no thank you."
"I like a bit of wordplay myself, don't you know?"
"No, I did not know. Pass the jam, please."
"Uh, let's see, jam...ham...tam...dram..."
Chapter 50: August Heat (nonsense poem)
Rating: Teen for language
Notes: Nonsense poem (In Memoriam stanza), verse was originally written for the DW 100words prompt (#109) - nonsense. Inspired by this line of "The Cardboard Box":
“It was a blazing hot day in August. Baker Street was like an oven, and the glare of the sunlight upon the yellow brickwork of the house across the road was painful to the eye. It was hard to believe that these were the same walls which loomed so gloomily through the fogs of winter.”
be-spelted, smelted, melted splooge
befuddled, muddled, puddled pool
be-sweated, unabetted fool
be-baked in cake by no-shade Scrooge
oh ugh just ugh and ugh some more
and eek and squeak like burnished teak
like peck of sol-splint beck and beak
like lone groan-moan of swelter lore
the drip-drop-plip-plop-drip-drop mess
the daze-y, hazy, mazy thick
which deigns to forward an address
the suffer-shudder-shuffle step
the yellow stain that cannot yield
the buzzing, undulating field
the over-easy, yolk-broke pep
the sticky wicket, skin-to-seat
which renders moot the suit of cool
reduces faculties to drool
Oh, sod this blazing August heat!
"Bessie, my dear, would be so kind as to assist me? yes, Mister Holmes is feeling the effects of this wretched heat wave of ours, yes, his is a constitution that just can't abide the rising mercury, and, yes, he does seem to be a puddle of his former self, that's clever, my dear, I'll hold the bucket and you just tip the armchair, there we go, yes, just like, pour him in, hair oil and plasters and all, yes, poor thing, he's been reduced to babbling nonsense, but I'll trundle him down to my bath, for you see in the subterranean levels, that the cellar floors below ground, there are pools of nice, refreshing water, that should revive him, get him back to his ol' shape again, and well, if that doesn't work, we could just pickle him and save him for winter, thank you, my dear, I'm awful obliged."
Chapter 51: Caught in the Act. (Holmes/Watson. Fluff.)
Written for the DW Drabble Zone Challenge #104 - Caught in the Act
Brought in the bric-a-brac did we
when commenced domesticity,
taught in the tact were we
from first, at mother’s knee
wrought in the wracked were we
when grew our cordiality,
sought in the sacked, did we
for faintest reciprocity,
fraught in the fact were we
of what (we thought) we failed to see
distraught in the distract, were we
at rouge improbability
caught in the act were we
in polite society
lot in the lacked, for we,
was never meant to be,
pot in the packed, did we
and found together happily.
"Still playing Bard, I see, Watson."
"A bit of wordplay exercises the brain. I find poetry to be enjoyable as well as useful."
"Useful? Do you lack avenues to express your sentimentality?"
"Hardly. No, I mean, useful as a preemptive strike against the decline of mental faculties often seen with the passage of time."
"Hmm. Yes, quite wise of you, as you'll probably have to deal with that sort of thing."
"But you won't, Holmes?"
"No, of course, not. 'Age cannot wither me or custom stale my infinite variety.'"
"That's lovely. Your own, Holmes?"
"Naturally. More toast, Watson?"
Chapter 52: Restless (Villanelle)
Watson's flown the coop. (Villanelle).
Verse was originally written for the DW 100words prompt (#106) - restless.
"Will Doctor Watson be joining you for breakfast, Mister Holmes?"
"I fear not, Mrs. Hudson. I believe he has flown the coop. He left this," he passed her a scrap of paper, "on the pin cushion, the proverbial pin cushion, my dear woman, please don't have any anxieties about the sanctity of your sewing basket."
"Hmm." She read. "I agree. Brighton, perhaps?"
"Yes, a briny cure for our dear doctor sounds about right."
"Well, I shan't let any grass grow under my feet. Bessie!"
"Let's air Doctor Watson's room and turn the bed. Have it ready for him when the mercury falls, and he, and his pawky humour, return to brood."
The bide of summer leaves me jestless,
The ache for autumn leaves me restless.
The lingering heat, trough and crestless,
The bide of summer leaves me jestless.
The yearn for arbours, cone and nestless,
The ache for autumn leaves me restless.
The baking sun bores east and westless,
The bide of summer leaves me jestless.
Parade calabash, cored and guestless,
The ache for autumn leaves me restless.
Spring and winter pass smooth and testless,
But bide of summer leaves me jestless,
and ache for autumn leaves me restless.
Chapter 53: Vain (Quatern. Pining!Holmes)
Drabble Zone Challenge: Vain
Notes & Warnings: Poetry (quatern); reference to substance use.
Summary: Holmes pines as Watson marries.
Into the artery, in vain
misguided leap, the cab mares strain.
The hansom stalls, not so the rain.
And far-off bells ring, loud and plain.
Unseen in church wing, I remain.
Into the artery, in vain
attempt to obstruct, obtain
a dream, I shall not ever deign.
Your vows to love, my vow to feign.
A tiny flagon of disdain
awaits to ease unbottled pain.
Into the artery, in vain,
will march forget-me-quick campaign.
‘Round Empire’s cesspool dark, I drain.
I float upon a tide of bane.
In search of peace, I wax, I wane
into the artery, in vain.
Chapter 54: Mrs. Hudson's Dropped Stitch (221B Verselet)
Something's happening upstairs.
Chapter 55: A New Hobby (Abecedarian)
Holmes takes up knitting.
A week of contemplation passed
before choice made, resolve amassed.
Cold comfort mine, most befitting;
decision his, take up knitting.
Excursions ‘cross metropolis
for yarns exact to standard his.
God knows how many trips downstairs,
he took, upsetting Hudson’s cares,
in search of aid and sage advice,
just purling once, then knitting twice.
Know-it-all reduced to tatters;
long nights spent on loom-spun matters.
My fellow lodger’s furious
needling was quite curious.
Out-thrown from home by grave ennui,
pursuing woolen-free buoy
quayside, without mizzen-mast-toff
rum-purls eluding this cast-off
swine, I drowned my sorrow, turned cheek
towards Baker Street, met vision meek
unexpected on my return.
‘Very new tricks old hounds can learn,
Watson, for you, with high regards!’
X marked the trove: a scarf in yards.
‘You did it for me?!” I cried;
zealously, I donned it with pride.
Chapter 56: Knitted Brow.
For the Holmes Minor poetry page prompt, this line from "The Beryl Coronet":
"Sherlock Holmes sat silent for some few minutes, with his brows knitted and his eyes fixed upon the fire."
Knowing is rather a solitary pursuit,
naught-knotting, false-fraughting the fray-ed, staid path;
in so much as one can ever know the other,
theosophic questions notwithstanding, astute
twists, arabesques, swan’s neck dives down the primrose bath,
evince truth, revealing one after another,
damned faint praise, the plodding craftsman’s satisfaction.
Be still and know. That I am verity’s godmother
rests with the fable-teller, not the after-wrath;
oafish world mistaking stillness for inaction,
watch I flames, leap, smother.
Chapter 57: Three October Poems
Canon Stories referenced: The Hound of the Baskervilles/"The Sussex Vampire"/"The Engineer's Thumb"
Poetic Forms: Italian sonnet/English sonnet/Doggerel
A/N: for the three Watson's Woes October prompts: hallow, unquiet, lantern.
Hallow (The Hound of the Baskervilles)
Oh, hear the phantom hound at howl
across the moor most unhallowed.
Comes swift reply most uncallowed
the boom of bittern, screech of owl.
A monstrous cur is on the prowl
to sow fear in fields unfallowed,
to trim wickedness untallowed,
to chill the night by tooth and jowl.
A stubborn heir refuses care.
A chaperone is distracted.
Butterfly-catcher’s net sails past
as fugitive exchanges wear
and dire warning is redacted.
Forget the stage, beware the cast!
Unquiet ("The Sussex Vampire")
No ghosts need apply, there’s evil aplenty
of bone and flesh in devil’s agent spawn.
Dead wives’ tales come cheap, farthings a penny,
once all breath’s expired, once all blood’s been drawn.
Ghostly antics shall never disturb us,
‘tis thwarted boys who blow poison-tipped hate.
No vampire shall vex, hex, or perturb us.
And as for the dead, well, they’re always late!
No ghosts need knock while memory haunts us
while resentments fester like cauldron boil
while the world that never was laughs, taunts us.
Send the wicked to sea in vats of oil
Fear not spectres in the run-riot hour
Fear the undone weak, the unquiet dour
Lantern ("The Engineer's Thumb")
A tenfold fee glitters,
lures hungry engineer
into cold, embitters
the safe, makes cheap the dear.
A blindfold doesn’t warn
of danger yet to come.
Gilt rose belies cruel thorn,
robs sight, makes right, leaves dumb.
Explanations fall short;
the ride is much too long.
abandoning the wrong.
For those who close their eyes yet curse the blessed night,
who follow lantern’s flame yet never see the light.
Chapter 58: Fragrant. (Pantoum)
Written for DW 100 words prompt - #119 - Fragrant.
Pantoum x 2.
The scent of Watson is a curious blend
of piquancy, of quotidian note.
A potpourri replenished without end,
each day rent new bouquet from fragrance rote.
Of piquancy, of quotidian note,
tobacco clings. With pawky jest resumes
each day. Rent new bouquet from fragrance rote
by sweat and blood, adventure’s sweet perfumes.
Tobacco clings, with pawky jest resumes
its tango, cheek-to-cheek with whiskey-rye.
By sweat and blood, adventure’s sweet perfumes,
creative faculties are made to cry.
Its tango, cheek-to-cheek with whiskey-rye,
a potpourri replenished without end,
creative faculties are made to cry.
‘the scent of Watson is a curious blend.’
The scent of Holmes is like an oft-used drawer
replete with jumble most incongruous
of skeleton keys which never bore
the mark of common, mundane, tedious.
Replete with jumble most incongruous
of woolen rosin, smoky clouds declaim
the mark of common, mundane, tedious,
bare toothy bite of chemicals aflame.
Of woolen rosin, smoky clouds declaim
until a whiff of game afoot. Smells he,
bare toothy bite of chemicals aflame,
the epitaph of domesticity.
Until a whiff of game afoot, smells he,
of skeletons keys which never bore
the epitaph of domesticity,
‘the scent of Holmes is like an oft-used drawer.’
Chapter 59: The scent of Christmas.
For the DW fffc Advent calendar Day 1 prompt: the scent of winter
Sweet heat of oranges studded with cloves.
Dark wine as it mulls and simmers on stoves;
cinnamon, cardamom, spices of old,
nutmeg mild, ginger warm, peppermint bold.
Savory roasts turning brown on the spit,
drip drops in the fire that hiss when they hit.
Potatoes and parsnips shining with butter
baked aside drakes that crackle and sputter.
Faint hint of smoke that unfurls through the trees.
Fir fragrance aloft on wintery breeze.
Smell on the air just before the snows fall,
well beyond words yet known to one, to all.
Callers aplenty, all with one reason:
wish and be wished the joy of the season;
Perfumes, pomades and finery mixing,
to the sitting room bouquet affixing.
Such is the breath of Yuletide revelry,
So the Christmas scents of 221B.
Chapter 60: The Christmas Train. (Cheeky song parody)
Title: The Christmas Train
Notes: Song parody. Alt First Meeting. Holmes/Watson. POV Holmes.
Summary: Holmes meets a handsome stranger on the Christmas train.
Notes: For DW Holmes Minor. A parody of The Kiss in the Railway Train, a music hall song from 1864. The girl meets a man in a train and he kisses her in a tunnel and his moustache comes off on her face and he turns out to be a pickpocket and he steals her money and the police catch him. Also, for the picture prompt fun photo from 12/3 which is beautiful (give it a look) of the Durango & Silverton train in winter (Colorado).
Some say a trip by rail
at Christmas cannot fail.
To me, it brings naught but strain.
When I think of an event
which happen’d when I went
a-riding in a Christmas train.
Was headed out to sea,
a briny mystery
awaited me—in vain.
For I met a fine gent,
a-going where I went,
a-riding in that Christmas train.
His natural panache
from laces to moustache
gave my ‘chilles heel a sprain,
and when our eyes did meet
he offered me a seat
a-riding in that Christmas train.
What he whisper’d in my ear
made me pink from front to rear
and rear to front again.
And then he bid me sit,
said how snugly we would fit
a-riding in that Christmas train.
And when the tunnel neared,
my heart was quite afeared
it wouldn’t bear the strain,
but scarcely we were in
I felt around my bend
a-tickling in that Christmas train.
The darkness was complete,
but we rode nice and neat.
I’d nothing to complain.
With each bump and pitch,
he scratched plum ev’ry itch
that plagued me in that Christmas train.
And when the darkness cleared,
how handsome he appeared.
His moustache waxed not waned.
O goodness, what a fix!
To have it on my lips
while riding in that Christmas train!
The gent just beamed and smiled;
‘There’s more to drive you wild’
‘twas his whispered refrain.
‘Next time the train sharp stops,
I’ll give you all I gots
right here in this Christmas train.’
It wasn’t meant to be
for very hastily
a guard approached, constrained.
‘A message I have got
by telegraph to stop
and plead for you to save the train.’
‘Dear sir, there’s been a crime,
just a little of your time,
will spare us shame profane.’
The gent was undaunted;
‘twas then I knew I wanted
him with me on that Christmas train.
‘Shall we investigate?’
I asked. At his ‘Can’t wait!'
my heart leapt quite insane.
Together, doc and sleuth,
we got right to the truth
of The Case of the Christmas Train.
The gent was so amazed.
My ev'rything he praised.
Skirt to star, suit to brain.
I begged him come with me
on holiday by sea.
And so, we left the Christmas train.
Some say a trip by rail
at Christmas cannot fail.
To me, it brings a grin inane.
Quite a lot can transpire,
a very Wildest desire,
a-riding in a Christmas train.
Chapter 61: O Joy that Cometh Nigh!
For rachelindeed. Inspired by Stormy Petrels, which is an ACD Winglock ficlet.
Meant to be an Italian sonnet but an extra line slipped in.
A wearisome and well-worn rhythm beats
at nape as crawling skin and heavy gut
afflict the winged creature caught in rut
of modern comfort. Logic sharp competes
and is defeated by elemental bleats.
‘Tis the pick-pick-picking of chair’s arm what
betrays the suffering of being shut
in nature’s cage. Dawn’s desires, like bars, cut
until a long-forgotten answer greets.
O take to the roof! O take to the sky!
O take the southern star and golden eye!
O ancient blood that soars! O wings that fly!
O sing the good song! O herald the cry!
The lost is found. The low has been made high.
O air that stings! O joy that cometh nigh!
Chapter 62: Unsafe (xenolith)
For the DW Holmes Minor 2019 January poetry page prompt, including this quote from "Charles Augustus Milverton":
With a glow of admiration I watched Holmes unrolling his case of instruments and choosing his tool with the calm, scientific accuracy of a surgeon who performs a delicate operation. I knew that the opening of safes was a particular hobby with him, and I understood the joy which it gave him to be confronted with this green and gold monster, the dragon which held in its maw the reputations of many fair ladies.
A black silk mask to hide one’s features in plain sight,
A face, a name, a name, a face is known.
A lantern dark to bend to will double-edged light.
Be seen and have one’s candle blown.
A jemmy crude to pry away what’s wedged in tight.
a violent wrench, a truth exposed:
no door is ever really closed.
A heavy drill comes next, precision over might.
Threat of force forbids refutal.
Consequence is sharp and brutal.
A skeleton key to turn the most common site.
But ‘neath the sun there’s nothing new.
A pick from stash of nicks that tricks tough clicks just right.
And then, the last appeal is through.
And postcard taunt is left to gild the bastard’s plight.
Chapter 63: Chairs. (Quatrain with interlocking rhyme)
For the DW Holmes Minor November 2018 Poetry page theme of family and this quote from "The Blanched Soldier":
“Every family has its own inner knowledge and its own motives, which cannot always be made clear to outsiders, however well-intentioned.”
Don’t most agree that hearth is home and home is family?
The walls and stairs, the company with whom one sups and shares
a roof, perhaps, a chin. My view, of slim minority,
is much depends upon, not name nor blood nor stove, but chairs.
Chairs to take morn tea. Chairs to read a book, to smoke a pipe.
Chairs to rock. Chairs to bide and talk. Chairs, of all household wares,
reveal inheritance, economy of every stripe.
Chairs offer rest. At each moment, worst and best, there are chairs.
Take my landlady. She prefers a certain stool from which
she exercises domestic sovereignty. No one dares
usurp her perch. And when her work is through, she sews a stitch
(and has a nip) in a rocker carved to fit. Queen of chairs.
Take this armchair of mine, in which I sit; in which I muse;
in which I greet, resolve mixed sundry problems, puzzles, cares.
It suits my length of stature, depth of thought, though I abuse
it with pipe spills, hazards graver still. Most stalwart of chairs.
This household, this, if you’ll allow, assembled family,
is three: by our lady, myself and a lodger, who fares
the city since dawn’s hour tending the ill. Our trinity
is well supported by each other and well-crafted chairs.
Outsiders cannot comprehend just how we keep the peace
when all safeguard so fiercely custom, habit, purview theirs;
but when tempers (and flames) spark, when tensions (and rents) increase
it’s geometry: we have our corners and we have our chairs.
A wide variety of guests pass through our humble doors:
police and clients, people, like yourself, caught unawares
by life’s unsavoriness. Such cases are very much like yours,
and such callers sit in one of those most excellent chairs.
This handsome throne in which you have ensconced yourself, good sir,
that which has its place across from mine and by the fire, bears
the imprint of long use by he who’s held most dear and were
he to return soon, which he will, he’d stand, forgoing chairs.
And that won’t do. And as you’re a gent who won’t take a hint,
I say, “Your wife. And plumber. One of many trade affairs.
That’s why strange drips, odd trips, and—hark! I hear him—lip print.
Good day, sir! We must preserve the sanctity of chairs!”
Chapter 64: Monk's Hood. (English Sonnet)
Holmes expounds on Monk's Hood also known as aconite or wolfsbane. [Aconitum napellus]
Holmes held aloft the helmet-shaped flower.
“A fair and goodly bloom, doesn’t it seem?
But tender blue belies a grave power.
This friar’s cowl drips most impious stream.
When mixed with oil, the well-ground roots may serve
to free the aching joints from suffering.
But even Pliny wrote of its quick verve.
Death-tipped arrows permit no buffering.
It sprang, they say, from Cerberus’ drool
when Hercules dragged him from Hades’ realm.
Here, it was found a most effective tool
to swiftly, permanently overwhelm.”
“That’s it! Oh, Holmes, you solved it in the end!”
“And learned much of wolfsbane from a good friend.”
Chapter 65: Guising (Samsong)
This was for the October 2018 DW Holmes Minor Poetry page prompt of guising (which is a forerunner of trick-or-treating).
This is a boy.
This is a boy on the last night of October.
This is a boy in a costume grim and sober.
This is a boy who has been asked to go guising.
This is a boy who finds it wildly surprising.
This is a boy who is shy but enterprising.
This is a boy whose verse is a pitiful thing.
This is a boy who is far too bashful to sing.
This is a boy whose jokes either fall flat or sting.
This is a boy whose steps lack poise and graceful spring.
This is a boy who looks on as boys and girls dance
This is a boy who watches them juggle and prance
This is a boy who sees them recite in bold stance.
This is a boy who gives them all a careful glance.
This is a boy who observes and waits for his chance.
This is a boy who steps up with trepidation.
This is a boy who makes a keen observation.
This is a boy who speaks of maids and libation.
This is a boy whose words provoke consternation.
This is a boy blind to unease and vexation.
This is a boy who greets his treat with elation.
This is a boy who tells the present, infers the past.
This is a boy whose apt deductions flabbergast.
This is a boy who renders every face aghast.
This is a boy who answers questions that are asked.
This a boy whose young peers see that he goes last.
This is a boy who, by the last house, is replete.
This is a boy who is ‘bout to burst with sweet-meat.
This is a boy who looks sick-green and starts to bleat.
This is a boy decorating the lane with treat.
This is a boy put to bed without a quibble.
This is a boy who for days can’t bear a nibble.
This is a boy who gains reputation as sibyl.
This is a boy who stays at home next Hallow’s Eve
This is a boy who doesn’t mourn, who doesn’t grieve.
This is a boy.
This is a boy on the last day of October.
This is a boy not in costume grim or sober.
This is a boy who shares fright tales with his brother.
This is a boy enjoying treats from his mother
This is a boy who wants this fun and no other.
This is a boy not invited to go guising.
This is a boy who finds it most unsurprising.
This is a boy.
Chapter 66: Still Waters (Italian sonnet)
This was inspired by a line from the Halloween prompt list of the DW Sherlock_bbc comm
The line was: Still water and old wells speak in a voice almost familiar
Italian sonnet. Hiatus. POV Holmes.
Old wells and waters still, in almost known
vernacular address me ere I drown
their voices familiar in market town
hubbub. Memory crushed ‘neath cobblestone
clacks. Distance must be hastily thrown
behind me; comfort, swiftly, like sweet sound,
cast off or laid to rest in sacred ground.
Arisen from the grave, I am alone.
But when the work is done, I seek them out,
those old wellsprings, those waters still and soft
in their murmurings. They speak of hope new.
With urgent undertones, they vanquish doubt
and raise what was once din-trampled aloft,
at last, guiding me back to home and you.
Chapter 67: Bells. (Burns stanza. Gen.)
Form: Burns stanza
For the February DW Homes Minor Poetry page prompt about St. Mary-le-Bow bells. References "The Speckled Band" in the fourth stanza.
Just hear the bells, they’re ringing loud,
those Bow church bells, they’re singing proud,
grey skies, but here there’s not a cloud.
This baby’s mine.
My baby’s born today, uncowed
by Bow bells fine.
Just hear the bell, it’s ringing loud.
Look! Hands are wringing, head is bowed,
and hope’s as thin as clinging shroud.
A client calls.
Distress, hard-pressing, unavowed,
it peals and palls.
Oh, damn that bell! It’s ringing loud.
The doctor’s up ‘fore noon-day crowd.
He’ll want his kippers, sowed and ploughed,
twixt eggs and toast,
and rashers crisp as saints allowed—
if I may boast.
Right here the bed is fixed to ground,
but pull the rope. Hear? There’s no sound.
Like dogs that do not bark or bound
no matter what,
it is a silence most profound:
bell with tongue cut.
Just hear the bells, they’re ringing loud,
My baby’s born, they’re singing proud.
Drive out the rain, dispel the cloud.
Ring, Bow church bells!
Not like the door, the caller’s squeal,
not like the chime, the maid’s appeal,
not silent when there’s joy to feel.
Sing, Bow church bells!
Chapter 68: Modern Art. (Ghazal. Holmes/Watson. Rating Teen.)
Title: Modern Art
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes (ACD)
Form: ghazal (but I did not manage a takhallus, my nom de plume in the maqtaa, final couplet.)
No. of lines: 14
Note: From the line in The Hound of the Baskervilles: "He would talk of nothing but art, of which he had the crudest ideas, from our leaving the gallery until we found ourselves at the Northumberland Hotel."
“Permit me to be just a bit rude, Holmes.
But your ideas on art are crude, Holmes.”
Upon quitting the picture gallery,
I sighed. “Yours is a crass attitude, Holmes.”
“The works of modern Belgian masters seem
to rid you of moral rectitude, Holmes.”
In sing-song mockery my friend replied,
“’But, of course, you know that I’m no prude, Holmes.’”
“I’m not!” protested I. “How could I know
such strokes and tints put you in the mood, Holmes?”
I mopped my brow. “And wasn’t I partner
to the furtive wooing, being wooed, Holmes?”
Grey eyes lit. “Watson, Bond Street is full of…”
“…avenues,” I breathed, “to be pursued, Holmes.”
Chapter 69: The Easter Murders at the Gardens in Kew (Sestina. Gen.)
For the Holmes Minor Poetry Page on the Gardens in Kew.
So many mysteries to be found in the Gardens in Kew.
The Palm House, its long, inverted ship’s hull commanding eye.
The Temperate House, guarding delicate fronds behind glass.
The Great Pagoda, hatted, stacked, and towering above.
The Tea House, offering respite from Nature’s abundance
So much to see, explore, investigate at Paschaltide.
‘Come, Watson, there are blessings aplenty this Paschaltide
and murder in bountiful bloom at the Gardens in Kew
Ah, here we are! But where to begin with such abundance?’
‘I’m no detective, Holmes, but doesn’t that arrest the eye?
I mean, that figure hanging by the neck from high above.’
‘Death by Madagascan suicide palm! Head for the glass!’
‘It was the aunt, dear Watson, taken quite mad by a glass
of fresh papaya juice bestowed to her at Paschaltide
by a dear nephew. He said, ‘No more.’ She strung him above.
As gardener, he’d leave to partake of the sweetest of Kew,
you see.’ ‘By Jove, Holmes, it’s all rather fruity to my eye!’
‘Yes,’ groaned Holmes, ‘But some things are still ripe and in abundance!
Look, Watson! To the Temperate House! An abundance
of police can be observed beyond and about the glass.’
‘A youth and his mother’s sister could not see eye-to-eye.
From words to blows to boulders. Shard-split at Paschaltide!
There are too many glasshouses to throw large stones in Kew!’
Then ‘twas heard a scream, seen a figure falling from above.
Off to the Great Pagoda, one looking down, one, up above.
‘Go, Watson!’ ‘Where?’ ‘Up!’ ‘Oh, Holmes, that’s an awful abundance
of steps!’ ‘A hero of Maiwand can brave the stairs of Kew!’
Later, while mopping his brow, Watson groaned, ‘I need a glass.’
‘Indeed, a most unchristian occurrence at Paschaltide.
A niece’s hat finding grave disfavor in an aunt’s eye.’
Glass before him, Watson sighed, ‘More to Kew than meets the eye!
For this Tea House and its libations, thank the Lord above!’
‘And to your rugby-tackle, Watson, a boon this Paschaltide!
Then Holmes’s expression changed. ‘Stop, Watson! There’s abundance
of poison!’ ‘Where?’ ‘There, my dear man. In yours and every glass!
Oh, I see, the Agony Aunts have brought their dark trade to Kew!’
The beauty of Paschaltide is in the beholder’s eye:
for Holmes, the Gardens in Kew were a gift from above,
a murderous abundance of aunts ‘midst flora and glass
Chapter 70: Strand(ed) [Free verse. Gen.]
Poetic form: free verse
Summary: Watson, before and after Holmes.
For: 2019 DW Watson's Woes May Drabbles
Here’s a man
jettisoned on Portsmouth jetty
eleven and sixpence in his pocket lest he
Queen and country
so he drains with the idlers and loungers
with the hustlers and bustlers and scroungers
and, in a room on the Strand,
Here’s a man
once more a doctor, once more a solider,
though the battle’s for justice, a purpose much older
than Queen and country
his place as Boswell
With his ink much demanded
and his name in the <I>Strand</I>
Chapter 71: Sign of Life (Burns Stanza. Rating: Teen)
Title: Sign of Life
Poetic form: Burns stanza (x 6)
For: 2019 DW GYWO Yahtzee fill
Also for: 2019 Merry Month of Masturbation - Day 10
Summary: After Afghanistan, but before Holmes, Watson wanders about London at night.
In the cesspool with idlers and loungers he drains.
An eleven and sixpence in hand for his pains.
And there’s no one to hear if he cries or complains
in a room on the Strand.
In the night, to escape all his burdens and banes,
he sets forth on the land.
Through the city he wanders without purpose or aim,
by the shops, ‘cross the parks, along streets he can’t name.
Every night is a novel, each day much the same,
And he watches them all.
There, the reveler, the deviler, and crown prince of shame
amidst peddler and stall.
As he surveys the river, he grieves he can’t paint.
Then he’s lost ‘round the docks with its brine and its taint.
There he spies a young sailor, feels something quite faint
in his moribund frame.
But the seaman’s a ghost: there he is, there he ain’t.
as the fog lays its claim.
The next night it is Limehouse. He breathes its perfumes
of the spices in rices and vices in tombs,
navigating by lanterns which hang like the plumes
in an opium den.
There’s a lad, he’s quite something, the pose he assumes
makes a corpse think of sin.
He returns to his rooms more alive than fatigued
and throws off the mantle of dreamer bereaved.
No mistake, there’s an ache, an old friend, he’s intrigued,
so he spits on his palm.
And he thinks of the lad and the sailor un-leagued
and applies the wet balm.
As he strokes, he remembers what once made him tick,
resurrected by lust, a young dog, an old trick.
He imagines it all, from the tight to the slick,
free from blot, free from strife.
And he thinks as he watches the lurch of his prick,
‘Not a bad sign of life.’
Chapter 72: A Box (Keatsian Ode)
For the DW Holmes Minor poetry page prompt from The Hound of the Baskervilles: “It is a singular thing, but I find that a concentrated atmosphere helps a concentration of thought. I have not pushed it to the length of getting into a box to think, but that is the logical outcome of my convictions.”
I find a concentrated atmosphere
begets a concentrated state of mind
and concentrated thought. Such thoughts adhere
to walls, un-cling, re-shape, and breed confined.
The logical conclusion of such thought,
of such a singular conviction is
to get into a box to think, I think.
Is such a length too far to seek what may be sought?
Too deep to plumb for man and powers his?
Once body’s bound, won’t mind push past the brink?
But man’s a boy for all that, and a box
is just a cave. Explore, escape, cocoon,
exchange this world for one less orthodox
if only for a Sunday afternoon.
Be still and I’ll be peacefully ignored,
forgotten by the world beyond thin walls.
Be quiet. No one’s looking for me—yet.
The boring, having quite mislaid the bored,
are slow to drive away abandon’s palls,
the clouds of benevolent neglect.
But boy-years pass. The man can now discern
between restraints which succor thought and bars
which cage the soul. Not so simple to learn
but worth averted madness, worth the scars.
The difference lies in whom is architect
and mason-carpenter and engineer:
puritanical them or noisome us.
The walls they impose, the walls we erect
are not the same. It’s mine, this atmosphere.
Clear the air but don’t call it poisonous.