A poem

Here's a poem I wrote back in college. Thought I'd share it here. If you're not familiar with the legend of Beowulf, you might not understand certain aspects of it, but you'll get the basics.

Warning: it's a bit weird.

Warning #2: I'm not a poet.

So Grendel, thou mighty lopper off of heads,

You’ve gone into screen writing for the little kiddos.

What dynamic dysfunctional heroes and adult innuendos!

Children watch, and from inside the tubular bowels you orchestrate.

Spittle dribbles from your chops, for you are a sly, progressive teacher.

Angry monster who cometh out of the mist,

Young adults speed and drink and laugh away maturity.

You rush ahead of them, drink, laugh, and wait

Their “Responsibility—not quite yet” anthem merges with your battle cry.

With a little luck they’ll never quite recuperate.

Terrible Grendel, where is your Beowulf who opposes?

Adults are so busy making money, the farthest they can see into the future is a 401k.

Your gaping eyes smile, and you chew your tongue, awaiting the coming mastication.

Hey grown up! Look out! There is flesh caught in its teeth with your DNA on it.

Or would you rather E-Trade and golf your death thoughts away?

Alas, Grendel, men have forgotten you—your flesh-lusting sneer reveals your delight.

Old man, you know the foolishness of all those youngsters.

“Boys will be boys you say,” and thump your chest with your fist.

“Got another twenty in ya, you old rascal,” you say as you pull the lever

And the jangle ring of the slot machine drowns out Grendel’s wicked howl.

Then it happens! So sudden! …is that Grendel coming for you? “Am I dead?”

You ask yourself, as your soul flutters off like a bat to Grendel’s home in the lake.

Guess you should have fought for that fluttery little thing.

Can’t say you didn’t try to live life to the fullest—at least the first 1/∞ of it.

Grendel closes his eyes, sleepy, full;

Sorry, there’s no entertainment to drown in down here.


13 comments:

gzusfreek said...

"Warning #2: I'm not a poet." The buzzer rings, wrong answer!

A little humor. A little analogy. A little rhythm. Very deep. Though provoking. Full of that good old Brandon Barr wit and intelligence.


Thanks for sharing!

Brandon Barr said...

Thanks gzusfreek,
The poem is definitely more sardonic than what I write now. Back in college, I was a little bit more on edge...perturbed with the world. But the truths are still there.

gzusfreek said...

I can see that, BB. College is made for the edge, right? Test the waters, feel out the boundaries, question the norm?

I liked it.
I've got to refresh my Beowolf. What did you think of that movie? Was it anything like the book?

Andra M. said...

I agree with gzusfreek, and with you.

Lots of truth in that thar poem.

Brandon Barr said...

gzusfreek,
I didn't go see the movie Beowulf because I knew it wasn't anything like the epic poem (Beowulf is actually a long Norseman poem). However, two good authors have done takes on the Beowulf story. Michael Crichton's "Eaters of the Dead" which was turned into the enjoyable movie "The Thirteenth Warrior". And then John Gardner's "Grendel" which was an excellent book.

Hi Andra,
Thanks, I'm glad you got something out of it!

Robert Treskillard said...

We just celebrated "Burn's Night" with some friends, and I must say, you might just pass for a 21st century Robert Burns!

There was something similar there in your poetry to his -- a scathing, clear-headed review of the culture.

Thanks for sharing it.

Brandon Barr said...

Hey Robert,
Ha! Wow, I like your description "a scathing, clear-headed review of culture."
I'm constantly analyzing the various tentacles of culture, and how they subtly deceive believers. At present, its safe to say American culture is discreetly, seductively, destructive.

Rebecca said...

Thanks for checking out my blog-
To answer your question, the "title" of my blog is almost more of a joke then anything else, since someone else I know has a blog entitled "A Yankee in the South."
The other meaning of it is that I live in the North (U.S.) but in the War between the States, I believe the South was right, though of course both sides had problems.
I don't take that as a big deal though, like some. As I said earlier, it's mostly just a joke.
But anyway, I'm not much for Science Fiction, but I enjoy reading, and some writing, so I'll try to read your blog at least slightly frequently in the future...

Brandon Barr said...

Hi Rebecca,

Hey, we can't all be sci-fi fans...
:)

Jason Campbell said...

Brandon, this is a true poem, and I mean that in the Johannine sense. Appreciate your work, thanks for popping in to my blog. Keep up the great work!

Brandon Barr said...

Thanks Jason. It's nice to know the poem is ringing true with everyone :)

Shirley R. said...

I double as a poet and a fan of the original Beowulf. I was hugely disappointed in the recent movie though. The story of Beowulf, versus monster Grendel can be taken so many ways. It is in fact a warning to society however I never saw it as satirical until you wrote it in this light. I believe that the mystery that shrouds the complete origins of them poem, are also a tell-tale sign of society's fall. Beyond the subject matter, you do show promise and talent in the field of poetry. I'd be intrigued to see more writes from you.

Thanks for sharing,
Shirley

Brandon said...

Hi Shirley,
I didn't even bother to go see the new Beowulf movie. The movie Thirteenth Warrior was a fun Beowulf movie...but of course, an extrapolation.
Yeah, I definitely used the Grendel story loosely in this poem...but I thought it was a fun way to do a satirical look at modern times...Grendel in my poem represents the Devil more than the Grendel of the old poem.