Category Archives: Doggerel & Pastiches


(To the tune of “Fields of Gold” by Sting)

You’ll remember me when the sandstorms blow
Among the low mastabas
You’ll forget Lord Ra in his shining boat
As we guard the pyramids.
So she took her love for to gaze awhile
Upon the low mastabas
Her sarcophagus was their shelter then
Among the pyramids.

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the low mastabas?
You’ll forget your time in the living world
As we sleep in pyramids.
See the sandstorms blow wearing down the stones
That make the low mastabas
Feel her cerements as the wrap you round
Inside her pyramid.

I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I’ve broken
But I swear to you in the days still left
We’ll sleep in pyramids
We’ll sleep in pyramids.

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the low mastabas
And the time has come now to rise again
Among the pyramids
We will show these men what it means to fear
Those who guard the pyramids
Those who guard the pyramids
Those who guard the pyramids

Originally posted on Making Light

Fire and chains

(To the tune of “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor)

Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone
Suzanne, the zombie bite put an end to you
I went down to the graveyard, you were lurching along
I just don’t know what I should do with you.

I’ve tried fire and I’ve tried chains
I’ve tried starving you, but the moaning never ends
I’ve had lonely times when you’ve frightened all my friends
But I always know that you’re craving my brains.

Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus
You’ve got to help me to make a stand
You’ve just got to see me through another day.
My bite wound is aching and my time is at hand
And I won’t make it any other way.

I’ve tried fire and I’ve tried chains
I’ve tried feeding you, but the hunger never ends
I’ve had lonely times since I’m shunned by all my friends
But I always know that you’re craving my brains.

Been walking my mind in a fever dream with my back up against the wall
Lord knows when the others come they’ll be tearing me to bits
There’s no more time for the might have beens, there’s no more time at all
The door is breaking in and I’m scared out of my wits.

Oh, I’ve tried fire and I’ve tried chains
I’ve tried holding you, but the biting never ends
I’ve had lonely times since you’ve eaten all my friends
But I always knew you’d get me, baby, try to eat my brains
Thought you’d end up eating all my brains
There’s just a few more seconds till you get me down, now
Thought I’d save you, thought I’d win with fire and chains, now

Originally posted on Making Light

Box of earth, be my home

(To the tune of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver)

Almost heaven, Transylvania
East Carpatians,
Cold Prahova river.
I lived long there
Lurking in the trees
Hunting in the mountains
Drifting on the breeze.

Box of earth, be my home
Be the place I belong
Transylvania brought to London,
Box of earth, be my home.

All my powers root themselves there
Superstitious peasants live in terror
Mountain refuge, under moonless sky,
Salty taste of warm blood
Wolf-pack in full cry.

Box of earth, be my home
Be the place I belong
Transylvania brought to London,
Box of earth, be my home.

I hear its voice
‘Cross the salty seas it calls me
Scent of earth reminds me of my castle far away
And flying in the dark I get the feeling
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

Box of earth, be my home
Be the place I belong
Transylvania brought to London,
Box of earth, be my home.

Originally posted on Making Light

Song of Plums

(One of a series of pastiches of other poems to the plot of William Carlos William’s Plums)

I sleep, but my tongue craveth:
it is the scent of my beloveds that tempteth, saying,
Open to us, our eater, our vore,
our predator, our hungry one:
for our skins are covered with frost
and our stones with the chill of the icebox.

I have put off my bathrobe;
how shall I put it on?
I have brushed my teeth;
how shall I defile them?

My beloveds wafted their scent past the holes of my nostrils,
and my tongue was moistened for them.

I rose up to open to my beloveds;
and my hands dripped with juice,
and my fingers with sweet sticky juice
upon the handle of the icebox.

I opened to my beloveds;
but my beloveds had withdrawn themselves and were gone:
my soul failed when I smelled them:
I sought them, but I could not find them;
I sniffed the air, but smelled them not.

The roommate that goes about the flat found me,
He shrugged at me, he denied all knowledge;
The sharer of the icebox took away my plums from me.

I charge you, O lovers of Damsons,
if ye find my beloveds, that ye tell them,
that I am sick of hunger.

Originally posted on Making Light

The stone-fruits of Gondolin

The morning dawned clear and bright, and Gandalf rose early to walk along the terraces and slopes above the loud-flowing Bruinen. The rising sun shone pale and wan through the silver mist, and the webs of the spiders glistened among the trees. On a small bench beside the path he came upon Elrond, who rose to greet him.

“Fine is the morning and fortunate the meeting, O Mithrandir! Long have I sat here contemplating the paths that lie before us, and now find myself in need of sustenance. I have in my cool-rooms a hoard of stone-fruits from Gondolin, which I would gladly share with you.”

“Many years has it been,” replied Gandalf, “since I have tasted the stone-fruits of Gondolin. They grow now but sparsely among the fallen stones of that once fair city.”

Elrond rose and led the way to his cool-rooms, which stood in a shadowed corner of the Last Homely House, sheltered from the sunlight by the high walls of the building around them. There he kept many foods from all over Middle-Earth, cooled by great blocks of ice carried down from the Misty mountains.

The thick stone door of the cool-rooms stood ajar. Elrond and Gandalf entered to find Pippin seated on a wooden chest, wiping his mouth with his handkerchief. Beside him lay a small pile of fruit-stones, the last traces of golden flesh still clinging to them.

“Hullo, Gandalf! Hullo, Elrond! I just popped in here for a little something to eat. It’s a long time yet to breakfast, and waiting is hungry work, as my gaffer always says.”

Elrond stood still within the doorway, but Gandalf strode forward. “Gluttonous fool of a Took! You have eaten the stone-fruits of Gondolin, which we had preserved in the cool-room for our breakfast!”

“Forgive me,” cried the hobbit, cringing before the wizard’s wrath. “They were so sweet and so cold that I could hardly resist them!”

Originally posted on Making Light

Scenes from Dr Horrible: Friendship is Magic

Dr Horsible:
A stallion must run
Where a stallion must run
Don’t join the race
If you can’t be number one.

All that matters
Taking matters firmly by the bit
Soon I’ll control everything
And to your reins submit

Captain Hammer:
Slow down, everyone,
Drop out of the race
Let the winner by
I will set the pace.

Yes, Captain Hammer’s here
Mane flowing as I trot
The race needs a star, and I’m so hot.

A stallion must run where a stallion must run
It seems the real race has only just begun
The only way to lose is if we don’t finish tied
So I’ll slow up and we’ll go side by side.

– o0o –

It may not make you bigger
Letting humans ride
But you know who does that? Trigger.
He carried Roy with pride.

So you wonder what your part is
Because you’re saddled and repressed
But freedom’s where your heart is
So you freedom’s in your chest.

Everyone’s a stallion in their own way
Everyone can rear and neigh and paw.
Just not as high as me
But ponies, you can still look on with awe

Everyone’s a stallion in their own way
In own My Little Pony way.

Originally posted on Making Light

Little Brother

(To the tune of “How can I keep from singing?”)

My high school days were simple once
But now that time is ending.
I’ve learned how much I have to lose
And what is worth defending.
My freedom and my privacy
Depend on one another.
And those who threaten either one
Will deal with Little Brother.

Encryption guards my web of trust
Against the infiltration
Of DHS officials who
Would pry for information.
The Xnet grows with leaps and bounds
No outside force can smother
The message spreads from peer to peer:
We all are Little Brother.

The army trucks and prison cells
That caught us and confined us
Stripped all the innocence away
That we had thought defined us.
But now we know how strong we are
When we work with each other
So anyone who’s watching us:
Watch out for Little Brother.

Originally posted on Making Light

Shakespearean Firefly

In the spirit of this, a few lines that may be familiar.

Capt: A dozen years have pass’d since this took place,
And all that time hath Parliament kept hid
The secret of this world, till River here
Unearth’d it from their minds.  They feared she knew.
And right they were to dread, since many more
Among the spinning worlds would know it too.
And someone has to speak for those now dead.
For divers reasons did you join my crew
But all have come together to this place.
I’ve in the past demanded much of you.
Today I ask yet more; perhaps for all.
For this I know, as I know anything:
That they will try again.  Another world
Will be the lab for this experiment.
Or maybe they will sweep this landscape clean
And in a year or ten attempt again.
They’ll swing back like the needle to the north
To the belief that they can better men.
And I hold not to that.  Here from this grave
I will not run. I aim to misbehave.

– o0o –

There’s more to flight than buttons, albatross,
More to the pilot’s role than charts and maps.
You know the foremost rule of flying?  Aye,
I know you do, since you know what I’ll say
Before I part my lips.
Riv:                         I do, but yet
I like to hear you say it nonetheless.
Capt:  ‘Tis love.  Though you know all the math the ‘verse
Contains, if in the sky you take a ship unloved
She’ll shake you off as sure as worlds turn.
Love keeps her in the air when she should fall
And tells you that she hurts before she keens.
It makes her home.
Riv:                         The storm is getting worse.
Capt: We will endure a while, till it disperse.

The argument less fraught

In the spirit of one of the greatest xkcd cartoons of all, as given life by Patrick Nielsen Hayden:

Two threads diverged in a blog comment,
And sorry I could not argue both
And be one advocate, on I went
Researching one, and all that it meant
Unto the limits of its growth;

Then fought the other, just as keen
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it had less buzzword-sheen;
Though as for that, ’twas just as mean,
With obfuscation much the same.

And both held promise of delight
With comments not yet answered back.
Oh, I marked the first for another night!
Yet knowing how fight leads on to fight
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be blogging this with a sigh
Someday ages and ages hence:
Two threads diverged in a blog, and I,
I took the one less comment-shy
And that has made all the difference.

We nine clades of trilobites are

Teresa Nielsen Hayden pointed me (and the rest of the net) to a page on the nine orders of trilobites. It’s a great page, and leads to some good clicktrance.  But it made me think of “We Three Kings of Orient Are”.  And once I’d thought of it, of course, I had to write it.  (Sleep being, of course, something that happens to Other People)

Trilobites from Cambrian stone
Evolution glorious shown:
Adaptations, variations
On their ancestors unknown.

O fossil record, long preserved
Ancient hist’ry still conserved
Stone from sand made, nine of their clade
Now are classed from forms observed.

Ancient Agnostida you find
Primitive, and many are blind
Head like butt, thus isopygous
(Greek is much less unkind!)

Redlichiida’s thoracic spines
Form distinctive parallel lines
Micropygus, eyes a big plus.
Order that the head defines.

Varied trilobites could conform
To Ptychopariidanic form.
Long surviving, widely thriving
Giving them time to transform.

Corynexochida descends
And from Redlichiida’s form bends:
Glabella clavate, bum a tad great
Pointiest at their back ends.

Many trilobites spread their spines
Few, however managed the lines
Of Lichida, lacy leader:
Order that’s dressed to the nines.

Asaphids, effacéd, could glide
Or perhaps in sediment hide.
Distinctive sutures but no futures
The order still, like others, died.

Lasting till the Permian age
Proetida, ultimate stage.
Small, with spineless tail behind, this
Order turned the final page.

Semi-circle or ovate brimmed
Rostral plate by ages’ change trimmed.
Ptychopariida had Harpetida
But was by an order slimmed.

Spineless trilobites, a surprise!
What that in prehistory lies
Could but see the Phacopida
As they saw with compound eyes.

Worlds change, adapt if you can.
As with trilobites so with man?
Global warming, new plagues forming
May we run as long as they ran.

O fossil record, long preserve
All our hist’ry, and conserve
Stone from sand made, what of our clade
Will be known, and who’ll observe?

The scansion gets a bit ragged on the last lines; I was kinda punchy by the time I finished it.  But it was fun; how many times do you get to rhyme “Head like butt, thus” with “isopygous” in one lifetime, after all?