Vulcan’s Peak

Apparently, it’s all in my head.

February 21, 2007 11:44 am

I was greatly disappointed by my poetry class last night. Situation was that I had to turn in a paper, give a presentation, and submit a poem for discussion, so rather than stress about three things, I used a poem that I wrote for the poetry class I took a year and a half ago. It was a piece that I didn’t think all that highly of, but which my professor liked, so I had some confidence in it, but I also knew it had problems. So I sent it off to my classmates and went to work on the paper and presentation which didn’t go all that well, I thought, but I’m just glad it’s over. Yik.

This particular poem is a description (of sorts) of a night at Furman when I was walking to my apartment one evening, probably going home at ten from a CCLC shift. It was a foggy night and I came around the corner into a slightly wooded area around the apartments and a little way ahead of me was this girl who was practicing for a kickline or something — literally taking three steps and then throwing a leg up over her head, three steps, kick, three steps, kick.

Well, strange thing that my brain is, it comes up with the Saggy Baggy Elephant, who goes around the jungle dancing one, two, three, kick! one, two, three, kick! Is this ringing a bell to anybody?

Saggy Baggy’s nothing new — the story is copyright 1942 and has probably been in print ever since. I grew up with it…my parents grew up with it…but apparently most of my poetry class did not.

Apparently my perception of things every American child is familiar with is way off, because they weren’t getting my nursery rhyme reference either. I had titled the poem “A Misty, Moisty Evening,” playing off (do I really have to explain this?) “One Misty Moisty Morning.” It didn’t come up in discussion, but when everyone gave me the copies of the poem that they had marked up and critiqued for me there were all manner of “Moist is such a scary word, is that really what you want?” and “You’ve said misty, do you need to have moist there too?” The best anyone could do was my professor, who asked as we started to discuss the poem, whether I was playing off the title of a Steeleye Span (who the hell?) song that apparently used the lyrics of an old English song — which must be where the nursery rhyme came from in the first place.

Really, people! What happened to Mother Goose? Do my poems suddenly require footnotes? I’m not T.S. Eliot, damn it, and this isn’t The Waste Land! Will somebody tell me that this roomful of poets was an anomaly?

I would like to give the class the credit they deserve, though. They were really helpful with the last poem I turned in and, despite the above, I got a lot of useful feedback last night, too. But I’m a little worried. I know that I come up with really obscure references sometimes, but I thought I had a better perception of what is and is not obscure.

And while I’m speaking of the poetry class, the classmate who came out and said “I’m glad someone else read The Saggy Baggy Elephant,” is also my bag story #5. I had it on the table as I was putting my coat on a week or two ago and when he asked, he got the full story because he’s a nice guy.

Calmer now and looking at the lyrics to the Steeleye Span song — they’re the same as the Schooner Fare version I’ve known for a long time (It was my brother B’s favorite song when he was very little, which was cute). It fits into Schooner Fare’s repetoire — they’re folk singers. But how do you suppose a British rock band does it? Curious. Of course, one of Simon and Garfunkel’s big hits was “Scarborough Fair,” so maybe it’s not so hard to imagine.

9 Responses to “Apparently, it’s all in my head.”

Tae wrote a comment on February 21, 2007

I know of Saggy, Baggy Elephant (not that I can recall the details) but I have no clue about “One Misty, Moisty Morning”, sorry hon. I don’t think I was read any Mother Goose but I did get some Beatrix Potter- the illustrations fascinated me, go figure.

Carmen wrote a comment on February 21, 2007

I remember the Saggy Baggy Elephant! I had a book with that story and some others (The Roly Poly Puppy, and one about a Lion who starts liking vegetable stew are all I can recall).

Never heard of “One Misty Moisty Morning”, though I thought I was tolerably familiar with Mother Goose.

Pug wrote a comment on February 21, 2007

I got introduced to Steeleye Span from a CD you gave me.

Odette wrote a comment on February 22, 2007

Oooh, irony. Heehee. Thanks guys…the elephant stays, the nursery rhyme goes!

Carmen wrote a comment on February 22, 2007

Well, Google says that “A Misty Moisty Morning” esists, and since I heard it on the internet it’s true. Just goes to show how uncultured I am. D:

And someone thought the word “moist” was scary?? I’ll scare her.. *grumble*

Odette wrote a comment on February 22, 2007

*laughs!* All I can figure is that she’s been watching too many Swamp Thing-esque flicks. I guess I can see how it would have sinister connotations in certain contexts, but I also want my chocolate cake to be moist and gooey!

(mmmm…chocolate cake…maybe I will bake this weekend…)

Tae wrote a comment on February 22, 2007

I wouldn’t call ‘moist’ a scary word….disgusting in certain circumstances, but not scary. Though, as you said, certain things ought to be moist and gooey and chocolaty. ^__^

Pug wrote a comment on February 23, 2007

cake. need cake.

Odette wrote a comment on February 23, 2007

Well, I’m coming to see you in A WEEK!, so maybe we can do some baking together or something. 😉

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