Thursday, March 14, 2013

Valediction Fiction


A Valedictory Victory
Made local history
When a riparian valetudinarian
Ripped his capuchin velveteen,
Quipped while fishing a teeming stream,
Tripped on his tongue while telling tales,
Slipped while sampling bitter ales
&  without doubt without a single trout
Paddled the effluvium of an alluring alluvium
With a bipartisan antiquarian: no barbarian:
Hale sexagenarian and former salutatorian.

The valetudinarian of mien Victorian,
Obscuring hypochondriasis in mists antediluvian,
Straddled a soapbox and in tones sub-stentorian
Recounted the works and days of a Life hyperborean:
Detailed its bundled start in a frigid nation––
Its every moment eliciting glorification––
From parturition to yuppily-yclept Yankee,
From infancy taurian to adolescence saurian,
From precocious matriculation to perspicacious valedictorian,
From pyrrhic victory laps to marches praetorian,
From householder-rajah to Satyagraha
Establishing a modest moratorium
On morbidity and importunate mortality:
Unfortunate banality.

The antiquarian, of a gentler clime,
Listened to the Yankee’s relentless rhymes,
Bethought him of hydrangeas and hollyhocks,
Bemused by the soapbox
Rocking in the middle of their rowboat,
Bemused, indeed, by waving arms––
By this showboat hortatory,
Expostulating, declamatory––
By the vibrating gestures
Of the orator atop the waves,
Decried the waving as inflammatory,
Albeit illustrative, explanatory.
Nor did the vocal vibrations cease:
Lively perturbations seeking release;
Nor did the oscillations decrease, abate,
Though languidly the Southerner, too late, espied
How the small craft’s tipping point was nigh.

“Measure once, measure twice,”
Said the (literally) laid-back salutatorian.
“Before you cut, before you slice––”
(Gurgle, gurgle: dashed by a wave
Splashing into the boat,
He continued the thought:)

‘–––Before slicing your life’s pattern into air,
‘Beware, beware, the maddening momentum,
‘The sheer cascades, the deceiving rhythm   
‘Of verbal escapades.’

From the bottom of the rocking boat,
Seeing his fellow, a rocking horse rider,
Clear the hedges, their watery boughs––
Steer his mount across watery troughs––
Like some docile Pegasus, wings atrophied,
Cantering rhythmically, febrile bird on speed,
Seeing him now, by words bewitched,
Benighted, Befuddled, Muddled, Unhitched,
Seeing him so, the Southerner, the salutatorian
Dawdled and drawled, gave debonair his all,

But too late! (you know of course
The boat will tip, the river horse
Will skitter and skip, balk and trip,
Scatter the boughs of the watery hedges,
Matter for clearing by river dredges;
The valedictorian, accidental historian,
Will feel no remorse, only oblivion,
When, engulfed by a wave, too late to be saved
He sees in a flash his sub-marine grave).

But then they shall rise, two wet fellows,
Shoot to the surface, cling to the boat,
Recall life’s purpose, stay afloat,
Till rescue in the form of a team
Of muscular non-thinking slackers
Is seen paddling downstream,
Come to the fore, ready to hand:
Ready to carry the men to shore,
Ready to carry the men to dry land–
And take the horse to the knacker’s.

The valedictorian, though thrown off course,
Will keep the prize but lose his horse.
And Pegasus, lying in pieces on the riverbed,
Tiny retractable wings barely visible,
Will after all be left for dead, for risible–

Pegasus at rest on her daybed,
Awaits the words that will
Make her rise
And give her her head.

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