I just couldn’t get going using today’s WordPress Daily Prompt—someone else’s first line—so I elected to follow another prompt, now that we have this option. In response to The Daily Post’s earlier writing prompt: “Thank You,” I am reposting a parody of “Pied Beauty” (better known by its first line, “Thanks be to God for dappled things.”)
“Thanks Be to Sara Lee for Appled Things” was the irreverent first line that I wrote for its parody for NaPoWriMo in April of last year. I think this was before most of my followers knew who I was, so I’m hoping you won’t be too put out by it.
By way of explanation, I will tell you part of a story—that story being that I actually read a poem to one of my favorite authors of all time today. I won’t interfere with her privacy by naming her or revealing how I happened to meet her, but it was scary and thrilling at the same time. This is how I have come to be sitting here at 4 PM, still not having posted a blog entry for today. This time I can’t blame it on the lack of a computer or the presence of a computer that speaks a different language. It is just me, still a bit dazzled from meeting this very nice, down-to-earth friendly lady who possesses one of the finest minds of our century. So fine that for today, at least, I feel unable to write. All I am thinking is that yes, she liked my poem. (I read “The Ways I Do Not Love You” which was also posted earlier as a NaPoWriMo poem.) I just couldn’t bring myself to read one of my silly ditties in front of someone whose writing I respect so much, fearful that she would think this was all there was to me! How can it be that at this age I still care what people think of me? At least it is to my credit that it was my words I was worried about, not my hair or my weight or what I was wearing. I guess I’ve made some advancements with age. “What are you, sixteen?” my super-critical alter-ego is whispering in my ear right now. “Exactly!” the real me shouts, and wishes it could fit a swim in before dinner.
Okay, here is the NaPoWriMo prompt: Our prompt today was to write a curtal sonnet in the style of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ famous poem “Pied Beauty”. This form consists of a first stanza of six lines followed by a second stanza of five, closing with a half-line. The rhyme scheme is abcabc defdf. I chose to make it a parody of “Pied Beauty” as well.
Here is the original:
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
—Gerard Manley Hopkins
And now, my version:
Pied Beauty II
Thanks be to Sara Lee for appled things—
For pies, for apple fritters and for thin-rolled strudel crust;
For pastries of the fruit of Eve and sauce it swims within;
Fresh-cooked in ovens, how their sweet juice sings;
The sugar clotted and pierced—place it on plate we must;
And all taste, for how can tackling it be such a sin?
All things made of flour and Crisco and of apples sweet;
(How can they by nutritionists be so sorely cussed
With words professing they won’t make us thin?)
With their tart flavor are sure our lips to meet;
And meet again.