Monday, February 2, 2009

Fourth Annual Blogger (Silent) Poetry Reading

So I'm normally not one for modern poetry, and I just haven't reached a point in my reading where classic or epic poems are to my taste. I'm fairly confident I'll get there someday, I just need to give my brain time to process more literature first. In spite of this, I am a sucker for poems that are more typically called "nursery rhymes," especially when they have one simple, surface meaning and some deeper levels. I know last June I mentioned my longstanding relationship with "The Owl and the Pussycat", and the impression it still makes on my life. In light of all this, I present you with the full version of "The Queen of Hearts" as my offering for this year's Blogger (Silent) Poetry Reading.

A couple notes: I'm new to this, so I'm going off a version I found online. It is credited to William S. Baring-Gould and Cecil Baring-Gould, who are editors of The Annotated Mother Goose: Nursery Rhymes Old and New. I am taking some liberties with spelling for consistency.

tap tap Is this thing on? Ok, here we go:

The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts
all on a summer's day.
The Knave of Hearts, he stole the tarts,
and took them clean away.
The King of Hearts called for the tarts,
and beat the knave full score!
The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts
and vowed he'd steal no more.

The King of Spades, he kissed the maids,
which made the Queen full sore.
The Queen of Spades, she beat those maids,
and turned them out of door.
The Knave of Spades grieved for those jades,
and did for them implore!
The Queen, so gent, she did relent,
and vowed she'd ne'er strike more.

The King of Clubs, he often drubs
his loving Queen and wife.
The Queen of Clubs returns his snubs,
and all is noise and strife!
The Knave of Clubs gives winks and rubs,
and swears he'll take her part.
For when our kings will do such things,
they should be made to smart.

The Diamond King I fain would sing
and likewise his fair Queen.
But that the Knave, a haughty slave,
must needs step in between.
Good Diamond King with hempen string,
the haughty Knave destroy!
Then may your Queen, with mind serene,
your royal bed enjoy.

I love that the Knaves are all bad boys: they steal, make advances towards their Queen, and generally disrupt the kingdom. The only time one is doing something that appears to be noble is when standing up for the maids who were only taken advantage of by that rascal the King of Spades. Even then, the author implies that the maids didn't deserve to get beaten and turned out, only turned out, and still refers to them as "jades" (not a good thing to be as a female). And who knows why the Knave of Spades wanted them back in the first place? Given his compatriots' behavior, my guess would be that he figured they'd be easy and it was worth a shot to keep them around. That's it for today, enjoy the poetry all over blogland!

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