Friday, September 09, 2005


Friday Random Ten & Poetry Blogging

One Chance - Modest Mouse
Kiss My Ring - Frank Black
Interzone - Joy Division
Variations on "Rhapsody in Blue" - George Gershwin
The Small Print - Muse
The Mariner's Revenge Song - The Decemberists
Your Skull is Red - Team Sleep
The Ocean is the Ultimate Solution - Frank Zappa
Clover Over Dover - Blur
Gleaming Auction - Snow Patrol

Happy accident! I've been wanting to do Friday poetry blogging for awhile now, and I consider the "Mariner's Revenge Song" to a great example of pop music (well, sort-of pop) as poetry.

Mariner's Revenge Song
--Colin Meloy

We are two mariners, our ships' sole survivors
In this belly of a whale
Its ribs our ceiling beams, its guts our carpeting
I guess we have some time to kill

You may not remember me - I was a child of three
And you a lad of eighteen
But I remember you and I will relate to you
How our histories interweave

At the time you were a rake and a roustabout
Spending all your money on the whores and hounds

You had a charming air all cheap and debonair
My widowed mother found so sweet
And so she took you in - her sheets still warm with him -
Now filled with filth and foul disease

As time wore on you proved a debt-ridden drunken mess
Leaving my mother a poor consumptive wretch

And then you disappeared. Your gambling arrears
The only thing you left behind
And then the magistrate reclaimed our small estate
And my poor mother lost her mind.

Then one day in spring my dear sweet mother died
But before she did I took her hand as she dying cried:

Find him, bind him, tie him to a pole
And break his fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling of his grave!

It took me fifteen years to swallow all my tears
Among the urchins in the street
Until a priory took pity and hired me
To keep their vestry nice and neat

But never once in the employ of these holy men
Did I ever once turn my mind from the thought of revenge!

One night I overheard the prior exchanging words
With a penitent whaler from the sea
The captain of his ship who matched you toe to tip
Was known for a wanton cruelty

The following day I shipped to sea with a privateer
And in the whistle of the wind I could almost hear:

Find him, bind him, tie him to a pole
And break his fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling of his grave!

There is one thing I must say to you
As you sail across the sea
Always your mother will watch over you
As you avenge this wicked deed

And then that fateful night we had you in our sight
After twenty months at sea
With your starboard flank abeam,
I was getting my muskets clean
When came this rumbling from beneath.

The ocean shook, the sky went black, and the captain quailed
And before us grew the angry jaws of a giant whale!

Don't know how I survived - the crew all was chewed alive
I must have slipped between his teeth
But, O! What providence, what divine intelligence!
That you should survive as well as me.

It gives my heart great joy to see your eyes fill with fear
So lean in close and I will whisper the last words you'll hear...