Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wolves live in the walls

(based on suggestions from @jellyjellyfish, @facelikethunder, @kenrob2037, @ernmalleyscat)

Wolves live in the walls.

They were bricked up, trapped

here before we moved in

At night I hear their fur brush against

hard mortar between pavers

and sharp backs of picture hooks.

And harks back to picture books

Wild dogs illustrate our halls,

page their way round struts, navigate

hardbacked trenches as soldiers.

They recoil rows of teeth

Muzzles are loaded like cast paydays.

Puzzles are coded like last maydays

they are cryptic behind terracotta

We’ve hung black and white paintings

to cover their canine crosswords.

Our companions are odorous:

sniff out their clues, let slip the dogs.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from four peeps:

  • @jellyjellyfish: “wolves”
  • @kenrob2037: “poems about paintings”
  • @facelikethunder: “The technical features of the German WWI 25cm minenwerfer”
  • @ernmalleyscat: “malapropisms and spoonerisms”

Ok. Here's the nitty-gritty:

Words related to features of the German WWI 25cm minenwerfer feature in the first and second stanza.

The last/first lines of stanzas 1 & 2 and 2 & 3 are attempts at spoonerisms of each other that still make sensible words (the first isn't completely spoonered, I know). It's hard!

There are vague references to famous malaproprisms (excuse no links, I'm really tired):

"Our companions are odorous" (instead of odious) is from Much Ado About Nothing.

Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses said "Good to be back on the old terracotta" (instead of terra firma)

I know it's a bit creepy, but I've always liked the idea that something lives in the space between the walls. We used to have rats in the ceiling when I lived in Hopetoun Road in Warrnambool. Once we heard one of them run across the ceiling, then there was a descending "EEEEEEEE!" as it fell down between the walls, then a thump, then silence. Then a scrambling noise ran under the floor beneath us.

Imagine if there were wolves in our walls.


ern malleys cat said...

That's great, and really clever.
The spoonered lines are great even on their own, but the mirrors across the stanza breaks are brilliant.
I like all the other echos, maybe accidental, like pavers and terracotta, picture hooks and paintings, dogs and wolves etc.
One of my favourites.

Anna said...

None of the echoes you mentioned were accidental, I just never know if anyone notices except me :)

nixwilliams said...

weird, was just writing a song with the first lines "rats in the streets, mice in the walls".

Rob Kennedy said...

Very good, and very clever. I'm a poet and I don't understand some of this, but that's normal. I don't understand some of the things I compose.

Creepy but soft and feminine if I might add. Perhaps you should trademark this idea, it is similar to some of things I was taught, association and such, but you have done a great job. Are you published? And have you tried verse prose, or straight prose? Cheers Rob

Anna said...

Thanks Rob :)

I haven't got a book of poetry published, but I've had single poems published in places like Wet Ink, Overland, The Age, Quadrant, Verandah, etc.

Which idea do you mean, trademark wise? ;)