Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Chicken by Terry Allan Goodpoe

Once upon an afternoon bleary, while I typed long and dreary,
plagiarizing many a page from a didactic Objectivist bore,
While I typed, furiously tapping, suddenly there came a clucking,
As of something fowly cackling, cackling at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I murmred, `clucking at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its goat upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my typing surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Ayn -
For the crazed and merciless harridan whom the Nambles named Ayn -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew more masculine; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was tapping, and so gently you came clucking,
And so faintly you came clucking, clucking at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Mord-Sith there, and nothing more.

“So you want to look at me tits again; make sure I don’t have no nipple magic controlling me?” Cara asked.

Deep into that Mord-Sith peering, long I stood there wondering, fantasizing,
Hoping, dreaming dreams of skintight red leather BDSM
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Ayn!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Ayn!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me churning,
Soon again I heard a clucking somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there waddled a sinister chicken of the Old World days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Milton Friedman just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no raven.
Ghastly grim and ancient chicken wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Clucked the Chicken, ` bawk-bawk-bawk!.'

To the side, my head I did cock,
raptor gaze I did sweep,
‘Cruel fowl: is it me that you mock?’
demanded I fearing that I may weep.

Clucked the Chicken ‘bawk-bawk-bawk!’

Much I dreaded this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so wickedly,
Though its answer grim meaning – melon sized relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was cursed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as ` bawk-bawk-bawk!'

But the chicken, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one hypehnated word, as if his soul in that one hypenated word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow will he leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, ` bawk-bawk-bawk!'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of " bawk-bawk-bawk, bawk-bawk-bawk!"'

But the Chicken still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking ` bawk-bawk-bawk!'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Gars whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these Nambles he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Ayn!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Ayn!'
Quoth the Chicken, ` bawk-bawk-bawk!'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in D’Hara? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the Chicken, ` bawk-bawk-bawk!'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the Nambles named Ayn -
Clasp a crazed and merciless harridan, whom the Nambles named Ayn?'
Quoth the Chicken, ` bawk-bawk-bawk!.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the Chicken, 'bawk-bawk-bawk!'

And the Chicken, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Milton Friedman just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a dreamwalker that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – “bawk-bawk-bawk!”

- Zap Rowsdower


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