Thursday, February 28, 2008

Poem(s) of the Week

Well, it seems to me like a day for something silly. The two poems below are vaguely connected. The first one was written for the newsletter of a particularly odious job I had in the early 1980s. They were manufacturers of "fine wallpapers," and there was some kind of apple theme going on at the time, I think, that inspired the topic. Like many jobs over the course of my "career," it was hard for them to keep me busy and I ended up doing parts of everyone else's job, not getting paid for it and being bored and unhappy.


The snake said, "Please, just have a taste."

"If you don't eat, it will go to waste."

And Eve - only wanting to be polite

Consented to have just one small bite

And Adam, too, thought it couldn't hurt

To try such a very light dessert.

It wasn't even an apple pie

Which caused such fury in Heaven high

And sent that poor unhappy pair

Away from Eden in dark despair

But though they suffered, and so do we,

For eating the fruit of the apple tree

I can't entirely regret their act

Since it alone, in point of fact,

Introduced the two to carnal sin

Which causes babies to begin

And one baby leading to another

Eventually arrived my mother

Who, I am glad, gave birth to me

So, let's hear it for the apple tree

And before we at Eve too smugly jeer

Remember, without her we wouldn't be here.

- Katherine E. Rabenau

Shortly after "The Apple Pomme" was published, I took a bad fall that resulted in a severe green-stick fracture that nearly broke my small toe OFF my foot, broke two other toes, sprained an ankle, bruised my shoulder and just missed cracking my skull open. How did I manage this? Running away from a pair of cockroaches while standing on top of one of those step ladder/chair things. Hence the second poem in today's double silly poem presentation. I returned from my disability leave to find that the company had been "reorganized" and both of my bosses "phased out." I don't remember if they laid me off or if I quit. I do remember that they told me I was too qualified and too good at my job. The laid off boss called and offered me a big raise and a cool new job which it turned out he couldn't deliver. At the time it all seemed like the end of the world to me instead of the blessing in disguise that it turned out to be. But that's a story for another day. The short version is. I lived. I went into therapy and a tiny ray of sanity broke through a life-time of pure, unadulterated denial about how very insane my family was and how utterly unhappy and troubled I myself was. But this is Poem of the week day. SILLY poem of the week day.... enough serious talk.


Out, out, damned roach, you wicked beast

How dare you in my kitchen feast

You creeping Fiend! You wretched foe!

I beg you from my kitchen go

And lodge with those who wish you well

Or, better yet, go strait to Hell

For you will find no welcome here

But me, all doubled up with fear

A rolled newspaper in one hand

And lots of bug spray - jarred or canned -

Fear's far more dangerous than hate

And death will be your awful fate

If you persist in bugging me

So I advise you now to flee

And find some other place to live

For pity I have none to give

To such unsavory types as you

And so I say to you, "Shoo! Shoo!"

Go somewhere else if you must poach

And hear again, "Out, out, damned roach."

- Katherine E. Rabenau


dcfkaf said...

I like both poems...and enjoyed both of the "background" stories that accompanied them...helped me get into your head at the time you wrote them.

I hope this post goes through, as the one from yesterday did not.

Raven said...

Hi dcfkaf... post did come through... thanks for testing it for me. Guess I'm just going through a reader drought. Glad the background was interesting and not just odd...

SnoopMurph said...

I love the poems and the stories too. To be honest with you, I want to print out the second one and give it to my husband. That is my EXACT sentiment on cockroaches and even more importantly, spiders. Amen.

Keep the poems coming! I love them!

Raven said...

Hi Linda,

Glad you liked the poems - and my sad history. Please feel free to print the cockroach poem out and do what you will with it. I kept a copy hanging in my kitchen in NYC for years in hopes of warding off further invasions. I think cockroaches (and I am with you on spiders too) are quite smart. I swear that they knew when I wasn't wearing my glasses. And when I had the broken foot and was not just in a cast but a cast that didn't allow me to put that foot down - it was as if they knew just how helpless I was. I put nothing past them.... Spiders, I think, can be reasoned with, though I am more willing to reason with them if they stay a respectable distance away.... Oh dear... my craziness is showing....

Thanks for your encouragement and kind words.

Dianne said...

Ah - kitchens in NYC - the place where all roaches begin LOL

I lived in an awful roach infested place once - was all I could afford. It was owned by Trump's Daddy and they never fixed or cleaned the trash chutes. When I finally got out of there I set off a roach bomb, went back and swept them all up, put them in a huge envelope and mailed them to Trump Management with a note that said "wouldn't want you to think I took anything from the apartment"

One of my finest moments!

Love your poems.

I love spiders though ;)

Raven said...

Dianne - what a great story. I was incredibly lucky, actually, to live in Stuyvesant Town when during all of the 33 years I lived in New York. Cockroaches were a pretty rare occurrence there and I never had a problem again after the broken foot adventure. It may have helped that I got my cats shortly after that. (Cats were technically illegal in Stuy Town although 3/4ths of the tenants had them and Stuy Town pretty much turned a blind eye to them.)

But I digress... I can't remember what book it was but I remember what was for me a terrorizing passage in a book written - I think - by a fire fighter... describing going into a basement where he realized that the walls were moving... which reminds me of a story for snoopmurph. Brilliant paleontologist whose name won't come to me at the moment (I'm so bad at names). He wrote an essay about the great discovery he never made because of crawling into a cave that was full of spiders. He couldn't move past his fear of them. Any great wonders that cave may have held remain secret. Wish I could remember his name. I tried to google a clue for myself but no luck... If I remember I'll let you know... the book is a good read above and beyond the spider story.

Dianne said...

raven - my son works for Verizon and goes down into manholes all over Manhattan. His tales of what's down there are pretty horrid. Giant waterbugs - he hopes they're waterbugs and well - I'll just leave it at that!

All the workers cover every square inch of skin down there and then they shake out all their clothes before they get into the truck.

Raven said...

dianne:all I can say is "YUCK!!!!!" and better him than me. I have made a sort of truce with spiders over the years but crawly things in general scare me just thinking about them. I'm not a Verizon customer but tell your son "thanks" for his courage on behalf of phone talkers everywhere.