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Strad the Impaler
When their first son was born,
they had was reason to mourn
for the passing of Great Grandad Vlad,
so they ’queathed him that name,
and though Gramps had ill-fame,
the tradition made everyone glad.
As an infant it seemed
that his face really beamed
whene’er music was heard by the lad,
so they gave him a bow
and a violin so
he could play, and they all called him Strad.
But, of course, the town bully
would badger him fully
and plucked out the strings from his bow.
When he’d hear Paganini,
he’d call him a weenie
then tie him in knots, head to toe.
But one day our poor lad
got outrageously mad
and while flailing his bow in the air,
he let loose and it flew—
although some say he threw—
and it pierced his tormentor’s derriere.
Well, the story spread fast
that this bully, at last,
met his match in this noble prevailer.
Fame spread far and near,
and in less than a year
legend christened him, “Strad the Impaler.”
Many years came and went,
and his life was well spent
playing music that brightened the sun.
All the people adored him
and often implored him
to play, and their pleas always won.
Yet another musician,
a well-tuned magician,
was second-best only to Strad,
and was oft’ heard at night,
out of town, out of sight,
as he wandered—a restless nomad.
He was seen once a year,
and the people would cheer
then he’d fly through the town in his sleigh,
giving alms to the poor
and some toys to ensure
that their children would not rue each day.
From a cave in a mountain
his heart was a fountain
of giving both substance and hope,
and the people caught on,
helping after he’d gone,
though he’d once been a young misanthrope.
Strad the Impaler Cont...
Fondly called, “The Old Gimp,”
for he walked with a limp,
he learned music at quite a young age,
whence he turned from bad ways
and spent all of his days
as a loving and generous sage.
But one year the whole sky
turned pitch black in July,
and a storm raged for months without end.
The town feared, come December
he’d have no more ember
of life to break forth on his wend.
But then Strad took a stand,
with his bow tight in hand
and with face to the storm stood his ground,
then he played with such force
that the wind changed its course
while the townsfolk all gathered around.
Joining in with delight,
singing all day and all night
as their voices o’erpowered the thunder,
the storm stopped and listened;
the clouds’ teardrops glistened,
its savage breast paused in great wonder.
Just then, Strad abruptly changed rhythm,
But the crowd changed their course and stayed with’m,
The sound of their chorus
Was brilliantly aurous,
Free-flowing and crisp with precythm.
A cheer pierced the cloud
and all shouted aloud
that Old Gimpy was seen up on high,
sliding down through deep snow
his team knew where to go
as his hands raised his bow to the sky.
Then he burst into song
while the throng joined along
in an opus which wakened each star,
and old Strad the composer,
once Gimpy’s opposer,
was glad they’d both journeyed so far.
Of course, it may seem that this story’s a dream
which you visit with eyes open wide,
but it’s merely a vessel,
a warm place to nestle
a limerick, tucked deeply inside.
Making it Write
It’s time to make a sacrifice
of what I love—my dearest vice—
and so, although I deeply care
about that which I now place there
upon the altar, neck laid bare
(“Dear altared ego, don’t despair!”),
I’m ready to endure their slice:
a transformation by advice.
The chop-shop crew comes into view;
the editors who might eschew
my language, and my verses, too,
(my muses screaming, “How Could You!”).
Some scalpel-skilled, like surgeons thrilled
to dissect every word I’ve willed.
Some tearing ’sunder for their plunder
words of loveliness or blunder.
May these wily alchemists
deep in the myst’ries of their mists,
with ancient arts and unknown ways
bequeathed to them ’ere dawn of days,
display the greatness of their skills
and while my failing heart refills,
restore to life my Frankenstein;
the effort theirs, the glory mine.
What does it mean
That on the way to East Hampton
I saw pumpkins growing in a field,
One right next to another, blazing like orange suns,
And fat enough to pop?
And what does it mean
That that night, in Montauk,
The moon rose over the sea
So huge and weirdly orange
The night looked bewitched?
But even now as I think of these sights
I swell with the happiness of harvests
© Karen Neuberg: Muse Channelling.