Monday, August 13, 2018

August 13, 2018





The Tale of the Pi Characters;
     or, The Lay of the Case.
With a nod to Robert W. Service and Edward Lear

The octothorp and the pilcrow went
One night to the Baseline Bar,
Where a sleek duet of guillemets
Strummed ballads on guitar.

The pilcrow said to the octothorp
As he nervously lit his pipe,
“The parenthesis in period dress
Is definitely not my type.”

“Inverted commas, don’t you think?
Straight quotes are more my style.”
He sipped a drink of something pink
And composed a valiant smile.

But while he minded his p’s and q’s,
There, dotting her i’s at him,
In a velvet chair, fleuron in her hair,
Was the widow known as Em.

“Come hither,” said she to the octothorp,
“For I fully guarantee
that a man in his prime who wants a good time
Can always colon me.”

“Asterisk, I’m not averse,
No, not averse by far—
Comma long with me, for I can see
Fine specimens you are.”

“We hate to dash,” said the octothorp
As he hastily settled the tab.
“But I’m out of sorts and must cut this short—
My friend will call a cab.”

Just then the music quit—full stop—
And all the lights went dim,
As each head turned to see she’d spurned
That swelled rule, Diamond Jim.

With interrobang the bullets flew;
An umlaut joined the fray;
Descenders crashed and symbols clashed
In the general melee.

The ditto and the dingbat fled
And the diaeresis swore;
The manicule, who was no fool,
Pointed toward the door.

There in the quad the pilcrow lay
Sprawled on his ampersand;
Standing over him was a boldfaced Jim
With a bracket in his hand.

With lightning speed, the widow slipped
A dagger from her shoe,
And through the smoke in a single stroke
A wicked backslash drew.

A host of scare quotes stood in awe
As the barkeep cleared the joint.
“The bastard’s dead!” animatedly said
The exclamation point.

The hyphen ate the pretzel sticks,
The virgule drank the booze,
En dashed the sheriff in search of a serif;
The apostrophe refused.

“Just ligature face—are you all right?”
Our heroine implored;
With gentlest kisses on his ellipsis,
The pilcrow she restored.

“What capital developments,”
Said the octothorp to them—
“A punctual spark twixt Paragraph Mark
And the lady that’s known as Em.”

Thus locked up in the chase became
The pair now tightly kerned;
They invited the leading to sing at their wedding
And danced till the carriage returned.

A suitable superscript resolves
This typographic rhyme:
In the upper case, in each other’s embrace
They remained tilde end of time, of time,
They remained tilde end of time.

by Barbara Brannon

Framed
Anne was beheaded on the Tower green on May 19, 
meeting death with courage and even with jest.   (Encyclopedia Britannica)
When Henry the Eighth split from his wife,
He did not deign to spare her life;
His orders said Behead the Queen
Some years before the guillotine.

The swordsman's strike hit clean and true,
But something somehow went askew:
Anne's head went rolling down the hall—
And thus was born the Boleyn ball.

Right past the door, into the lane,
It rolled ahead into the drain,
And mournful folk were heard to utter,
Her Majesty's mind is in the gutter.

The moral of this alley-gory
Is an old familiar story:
Wives, learn from poor Anne's testimony:
Never ask for alimony.


by Barbara Brannon
in volume 5 issue 2

Buy a Copy

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1 comment:

  1. Those are sooo clever and funny, thank you Barbara x

    ReplyDelete

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