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I Wish My Tongue were a Quiver -- Louis Alexander MacKay

Guest poem submitted by David Wright:
(Poem #876) I Wish My Tongue were a Quiver
 I wish my tongue were a quiver the size of a huge cask
 Packed and crammed with long black venomous rankling darts.
 I'd fling you more full of them, and joy in the task,
 Than ever Sebastian was, or Caesar, with thirty-three swords in his heart.

 I'd make a porcupine out of you, or a pincushion, say;
 The shafts should stand so thick you'd look like a headless hen
 Hung up by the heels, with the long bare red neck stretching, curving, and
   dripping away
 From the soiled floppy ball of ruffled feathers standing on end.

 You should bristle like those cylindrical brushes they use to scrub out
 Not even to reach the kindly earth with the soles of you prickled feet,
 And I would stand by and watch you wriggle and writhe, gurgling through the

   barbs in your throttle
 Like a woolly caterpillar pinned on its back - man, that would be sweet.
-- Louis Alexander MacKay
'Hate Rhymes'

    I'm a pretty mild-mannered guy, so when a colleague confided in me that
she felt the degeneration of Western civilization was epitomized by the pop
stardom of rapper Mashall Mathers, better known as Eminem, she was rather
shocked when I replied that I have both of his CDs and I enjoy him a lot -
at his best he burns with magnificent and often hilarious rage.  "That's
just it.. all that HATE..."  Okay, no arguing with taste.  That night I came
home and a magazine had a leader something like "Will Grammy reward Eminem's
Hate Rhymes?" making a punning equation of Mathers' music with cross-burning
and the like.
     Aside from a tiresome Free Speech response to this which I will spare
you, this got me thinking about the great hate poems of Anon, Homer,
Catullus, Juvenal, Dante, Shakespeare, Donne, Swift, Plath, Doroty Parker,
Browning, W.D. Snodgrass, etc. etc. and I resolved to dig out the most
hate-filled poem I could find.
     So here's one that's right up there.  I know very little about L. A.
MacKay, a Canadian poet, educator and translator from Ontario with such
suitable titles as "The Ill-tempered lover," "Viper's Bugloss" and "The
Wrath of Homer" to his name, or to his psuedonym, John Smalacombe.  But he
really takes his hate beyond the bilious savor that many poets stop at -
certainly Eminem pales in comparison.  This is a huge and warlike,
annihilating hatred; a lascivious, detailed, determined hatred, like
something out of Titus Andronicus.  I'm not sure I've ever experienced quite
such a hatred.


21 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

michael collins said...

explain how the poet uses simile and metaphor to create satire

michael collins said...

In the poem I Wish My Tongue Were a Quiver explain how the poet uses
and metaphor to create satire.

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Anonymous said...

His poisonous cask of bristling darts
(mean-spirited death of poesie's art)
will boomerang back still filled with sin
for what goes out doth come back in.

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