The Ravin’

Our German translator JLH has jumped the fence again. This time he has wandered into a thicket of poetic delirium rife with uncannily familiar cadences…

The Ravin’
Part II — EU Edition

With apologies to Edgar Allan Poe

Close upon a midnight dreary, as I pondered bleak and bleary
On whether my euro bond investments would sink or soar,
Though the hour was not quite witching, suddenly there came a scritching,
As of something softly scritching, scratching at my chamber door.
“It’s just some wayward kitten, scratching at my chamber door.
          Only that, and nothing more.”

And to mind I still can bring, it was a long and Arab Spring,
With a plenitude of rape and killing, on not-too-distant shores.
Now the scratching was not gone, but scritched and scratched and on and on
Until I could not bear the tension of the scratching at my door,
So I strode across the floor and opened wide my chamber door,
          And then went rigid to my core,

For, as the door was opened wide, something little slipped inside
And splished and splashed and left a trail across the parquet floor.
So I turned about in seeking what was there, and heard a squeaking,
Eeking kind of speaking, rising up from far below upon the floor.
And there a hamster dripping, dropping, seeping puddles on the floor,
          With a face I knew I’d seen before.

The council president of the EU! “Your Grace, Your Honor, so nice to see you,”
I said to the dismal, dripping little creature on the floor,
“but how are you the wight I see, and where have you been ere visiting me?”
“In your bushes, in the drizzle, when it really began to pour,
Under a spell by Le Pen or Farage or someone else to settle a score.
          Oh, the misery I bore!”

And as he squeaked, or spoke or… squoke — in a voice that often broke,
I feared that he had caught a chill and maybe even something more.
“Dear Sir, you’re palpitating, and the rain is not abating,
So allow me to share my fire with you and whatever is needed more,
And when the sun appears again it will be as it always was before.”
          Squoke the hamster: “Nevermore!”

“Oh, sir, I admit that it is pelting and we are certainly not melting,
But we have known cold rainy Springs and never missed a Summer before.”
“Do you not read le Monde, you ninny?! Turn on BBC and get the skinny?!
The rain will stay, the heat will rise, the poles will melt and flood the shore.
And carbon-belching mankind will avoid the result that we deplore,”
          Squoke the hamster, ”Nevermore!”

I said, “Does it not make you queasy, that the science is so sleazy,
Modeled on assumptions that there is no compelling evidence for?”
“Do not,” he said, “test my mettle! The science, as we all know, is settled.
Just ask the experts: Obama, NASA, the ineffable al-Gore!
Coal-burners have taken away the penguins’ icy shore,”
          Squoke the hamster, “Forevermore.”

“But we shall have our retribution with the coming Green revolution,
And the mighty euro will eclipse the Yankee dollar more and more.
If we can just convince the Krauts that that’s what teamwork’s all about,
Then we will squeeze the Greeks until they shriek: ‘Not one drachma more!’
And Brussels will run Fortress Europe from Transylvania to the shore,”
          Squoke the hamster. “Forevermore.

“True Europeans are only satisfied when in the presence of a guide
Who can show them what they must love and, more important, must abhor:
Can send them in their minds a-creeping, after untoward thoughts a-peeping,
To find even one Islamo-Lefto-Communophobic Politically Incorrectitudinal spore.
If not to tell you how to think, then what is government for?”
          Squoke the hamster, “Nothing more!”

“But surely, my good sir,” said I, “Each nation’s rights and freedoms must apply.”
“Booshwah!” his squeaky falsetto fluted in fluent Belgian off the floor.
“The offspring of these ethnic louts will mature in time as Brussels’ sprouts.
‘All for one and one for all’ just means that one gets all one can, and more.
If not for profit of the rulers, then what is government for?”
          Squoke the hamster, “Nothing more!”

“And if some country would expel an immigrant come straight from Hell,”
I asked, “have they no right to show a trouble-maker to the door?”
“You cannot always have your druthers, if Strasbourg’s court rules for the others —
Some human rights are more equal than others, and what’s a little bit of gore?
So some white is bloodied up because he’s a democratic bore.
          Just call the cops and then you’ll really get What-For!”

Now, as I pondered, growing leery, this angry rodent grew quite teary,
And his bathos seemed to radiate up at me from the floor.
“Almost everyone’s in line,” he whined, “that we need a Palestine,
Except these (expletive) Islamophobes, and they object — whatever for?
I am so very riled by these Semitophiles, who want to destroy the Arabs I adore.
          They are hooligans — nothing more!”

I said, “You call them ‘hooligan,’ because they will not play the fool again.
And salaam to accept sharia like the Thousand-Year-Reich before.”
He hissed “Multiculture is no whim, and the Prophet (Peace Be On Him)
Will bring us light, sweet crude, and slaughtered food we’ve never had before.
We’ll be like the naive savages when Cortez went ashore.
          And stayed, Forevermore.

“The Moving Finger writes, the Prophet declares — and then goes on to other affairs,
And all your piety and wit can’t stop it from writing even more.
They come to us across the sea — the masses yearning to live for free.
We must be kind — if not, then blind — and welcome them to our shore.
We special few will greet our rulers, as we always have before,
          And after that, there is no more.”

On a plinth near the chamber doorframe, stands a bust of Timur the Lame,
To the top of which in one great jump this mite leapt from the floor,
And wrapped himself around the brow of the conqueror — I’m not sure how…
Timur’s gaze was dead, reflecting piles of heads he used to show the price of war.
And now, his progeny will spawn among us and we will be no more,
          No more, no more.

Alas, that hamster still reclines — all thoughts of leaving he declines —
Like a maledicted rodent from some demon-haunted shore.
Curled on top of Tamerlane’s bust, he’s even begun to gather dust.
As the TV’s luminescence casts his flickering shadow on the floor,
Our poor world from out that shadow that lies pooling on the floor
          Shall be lifted, Nevermore.

8 thoughts on “The Ravin’

  1. Ah be of good cheer, Cynthia. It is so utterly hilarious. I realize that even Hitler can be made funny now, but gallows humor is better than none at all.

    We’ve been without water and THAT is a drag. Makes me think we’re in California.

    I hope you’re feeling better soon.

    • Not despairing, not completely (but 8 lb in 8 days can leave one off-balance). My “inspired” meant *also* to convey great fun! 🙂

      The two Orthodox services over Friday/Saturday evenings/nights were just incredible. I feel spiritually better than I have in…decades. Had a wonderful phone call with the priest for 45 or so minutes this morning re. recommended further reading and of course attendance as possible at services. Most hopeful that, even if I haven’t found a true home, I may find peace and happiness.

      • Eight pounds?? Oh my.

        This brings to mind a colleague of mine when I worked with battered women. She had to go to a mental health clinic to retrieve a woman who was afraid to leave by herself. It was a warren of a place and by chance she stumbled into an anorexia out-patient waiting room. She herself was always zaftig: her sorrows could always be drowned in a pint – or more – of moose tracks ice cream. When she looked around at all these painfully thin young women, she blurted out: “if what y’all have was a virus, I’d kiss each one of you”. Many of the girls actually laughed.

        My PTSD is the same – sometimes physical hungers and spiritual hungers are hard to distinguish but on occasion while dissociating, I’ve been known to eat whatever was in front of me. All of it. Even if I normally hated it. During my quarterly physical one time I mentioned to my doctor that if I’d been born a man I’d no doubt be an alcoholic – I was expecting her to say, “oh pshaw” …or something like that. But instead she agreed with me. Darn.

        It is only when I’m suicidally anxious – hasn’t happened since I met the Baron – that I can’t eat. My esophagus would simply close and tells me I’d had more than it could swallow.
        I’m truly glad for your experience in this church. Don’t forget though – and this is VERY important – that all of us bring our own basket of troubles into groups, but especially into spiritual groups. We’re really hoping to pass them off to someone else. The regular rules don’t permit you to just put the basket down, ya gotta pass it on. That’s why churches can be so painful. So if this priest and this church can help you leave your basket at the altar (fill the top with flowers. No one will ever notice and when the flowers wilt some helpful soul from the Altar Guild will toss the whole thing for you). Of course the first few hundred times you leave that basket there, the darn thing will be on your kitchen counter when you get home. Don’t despair: eventually The Leaving will ‘take’…go over the Fruits of the Holy Spirit and you’ll see what I mean.

        You probably know by now that I’m a big believer in books as a path thru sadness and into learning something. Here is a book by an Orthodox priest which addresses this subject in a way you might find helpful:

        But notice something else: this priest is writing from the belly of the beast, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Baron just did the third part of a series on the Murf. Muslims:

        As Jung would say, synchronicity.

        Here is the author’s church website: http://www.stelizabethtn.or

        There are podcasts by this priest:

        And if you search on Google using this string
        YouTube Father John Oliver
        you’ll find a whole cache of materials.

        There! You’ve played your part in being MY beatitude for the day. Enjoy – it’s way healthier than a pint of moose tracks.

        I’ve bookmarked that podcast page. Father Oliver looks to be just the thing when I can’t hold a book…

        • Fr. Edward recommended me to one additional book and some websites I hadn’t already found. Yours add manna to the basket. 🙂

  2. Kind of cute,Junckers head on a hamsters body. I myself can only think of him in
    association with another,much less likable species of rodents…..

  3. Hilarious!

    Baron, you are so talented! But I’m glad I’m old and not too much longer for this world, since it is long lost at this point. I am about to start “Dark Albion” which will probably depress me, even as the asparagus and iris cheer me.

    Happy Spring, if you can manage it.

    • Thank you, Mariadee. But this is actually by JLH — he’s the talented one. 🙂

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