The Canoe Of Death

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are trying to keep up with the overwhelming demand for parodies of poems by D.H. Lawrence. You may not be aware that Lawrence wrote poems, but he did, and many of them were pretty damn great. Of course the greater the poem, the riper for parody. This week’s bit is to be read only after clicking on the link below and reading what is arguably Lawrence’s poetic masterpiece, “The Ship of Death”:


https://kalliope.org/en/text/lawrence2001061776

(With no apologies and a taffy apple to D.H. Lawrence.)

                                    I.

Now it is Fall and the falling fruit

falls on me and sends me on the long journey towards oblivion.

Like swollen balls of dew they fall

down my shirt and briefs and seem to say, “No exit,”

but Jean-Paul Sartre used that already

and what is he but a fallen fruit?

Perhaps it is Springtime instead?

Anyway, it is time to look in the mirror

and wave bye-bye at one’s self. So long!

                                    II.

Have you carved your canoe of death, O tell me have you?

O you must carve your canoe of death,

I insist, really you must,

for they come in ever so handy when you are dead.

I’ve ridden in mine countless times.

But now Suzie Snowflake is nipping at my nose.

Was that thunder I heard, or…No, it was just another

apple that fell on my head. Silly me!

And death is on the air like an old cardigan sweater.

Dear me, can’t you smell that nasty smell?

Someone is burning leaves.

And in the bruised apple, yes, the very same one

I told you about, the little worm is wriggling.

How tiny and cold he is!

There’s a lesson there, don’t you think?

                                    III.

Quiet, please, O I beg you be quiet,

I can’t hear myself think, it’s such a tiny sound

like a dagger bruising a bare bodkin

or a bullet being bitten, O don’t you see?

If you don’t shut up I shall murder you. Ah!

                                    IV.

(A minute of silence.)

                                    V.

So build your canoe of death, you’ll need it

where you’re going, bye-bye, far away

where the sugar plums grow and never fall

nasty plop! on your head and make it all sticky

like a slimy nasty old worm. Ugh! O ugh I say!

Already something has soaked my breeches,

the waters of the infinite sea of boredom

are drenching my codpiece.

O carve your canoe of death, you witless twit,

stock it with tuna fish salad and candied apples

and powdered milk and sugarless gum — anything,

just so you go away

and don’t come back.

                                    VI.

We are dying, O please let us die dear God,

I won’t forgive you if you don’t

for we are dying bit by bit,

our noses are falling off,

I feel dead already, don’t you?

O say that you do!

                                    VII.

(A minute of quiet, bitter sobbing.)

                                    VIII.

(Several minutes of uncontrolled weeping, followed by

the Author falling to his hands and knees

and banging his head on the floor.)

                                    IX.

(The sobbing gradually becomes a violent, hacking cough.)

                                    X.

Let us sail our little canoe through the lagoon of life,

Let’s see if we can sink it, shall we?

O dear God the doctor says I will live after all!

I threw an apple at him and he bruised beautifully.

Then he smiled and sank my boats in the bathtub.

I could have kissed him for joy.

But instead I held him under the suds

and started him on the long journey towards oblivion.

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