Monday, February 1, 2010

Just Shoot Me!


This is a villanelle. A poem in fixed form, consisting of a number of tercets (usually five) and a concluding quatrain. It has only two rhymes, and the first and third lines of the poem are repeated in alternate tercets and at the end of the final quatrain. It established itself in the 16th century in France. Yes, blame it on the French.

Now to make this more difficult, two of my GeneaBlogging/Twitter friends, Family Stories and Desperately Seeking Surnames have issued a challenge you will recognize within the poem. It is the result of me sticking my foot in my mouth and now choking on it.

I start each Chapter of my Family History with a vignette. This poem would take the place of the vignette used to discuss Louis Salter's many faceted job description. The original story is "In The Competent Hands of Louis Salter." To understand the poem it might be best to familiarize yourself with the story. Technically not what was called for in this Carnival, it is however, my contribution.

Louis Salter kept it together all the time. He kept it together for Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic, and as you will see in this poem?, even New York's finest. Louis Salter was my great grandfather and the Superintendent of Carnegie Hall for over thirty years. And now . . .

Looking like fools with their pants on the ground.
The Irishmen gather igniting a Carnegie altercation
Of pants on the ground, pants on the ground.

They are Sinn Fein and they plan to defiantly sound
The call to arms, a trademark of their organization.
Looking like fools with their pants on the ground.

Salter places a call to the precinct amid a background
Of groans, hisses, boos and a major distraction
Of pants on the ground, pants on the ground.

Fifteen men and women, Sinn Fein abound.
A kicking swearing mass of insurrection
Looking like fools with their pants on the ground.

"What About Ireland?" they yell spellbound,
Engaged in a choreographed rendition
Of pants on the ground, pants on the ground.

The disturbance is squelched, the Times having found
Louis Salter admirably handled the situation.
Looking like fools with their pants on the ground.
Of pants on the ground, pants on the ground.



With abject apologies to Dylan Thomas' - Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night.
The most famous example of this form in English.

13 Comments:

Blogger Greta Koehl said...

OMG, this is going to go viral on YouTube. I am still recovering....

February 1, 2010 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

This is what happens when crazy Twitter friends issue a challenge and I am stubborn enough to try to do it.

I don't really envision my ancestors with their pants on the ground on YouTube.

-fM

February 1, 2010 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Greta Koehl said...

Well, I was actually recovering from laughing so hard. Because I can envision my ancestors ... or at least a couple of them....

February 2, 2010 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Not that I couldn't see them in a brawl, just not on YouTube. Maybe a post office wall. LOL!

-fM

February 2, 2010 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

What a kick in the pants! Loved it and giggled my way every bit of the way through this romp.

February 4, 2010 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Oh Joan, thank you!

You are the master. I am the fool!

-fM

February 4, 2010 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

What a hoot! Your 'ode' is neat, and the story behind it very interesting.

Most of my ancestors were farmers, and it seems that most lived near towns too small to have their own newspaper! (they could have planned better for us who now seek to know more!)

February 4, 2010 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thanks Sherry!

And darn, most of mine with so poor in the 1800s they didn't even own a computer.

-fM

February 4, 2010 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Brett Payne said...

:-) nice touch fM.

February 4, 2010 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Crazy Twitter friends?? WHAT? I'm not crazy I'm NUTS!!! *LOL* Love it!!

February 4, 2010 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Yes, readers of fM. Jenna is one of my very best Twitter friends. She and Caroline wondered if I could incorporate "pants on the ground" into my COG submission. A serious? submission that actually rhymed.

Dylan Thomas rolls over in his grave, sits up, and shakes his writing hand at me. Mea Culpa!

-fM

February 4, 2010 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Brett - was that Nice Touch, or

Nice, Touched?

-fM

February 4, 2010 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Brett Payne said...

Yes ;-)

February 4, 2010 at 6:22 PM  

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