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The Baker's Bounty--A Second Agony

Fit the Ninth:  An Epileptic Epilogue
“The Baker’s a burglar,
a brute and a brigand
the Brigadier-General declared.
“I could state it three times
or in Greek if I'd spoke it
--irregardless, this musn’t be shared."
"My sources have said,
that the Baker's not dead
though a 'Boojum' was thought his demise.
This was all a charade
that he'd artfully played
since he'd boarded your ship in disguise."
"He'll proudly proclaim
he's forgotten his name,  
but I tell you that's only a ruse;
he is named on his warrant,
as 'Carcass' or 'Captive'
--a name I've been fated to choose."
“There are forty-two boxes,
or at least there once were,
and his name is on each I recall.
But how could a man
whose forgotten, remember
the name to be written at all?"
“And the contents good sir,
as I’m sure you’ve surmised,
had been meant not for him, but a fence;
from artwork and relics
to lowly cadavers
that perished at someone's expense.”
“The coats and the boots
that he wore weren’t for warmth
and by now have been traded for gold.
And if left unattended—
he would have surrendered—
the bell that you presently hold.”
"A remarkable claim,"
the Bellman remarked,
"but you've not said, what you've said thrice.
You could say it twice more
or just once and then once
but either I'm sure would suffice."
Without hesitation,
the Brigadier-General
twice uttered each word he had said.
It would seem each word echoed
in deft repetition
or that he had stuttered instead.
The Bellman replied--
now convinced he'd not lied,
since a statement is fact if thrice-heard--
"that Baker's a fribble,
a fraud and a faker--
yet baker was always inferred."
"I knelled at the wakes
of the crew now departed--
the Boots and myself but remain;
but my bell won't resound
till the clapper is found
so I'll clang at the Baker in vain."
By maladroit measures
a map manifested
with nary a legend or chart--
"the Isle of Snarks,
has been marked with an 'X',
and is where I suggest that you start."
Fit the Tenth:  The Bounty Hunters
The Brigadier-General,
the first of the crew,
had monocles--one for each eye
and the source of his hobble
would vary depending
on whom he'd enchanted nearby.
To curious ladies
with playful intentions
the source of his limp was a snark
But to men without stature
or militant standing
his wound wouldn't warrant remark.
His whiskers extended
the width of his figure
and further when wildly unkempt
so he, like a cat
without fear, could endeavor
each entrance he wished to attempt.
An aged Balloonist,
(oft sought), was commissioned
to help commandeer during flights
yet he had a fear that
would prove inconducive
for travel at mountainous heights.
A ladder must dangle--
a small stipulation--
that grazes the landscape below
so he on a rung
not too high for his liking
could pilot and travel in tow.
The Barber agreed
out of duty and goading
to join but gave warning ahead:
"as a man of inaction,
I'm seldom 'well-done',
but rather 'well-thought' or 'well-said'.
The strands on his head
held his secret quite poorly
despite being long and just so
for the slightest of sighs
could unweave his disguise
thus exposing what none were to know.
His prior assignment
as priory barber
help him master his tonsuring skill
but his work in asylums
was sorely affected--
he would tonsure the mentally ill.
So immense were his debts
that the Beekeeper joined
but demanded his pay in advance
he'd lost a small fortune
on the lantern he'd patented
which he'd founded by research and chance.
The 'skep lights' he trundled
each boasted a candle
that were lit by the spark of a snark--
and besides a bee handler
he’s also a chandler
so none shall be left in the dark.
Through forced coexistence
he'd built up resistance
to toxins that most can't endure
it only took years
of perpetual stinging
by bees that all died for their cure.
With a mind for baroque
and not modern romantics
the Bard and his mandore took board.
He strummed the achievements
of people forgotten--
a fate that the crew can't afford.
"Omit every blunder;
embellish our exploits!"
the Brigadier-General decreed
"We'll not be remembered
through ballads as failures,
so alter the facts as you need."
With much opposition
and shaky credentials
the Barmaid was last to enlist
Most thought her attire
ensured she was hired
but 'that's not the case,' some insist.
The Brigadier-General
had gravely asserted:
"the assumptions abounding are erred--
her figure though pert
and without imperfections
would not leave my judgment impaired."
"She’d once fended off boojums
armed just with her tankard
and somehow avoided a spill.
One had severed her arm--
which she'd sewn to refasten--
and then she proceeded to kill."
"Let the scars on her arms
be our proof she was darned
while upholding the code of her craft
and I'm sure that you'd find
had we left her behind
that our ship wasn't properly staffed."
With their goals now aligned
and their duties assigned
the crew was equipped for the trip.
All worries were noted
and duly considered
except for their lack of a ship.
Fit the Eleventh:  The Twice-Sunken Frigate
Near a tundra once wooded
where borogroves idled
in a lake that's now dormant with ice
is an icicled mast
on the grave of a frigate
that somehow achieved sinking twice.
"This iceburgesque vessel
ought re-resurrect"
the Brigadier-General had urged
"I'll perch on the mast
as the task is completed
--you've only five sixths still submerged."
"Now I sense your frustrations
but such excavations
if left to defrosting takes weeks;
were it frost, I'd consider,
but icy patinas
require less passive techniques."
With night now approaching
the darkness encroached
on a mission they mustn't postpone
their skeps shed them light
but were beacons that beckoned
to the beings they'd known as unknown.
The unknown were wispy
and spoke in third person
through whispers and nods of the head;
were their eyes not reflective
they'd not be detected
in the dimly-lit light that was shed.
"I have seen them before,"
said the Barmaid with fright,
"they have watched from the end of my bed;
though they prey on the dying
they seek out the sleeping
in the hope that they're dying instead."
"Their nods are unnerving;
their diet's disturbing
and I whisper for fear that they'll hear.
We must hasten our efforts,"
the Barber had pleaded,
"I'm more weary than I might appear."
"Hold your yawns until dawn"
said the Brigadier-General
as he climbed from the mast to the nest
"We will finish with splinters,
with frostbite and blisters,
and we'll do so without any rest."
The Bard played a dirge
in the grandest of tempos
while the Barmaid poured freshly-brewed draft
Now their spirits were readied
for setting the standard
for unsinking a twice-sunken craft.
They picked at the ice
in a rhythmic succession
at an archaeological pace
"This speed would be suited
for unearthing fossils
but this isn't the time or the place."
As the air became dense
the Balloonist could sense
that a torrent of snowflakes was due;
its smell is distinctive,
his joints are instinctive
and to date his predictions proved true.
The snow brought a chill
like a solemn expression
and gradually buried their site.
The Bard felt compelled
to depict this occasion
with a canvas he'd aptly left white.
Their digits were frigid
and not in agreement
with the work that their wills intended
most thought the cause folly
and worked without passion
while others just merely pretended.
The Brigadier-General
addressed their resentments
with a lecture he'd deftly prepared
it emphasized interest
in militant vessels
and the risks of expenses not spared.
He had spoken at length
with an unrivaled fervor
unaware that he hadn't been heard;
it would have brought about tears
and a standing ovation
had the wind not obscured every word.
Every light had been snuffed
by the onslaught of gusts
but the Beekeeper swiftly took action
he'd relit the wicks
through the abrasion of sticks--
the method preferred by his faction.
Their picking was mimicked
with increasing fierceness
by the creatures that bellowed below
till a synchronized bash
made the surrounding ice smash
and progressively split from the floe.
The narwhals that surfaced
then flourished their tusks
in an unorchestrated display
the Bard then conducted
their moonlit sonata
till the last of them vanished away.
"Our ship has dislodged
but is not yet unsunken"
the Brigadier-General explained
"we've no other choice
than by lever or hoist
for the ship to be properly drained."
The crew had responded
by salvaging timbers
from a bathing machine found at shore
they used them as levers
and lifted the frigate
till the ship was deemed safe to explore.
The water poured forth
through the portholes above
while the waters below stayed contained
as the ship was now buoyant
the levers did little
though their efforts seemed equally strained.
Since their time were determined
by gnomons and umbras
they had finished at the time they'd begun;
it took less than a night,
that's the best they could reason,
for their sundial relied on the sun.
Fit the Twelfth:  The 42 Boxes
The Brigadier-General
repelled by a grapnel
from the nest to the depths of the hold
his first chilling sight
were stalactites of ice
that imprisoned the hull with its cold.
If production were rushed
then a shipwright's wrongdoing
may have left the ship whole but unsound
yet upon its inspection
not a single detection
of a flaw or a defect was found.
He trudged up the slope
and away from the crates
quite conveniently stacked to one side
"I am either befuddled
or this ship was scuttled
by a helmsman with something to hide."
At the tip of the hold
was a corpse that had bloated
having suffered for months from decay
he was wrapped in a linen
on which it was written
all the words he no longer could say:
"Date this note by my rot,
for the date I know not,
and I've really no leisure to guess
by the time this is read
I am sure to be dead
but I welcome death's touch I confess."
"I had boarded this ship
on a snark-hunting trip
as a Broker that England revered
but to those that pick pockets
or lock-pick for profit
I'm a fence they respected, but feared."
"My trusted accomplice,
(a baker's apprentice),
had been tried for a crime yet unsolved
their proof was substantial
but deemed circumstantial
so they failed to prove he's involved."
"Our twofold intent
for this arctic safari:
was to capture a snark as implied
and to also dispute
how I'd value the loot
which the slight-handed Baker supplied."
"But our ill-gotten freight
was remembered too late
so it stayed on the beach safely locked
till a high-rising tide
took the crates for a ride
to the shore where our ship finally docked."
"At the Bellman's request
every sail was furled
so the wind couldn't dictate our course.
"Let the waves guide the way,"
as he often would say,
"like a coach with a self-governed horse."'
"If the Bellman were skilled
at the helm as we'd thought
we'd have docked at an earlier date."
We instead sat adrift
for just less than a year
since we'd left navigation to fate."
"He tugged us to shore
by a tuft of our hair
having thought us unable to swim
then without much delay
we had searched night and day
for a creature known only to him."
"While we'd heard of the snark
most had thought it was myth
so we wouldn't have known it by sight
but our doubts were dispelled
when the Baker was boojumed
which confirmed that the Bellman was right."
"They searched for the Baker
with half-hearted effort
for they feared that they'd meet the same end.
So they packed up the crates
and the rest of our things
while I'd fruitlessly searched for my friend."
"I called out his names
as I retraced his steps
till his steps met with steps not his own
Where their paths overlapped
were the last steps he took
since his captor had raptured or flown."
"His haunting last words
seemed to herald a "boo"
were an unsuffixed word his intent.
We'd considered a bookend,
a boon and the Boots
but a "boojum" had surely been meant."
"I'd searched just enough
to allay future guilts
having humored all logical leads
I then raced toward the pier,
not for speed, but from fear,
as I clutched at my rosary beads."
"The beach had been cleared
save a crate that appeared
to be tied to a mast in the aft.
As the ship went to sea
so did crate 43
on the flotsam that served as its raft."
"I was first and last mate
of the raft and its crate
till the crew heard my tapering cries.
Whether left or forgotten
my outcomes were equal;
having stayed, either way, proved unwise."
'"You've not been betrayed,"'
the Bellman lamented
"'we had left on the Beaver's advice.
It was trusted to tally
our eight person galley
but proceeded to count itself twice."'
'"A miscalculation
by one may seem harmless
but you know all too well that's not true.
As a lesson we'll feast
on this two-timing beast
and it's scraps shall be made into glue."'
"Despite our objections
the Butcher obliged--
in exchange he laid claim to its hide.
It then moaned in distress
as he bludgeoned its head
till the Bellman declared it had died."
"My hunger outweighed
every will to decline
a serving of beaver au gratin.
Its taste was superb--
I had seconds or thirds--
alas, I'd lost count and forgotten."
"For the whole of my trip
I'd remained in the hold
till each crate was appraised except one.
The waterlogged crate
left afloat was deemed worthless
so I'd listed its contents as 'none'."
"The freight rate is less,"
so the Banker attests,
"if the cargo is towed and not stowed.
It's a commonplace trick
in the East Indies trade
though may lead to a valueless load."
"Either the Bellman's inept
or is highly adept
at crusading his ship across land,
for this ship's now landlocked--
when we'd left it was not--
how this happened I don't understand."
"Muffled murmurs on deck--
sounding just as perplexed--
were drowned out by a bell's distant chime.
After three verberations
came an ominous silence
--had it tolled to alarm or tell time?"
“Had the time not been three,
I’d have thought this to be
the alarm that it was, but I’d not—
I’d instead gone to sleep
despite thoughts that would keep
any narcolept up in his cot.”
“I’d awoke to the creaking
of crates being shuffled
and stacked on the ship’s larboard side
a shadowy figure
“When I’d woke, it appeared
that the crew disappeared
their effects had been left
"But just as I’d feared
they had each disappeared
and the source of the chimes weren't around
the contents escaped
from the forty-third crate
Missing a couple of stanzas
The post-script was scribbled
as if he'd been worried
that his death may precede his last quote:
"let the manifest state
that the forty-third crate
held a boo"--but that's all that he wrote."
Fit the Thirteeth:  The Downward Flight
To ready the ship
the masts were each stripped
so the Balloonist could fashion
for its first airborne trip
the masts had been stripped of their sails
The Balloonist then fashioned
a make-shift balloon
from the linens, the sails
The linens were fashioned
with perfect precision
for the use as a hot-air balloon
The Balloonist then tethered
(Skip some stanzas)
To showcase his talent
with chisel and mallet
the Bard carved a bust in the prow,
but her feminine torso
had decidedly moreso
than nature was prone to endow.
(Skip some stanzas)
His accent was heavy,
his word choice was light
and he seldom had something to say
so without explanation
or quaint conversation
the Balloonist had wandered away.
(Skip some stanzas)
"It's whiskers aren't whiskers
but fisherman's wire
forever ensnared in its lips
and its feathers are fletching
from arrows once lobbied
from the bow of a snark-hunting ship."
(Skip some stanzas)
His seaweeded whiskers
As the height of the masts slowly shrank
When a ship is thrice-sunken, it's sank.
Fit the Fourteenth:  The Botanist
(to be continued...)

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

Rated 10 (10) by 2 users.
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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.
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