Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Quoth the Tuna

Today for 8th grade I got to write a three verse parody of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. Yes, I know it was TeenTuna's homework, not my homework, and believe me, I would have rather been scrubbing bathtub grout or brushing my cat's teeth than rewriting the classics. But she had been trying to re-Poe Poe for several days, and after getting in a good line here and there amid a great deal of struggling, I jumped in to help her.

She wanted her parody to be based on her school musical, which is Clue. And yes, there is (or was) a musical based on the board game Clue, so this parody was faced with having to rhyme with words like Colonel Mustard and revolver and library, so you can tell from the get-go this was going to be no picnic.

Add to this the fact that I was asked to produce parody after working and teaching for 12 straight hours. I was faced with a project that demanded 18 phrases that contain interior rhymes, alliteration, repetitive phrases and a rhythmic meter that matches the original line for line. Homework after work-work is never good on a Tuesday night when I have trouble enough putting nouns and verbs together in any sort of coherent pattern.

But we dove in and started being Poe-ets (ba-DUMP-BUMP!). Or I did, anyway. TeenTuna spent most of the time whining, "This is hard," as if couch-coaching was a strenuous activity. I denied her use of the iPod despite her LAME rationale that listening to music provided her with inspiration, because I figured if I was going to spend the remainder of the evening pondering rhymes for candlestick she could forgo Annie Lennox.

As we were working, GramTuna came over to check on our progress. TeenTuna excused herself and I looked up wearily and said, "This is a pain." GramTuna wondered at the real purpose of the exercise and having nothing better to offer, I said, "I guess it's supposed to teach them how to steal great works of literature and make them your own." She laughed and said, "Or how to get OTHERS TO DO IT FOR YOU."


Work continued and we got about halfway through the 3rd and final stanza. Then, the unfortunate happened. Tiredness took over, and predictably, I got silly. We (I) decided that somehow, someway we HAD to include the word "quaff" in our parody, because "quaff" is our favorite line in the poem. In fact, we're such dorks poetry lovers, we run around saying, "Oh Quaff! Quaff!" and then bursting into hysterics. So I toiled and retooled until I got QUAFFING and repetitive text going in the same line:

And his plan which he was thinking made me wonder, was he drinking?
What's with knives and ropes and wrenches lying all across my floor?
To the kitchen he went snacking, after eating went attacking
but he paused to do some quaffing -- quaffing for his throat was sore.
"What's a quaff?" I cried and coughed while through my dictionary tore.
Some old word, and nothing more.

This got changed a bit because TeenTuna threw a hissy fit became highly concerned about the drinking part. Otherwise, the quaff part stayed, and I was happy. The poem was finished and it worked. I was especially happy because despite its difficulty, this particular exercise in futility had nothing to do with the words "diorama" and "The Old Man and the Sea" because I'm still not over that 9th grade project in which I got a C because I'm NOT ARTISTIC, OK, AND THE BEST I COULD DO WAS THROW CRAP IN A SHOEBOX AND CALL IT "AFTER THE HURRICANE." The day she comes home with that assignment is the day I start quoting the raven, and quaffing some sweet nepenthe.

Having to repeat the 8th grade has to have some benefits.

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


Antoinette said...

Looking forward to the Collected Works of Tuna Poe! I've put it on my Christmas List :)

bozoette said...

Ah, absinthe without official leave, I see.

annie said...

Good job, Poe-ettes!! I actually received the "Poe Prize" when we were in 10th grade, from Mrs. Hammerle before my parents got me the hell out of her class and into Collar's.

I believe I also tanked on the Old Man-in-a-Box project. Just remember:everybody has to have a chance to succeed, not just those of us who can write a sentence properly.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a weekend party, while I pondered, bored and arty,
Over many a tired and trite anecdote of pompous prattle,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone rudely rapping, rapping to annoy me more.
" 'Tis some moron," I muttered, "tapping to annoy me more;
Only this, and nothing more."
The Boy.