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The Baker's Bounty--A Second Agony
HenryII

Fit the Ninth:  An Epileptic Epilogue
 1
 
 
“The Baker’s a burglar,
 2
a brute and a brigand
 3
the Brigadier-General declared.
 4
“I could state it three times
 5
or in Greek if I'd spoke it
 6
--but regardless, my words can't be shared."
 7
 
 
"My sources have said,
 8
that the Baker's not dead
 9
though a 'Boojum' was thought his demise.
 10
This was all a charade
 11
that he'd artfully played
 12
since he'd boarded your ship in disguise."
 13
 
 
"He'll proudly proclaim
 14
he's forgotten his name,  
 15
but I tell you that's only a ruse;
 16
he is named on his warrant,
 17
as 'Carcass' or 'Captive'
 18
--a name I've been fated to choose."
 19
 
 
“There are forty-two boxes,
 20
or at least there once were,
 21
and his name is on each I recall.
 22
But how could a man
 23
whose forgotten, remember
 24
the name to be written at all?"
 25
 
 
“And the contents good sir,
 26
as I’m sure you’ve surmised,
 27
had been meant not for him, but a fence;
 28
from artwork and relics
 29
to lowly cadavers
 30
that perished at someone's expense.”
 31
 
 
“The coats and the boots
 32
that he wore weren’t for warmth
 33
and by now have been traded for gold.
 34
And if left unattended—
 35
he would have surrendered—
 36
the bell that you presently hold.”
 37
 
 
"A remarkable claim,"
 38
the Bellman remarked,
 39
"but you've not said, what you've said thrice.
 40
You could say it twice more
 41
or just once and then once
 42
but either I'm sure would suffice."
 43
 
 
Without hesitation,
 44
the Brigadier-General
 45
twice uttered each word he had said.
 46
It would seem each word echoed
 47
in deft repetition
 48
or that he had stuttered instead.
 49
 
 
The Bellman replied--
 50
now convinced he'd not lied,
 51
since a statement is fact if thrice-heard--
 52
"that Baker's a fribble,
 53
a fraud and a faker--
 54
yet baker was always inferred."
 55
 
 
"I knelled at the wakes
 56
of the crew now departed--
 57
the Boots and myself but remain;
 58
but my bell won't resound
 59
till the clapper is found
 60
so I'll clang at the Baker in vain."
 61
 
 
By maladroit measures
 62
a map manifested
 63
with nary a legend or chart--
 64
"the Isle of Snarks,
 65
has been marked with an 'X',
 66
and is where I suggest that you start."
 67
 
 
Fit the Tenth:  The Bounty Hunters
 68
 
 
The Brigadier-General,
 69
the first of the crew,
 70
had monocles--one for each eye
 71
and the source of his hobble
 72
would vary depending
 73
on whom he'd enchanted nearby.
 74
 
 
To curious ladies
 75
with playful intentions
 76
the source of his limp was a snark
 77
But to men without stature
 78
or militant standing
 79
his wound wouldn't warrant remark.
 80
 
 
His whiskers extended
 81
the width of his figure
 82
and further when wildly unkempt
 83
so he, like a cat
 84
without fear, could endeavor
 85
each entrance he wished to attempt.
 86
 
 
An aged Balloonist
 87
oft sought, was commissioned
 88
to help commandeer during flights
 89
yet he had a fear that
 90
would prove inconducive
 91
for travel at mountainous heights.
 92
 
 
A ladder must dangle--
 93
a small stipulation--
 94
that grazes the landscape below
 95
so he on a rung
 96
not too high for his liking
 97
could pilot and travel in tow.
 98
 
 
The Barber agreed
 99
out of duty and goading
 100
to join but gave warning ahead:
 101
"as a man of inaction,
 102
I'm seldom 'well-done',
 103
but rather 'well-thought' or 'well-said'.
 104
 
 
The strands on his head
 105
held his secret quite poorly
 106
despite being long and just so
 107
for the slightest of sighs
 108
could unweave his disguise
 109
thus exposing what none were to know.
 110
 
 
His prior assignment
 111
as priory barber
 112
help him master his tonsuring skill
 113
but his work in asylums
 114
was sorely affected--
 115
he would tonsure the mentally ill.
 116
 
 
So immense were his debts
 117
that the Beekeeper joined
 118
but demanded his pay in advance
 119
he'd yet to see gains
 120
from the lantern he'd patented
 121
which he'd founded by research and chance.
 122
 
 
The 'skep lights' he trundled
 123
each boasted a candle
 124
that he'd lit by the spark of a snark--
 125
so besides a bee handler
 126
he's also a chandler
 127
so none shall be left in the dark.
 128
 
 
Through forced coexistence
 129
he'd built up resistance
 130
to toxins that most can't endure
 131
it only took years
 132
of perpetual stinging
 133
by bees that all died for their cure.
 134
 
 
With a mind for baroque
 135
and not modern romantics
 136
the Bard and his mandore took board.
 137
He strummed the achievements
 138
of people forgotten--
 139
a fate that the crew can't afford.
 140
 
 
"Omit every blunder;
 141
embellish our exploits!"
 142
the Brigadier-General decreed
 143
"We'll not be remembered
 144
through ballads as failures,
 145
so alter the facts as you need."
 146
 
 
With much opposition
 147
and shaky credentials
 148
the Barmaid was last to enlist
 149
Most thought her attire
 150
ensured she was hired
 151
but 'that's not the case,' some insist.
 152
 
 
The Brigadier-General
 153
had gravely asserted:
 154
"the assumptions abounding are erred--
 155
her figure though pert
 156
and without imperfections
 157
would not leave my judgment impaired."
 158
 
 
"When fending off boojums
 159
with daggers and tankards
 160
she'd always avoided a spill
 161
they'd once severed her arm--
 162
which she'd sewn to refasten--
 163
and then she proceeded to kill."
 164
 
 
"Let the scars on her arms
 165
be our proof she was darned
 166
while upholding the code of her craft
 167
and I'm sure that you'd find
 168
had we left her behind
 169
that our ship wasn't properly staffed."
 170
 
 
With their goals now aligned
 171
and their duties assigned
 172
the crew was equipped for the trip.
 173
All worries were noted
 174
and duly considered
 175
except for their lack of a ship.
 176
 
 
Fit the Eleventh:  The Twice-Sunken Frigate
 177
 
 
Near a tundra once wooded
 178
where borogroves idled
 179
in a lake that's now dormant with ice
 180
is an icicled mast
 181
on the grave of a frigate
 182
that somehow achieved sinking twice.
 183
 
 
"This iceburgesque vessel
 184
ought re-resurrect"
 185
the Brigadier-General had urged
 186
"I'll perch on the mast
 187
as the task is completed
 188
--you've only five sixths still submerged."
 189
 
 
"Now I sense your frustrations
 190
but such excavations
 191
if left to defrosting takes weeks;
 192
were it frost, I'd consider,
 193
but icy patinas
 194
require less passive techniques."
 195
 
 
With night now approaching
 196
the darkness encroached
 197
on a mission they mustn't postpone
 198
their skeps shed them light
 199
but were beacons that beckoned
 200
to the beings they'd known as unknown.
 201
 
 
The unknown were wispy
 202
and spoke in third person
 203
through whispers and nods of the head;
 204
were their eyes not reflective
 205
they'd not be detected
 206
in the dimly-lit light that was shed.
 207
 
 
"I have seen them before,"
 208
said the Barmaid with fright,
 209
"they have watched from the end of my bed;
 210
though they prey on the dying
 211
they seek out the sleeping
 212
in the hope that they're dying instead."
 213
 
 
"Their nods are unnerving;
 214
their diet's disturbing
 215
and I whisper for fear that they'll hear.
 216
We must hasten our efforts,"
 217
the Barber had pleaded,
 218
"I'm more weary than I might appear."
 219
 
 
"Hold your yawns until dawn"
 220
said the Brigadier-General
 221
as he climbed from the mast to the nest
 222
"We will finish with splinters,
 223
with frostbite and blisters,
 224
and we'll do so without any rest."
 225
 
 
The Bard played a dirge
 226
in the grandest of tempos
 227
while the Barmaid poured freshly-brewed draft
 228
"Our spirits are readied
 229
so let's set the standard
 230
for unsinking a twice-sunken craft."
 231
 
 
They picked at the ice
 232
in a rhythmic succession
 233
at an archaeological pace
 234
"This speed would be suited
 235
for unearthing fossils
 236
but this isn't the time or the place."
 237
 
 
As the air became dense
 238
the Balloonist could sense
 239
that a torrent of snowflakes was due;
 240
its smell is distinctive,
 241
his joints are instinctive
 242
and to date his predictions proved true.
 243
 
 
The snow brought a chill
 244
like a solemn expression
 245
and gradually buried their site.
 246
The Bard felt compelled
 247
to depict this occasion
 248
with a canvas he'd aptly left white.
 249
 
 
Their digits were frigid
 250
and not in agreement
 251
with the work that their wills had intended
 252
most thought the cause folly
 253
and worked without passion
 254
while the others just merely pretended.
 255
 
 
The Brigadier-General
 256
addressed their resentments
 257
with a lecture he'd deftly prepared
 258
it emphasized interest
 259
in militant vessels
 260
and the risks of expenses not spared.
 261
 
 
He had spoken at length
 262
with an unrivaled fervor
 263
unaware that he hadn't been heard;
 264
it would have brought about tears
 265
and a standing ovation
 266
had the wind not obscured every word.
 267
 
 
Every light had been snuffed
 268
by the onslaught of gusts
 269
but the Beekeeper swiftly took action
 270
he'd relit the wicks
 271
through the abrasion of sticks--
 272
the method preferred by his faction.
 273
 
 
Their picking was mimicked
 274
with increasing fierceness
 275
by the creatures that bellowed below
 276
till a synchronized bash
 277
made the surrounding ice smash
 278
and progressively split from the floe.
 279
 
 
The narwhals that surfaced
 280
then flourished their tusks
 281
in an unorchestrated display
 282
the Bard then conducted
 283
their moonlit sonata
 284
till the last of them vanished away.
 285
 
 
"Our ship has dislodged
 286
but is not yet unsunken"
 287
the Brigadier-General explained
 288
"we've no other choice
 289
than by lever or hoist
 290
for the ship to be properly drained."
 291
 
 
The crew had responded
 292
by salvaging timbers
 293
from a bathing machine found at shore
 294
they used them as levers
 295
and lifted the frigate
 296
till the ship was deemed safe to explore.
 297
 
 
The water poured forth
 298
through the portholes below
 299
while the waters beneath stayed contained
 300
as the ship was now buoyant
 301
the levers did little
 302
though their efforts seemed equally strained.
 303
 
 
If their time were determined
 304
by gnomons and umbras
 305
then they'd finished at the time they'd begun;
 306
it took less than a night,
 307
that's the best they could reason,
 308
since their sundial relied on the sun.
 309
 
 
Fit the Twelfth:  The 42 Boxes
 310
 
 
The Brigadier-General
 311
repelled by a grapnel
 312
from the nest to the depths of the hold
 313
his first chilling sight
 314
were stalactites of ice
 315
that imprisoned the hull with its cold.
 316
 
 
If production were rushed
 317
then a shipwright's wrongdoing
 318
may have left the ship whole but unsound
 319
yet upon its inspection
 320
not a single detection
 321
of a flaw or a defect was found.
 322
 
 
He trudged up the slope
 323
and away from the crates
 324
quite conveniently stacked to one side
 325
"I am either befuddled
 326
or this ship was scuttled
 327
by a helmsman with something to hide."
 328
 
 
At the tip of the hold
 329
was a corpse that had bloated
 330
having suffered for months from decay
 331
he was wrapped in a linen
 332
on which it was written
 333
all the words he no longer could say:
 334
 
 
"The day I know not--
 335
while at sea I'd forgot--
 336
and I've really no leisure to guess
 337
by the time this is read
 338
I am sure to be dead
 339
but I welcome death's touch I confess."
 340
 
 
"I had boarded this ship
 341
on a snark-hunting trip
 342
as a Broker that England revered
 343
but to those that pick pockets
 344
or lock-pick for profit
 345
I'm a fence they respected, but feared."
 346
 
 
"My trusted accomplice,
 347
(a baker's apprentice),
 348
had been tried for a crime yet unsolved
 349
their proof was substantial
 350
but deemed circumstantial
 351
so they failed to prove he's involved."
 352
 
 
"Our twofold intent
 353
for this arctic safari:
 354
was to capture a snark as implied
 355
and to also dispute
 356
how I'd value the loot
 357
which the slight-handed Baker supplied."
 358
 
 
"But our ill-gotten freight
 359
was remembered too late
 360
so it stayed on the beach safely locked
 361
till a high-rising tide
 362
took the crates for a ride
 363
to the shore where our ship finally docked."
 364
 
 
"At the Bellman's request
 365
every sail was furled
 366
so the wind couldn't dictate our course.
 367
"Let the waves guide the way,"
 368
as he often would say,
 369
"like a coach with a self-governed horse."'
 370
 
 
"If the Bellman were skilled
 371
at the helm as we'd thought
 372
we'd have docked at an earlier date."
 373
We instead sat adrift
 374
for just less than a year
 375
since we'd left navigation to fate."
 376
 
 
"He tugged us to shore
 377
by a tuft of our hair
 378
having thought us unable to swim
 379
then without much delay
 380
we had searched night and day
 381
for a creature known only to him."
 382
 
 
"While we'd heard of the snark
 383
most had thought it was myth
 384
so we wouldn't have known it by sight
 385
but our doubts were dispelled
 386
when the Baker was boojumed
 387
which confirmed that the Bellman was right."
 388
 
 
"They searched for the Baker
 389
with half-hearted effort
 390
for they feared that they'd meet the same end.
 391
So they packed up the crates
 392
and the rest of our things
 393
while I'd fruitlessly searched for my friend."
 394
 
 
"I called out his names
 395
as I retraced his steps
 396
till his steps met with steps not his own
 397
Where their paths overlapped
 398
were the last steps he took
 399
since his captor had raptured or flown."
 400
 
 
"His haunting last words
 401
seemed to herald a "boo"
 402
were an unsuffixed word his intent.
 403
We'd considered a bookend,
 404
a boon and the Boots
 405
but a "boojum" had surely been meant."
 406
 
 
"I'd searched just enough
 407
to allay future guilts
 408
having humored all logical leads
 409
I then raced toward the pier,
 410
not for speed, but from fear,
 411
as I clutched at my rosary beads."
 412
 
 
"The beach had been cleared
 413
save a crate that appeared
 414
to be tied to a mast in the aft.
 415
As the ship went to sea
 416
so did crate 43
 417
on the flotsam that served as its raft."
 418
 
 
"I was first and last mate
 419
of the raft and its crate
 420
till the crew heard my tapering cries.
 421
Whether left or forgotten
 422
my outcomes were equal;
 423
having stayed, either way, proved unwise."
 424
 
 
'"You've not been betrayed,"'
 425
the Bellman lamented
 426
"'we had left on the Beaver's advice.
 427
It was trusted to tally
 428
our eight person galley
 429
but proceeded to count itself twice."'
 430
 
 
'"A miscalculation
 431
by one may seem harmless
 432
but you know all too well that's not true.
 433
As a lesson we'll feast
 434
on this two-timing beast
 435
and it's scraps shall be made into glue."'
 436
 
 
"Despite our objections
 437
the Butcher obliged--
 438
in exchange he laid claim to its hide.
 439
It then moaned in distress
 440
as he bludgeoned its head
 441
till the Bellman declared it had died."
 442
 
 
"My hunger outweighed
 443
every will to decline
 444
a serving of beaver au gratin.
 445
Its taste was superb--
 446
I had seconds or thirds--
 447
alas, I'd lost count and forgotten."
 448
 
 
"For the whole of my trip
 449
I'd remained in the hold
 450
till each crate was appraised except one.
 451
The waterlogged crate
 452
left afloat was deemed worthless
 453
so I'd listed its contents as 'none'."
 454
 
 
"The freight rate is less,"
 455
so the Banker attests,
 456
"if the cargo is towed and not stowed.
 457
It's a commonplace trick
 458
in the East Indies trade
 459
though may lead to a valueless load."
 460
 
 
"Either the Bellman's inept
 461
or is highly adept
 462
at crusading his ship across land,
 463
for this ship's now landlocked--
 464
when we'd left it was not--
 465
how this happened I don't understand."
 466
 
 
"Muffled murmurs on deck--
 467
sounding just as perplexed--
 468
were drowned out by a bell's distant chime.
 469
After three verberations
 470
came an ominous silence
 471
--had it tolled to alarm or tell time?"
 472
 
 
“Had the time not been three,
 473
I’d have thought this to be
 474
‘an alarm’, but I sadly had not.
 475
I instead went to sleep
 476
without thoughts that would keep
 477
any narcolept up in his cot.”
 478
 
 
"But just as I feared
 479
they had each disappeared
 480
and the source of the chimes weren't around
 481
 
 
the contents escaped
 482
from the forty-third crate
 483
...
 484
 
 
Missing a couple of stanzas
 485
 
 
The post-script was scribbled
 486
as if he'd been worried
 487
that his death may precede his last quote:
 488
"let the manifest state
 489
that the forty-third crate
 490
held a boo"--but that's all that he wrote."
 491
 
 
Fit the Thirteeth:  The Downward Flight
 492
 
 
To ready the ship
 493
the masts were each stripped
 494
so the Balloonist could fashion
 495
for its first airborne trip
 496
the masts had been stripped of their sails
 497
The Balloonist then fashioned
 498
a make-shift balloon
 499
from the linens, the sails
 500
 
 
The linens were fashioned
 501
with perfect precision
 502
for the use as a hot-air balloon
 503
The Balloonist then tethered
 504
his
 505
 
 
(Skip some stanzas)
 506
 
 
To showcase his talent
 507
with chisel and mallet
 508
the Bard carved a bust in the prow,
 509
but her feminine torso
 510
had decidedly moreso
 511
than nature was prone to endow.
 512
 
 
(Skip some stanzas)
 513
 
 
His accent was heavy,
 514
his word choice was light
 515
and he seldom had something to say
 516
so without explanation
 517
or quaint conversation
 518
the Balloonist had wandered away.
 519
 
 
(Skip some stanzas)
 520
 
 
"It's whiskers aren't whiskers
 521
but fisherman's wire
 522
forever ensnared in its lips
 523
and its feathers are fletching
 524
from arrows once lobbied
 525
from the bow of a snark-hunting ship."
 526
 
 
(Skip some stanzas)
 527
 
 
His seaweeded whiskers
 528
As the height of the masts slowly shrank
 529
 
 
When a ship is thrice-sunken, it's sank.
 530
 
 
Fit the Fourteenth:  The Botanist
 531
 
 
(to be continued...)
 532

I'm a great admirer of the poem "The Hunting of the Snark" but I felt that the ending left me disappointed and with several questions.  The poem I'm writing now will continue the story and answer some of the questions.  

If this poem doesn't make sense so far, I encourage you to read "The Hunting of the Snark" first.  All the allusions will make perfect sense then.

"If it doesn't rhyme, it's not worth reading." ~Henry

17 Dec 09

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Comments:

i can see your ambition. i can only say work on your metre and the authenticity of language. if it doesn't come naturally it's math.
 — unknown

The grand part about nonsense poetry, is that rhyming is really easy to do.  I suppose that's what bugs me a little about Lewis's poetry--but it's also kind of admirable.  

In the original poem, I couldn't stand the Beaver and the Butcher.  They were an obnoxious duo.  The Baker was pretty annoying as well.  The rest of the characters--even though some were mentioned no more than three times (The Bonnetmaker, The Boots, The Broker and the Billiard-marker).  

I thought the rhyming seemed forced in Lewis's work--but I was able to overlook that for the most part and I appreciated the poem for what it is.
 — HenryII

http://suepunpuck.com/portfolio/item/portfol io/the-hunting-of-the-snark.html

The above link leads to a site about the upcoming "The Hunting of the Snark" movie.  I am pretty excited.  Isn't it odd that the butcher is not depicted?  He was my least favorite character--but it'd make sense that he was in the movie anyway.  
 — HenryII

lol-- this is great!!
L35-36 is terrific.

You are good at laying down a rhyme.
I had no problems reading this, and the rhythm kept.
(honest!)
I have not read the "snark" poem- but your continuation reads smoothe.
And it's quite entertaining ~
 — mandolyn

Oh, so yes, to make a long comment longer....(hehe) continue this diddy!!
:)
 — mandolyn

for me it isn't on par with the snark but as the ending it doesn't have to be.
it has the storytelling gift within its words and for me is a fine piece of frippery that speaks volumes but says little. i love it. i don't think there's a line i don't like. i think carroll would be smiling at this one.
nicely done and thanks for the read.(continue).
 — billy423uk

The Brigadier-General
The Balloonist
The Barmaid
The Beekeeper
The Baron
The Butler
The Bard
 — HenryII

Brilliant work as always, my friend! 10/10
 — Maximilian

Hello there,

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 — unknown

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