Archive for November, 2010

ODOP: Old Danilo (6)

“But I thought you must have been gone three days.”
“Fool! You saw the sun in the sky.” “No, grandsire,
For my eyes had darkened with hunger.
If this really has been but three hours, they’ve been
The longest three of my life. But I’m
Sorry, grandsire. I held out against my
Hunger as long as I could.” “Never mind.
If I starve, I starve. I don’t fear death, not I.
I fear nothing outside my Russia –
And nothing in her except Baba Yaga.”

And Old Danilo promised to lead
Ivan himself to fair Vasilisa.
“She’s no tsar’s daughter, nor a general’s:
Her father is a peasant, poor and lame.”
“Well, a peasant’s daughter is better than
None at all,” said Ivan. “And she’s better
Than a boyar’s son for marrying. Besides,
Those sheep sure were tasty.” Said Danilo,
“You remind me of your great-grandfather
As a prince. And now to holy Russia.”

Copyright 2010 Jobey George.

Basically, Ivan’s got the lowliest girl, dark chick on the right. It’ll be great fun when we meet her. Oil by Vasnetsov. Obviously NOT copyright 2010 Jobey George.


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ODOP: Old Danilo (5)

Old Danilo after an hour returned.
“I know the three most beautiful maidens
In all of holy Russia, and shall lead
You to one. But mind your dogs don’t eat
Nor foreigners steal them another hour;
I have not found a place to house them.”
“Yes, grandsire. But hurry.” Ivan grew
So unbearably hungry that he could have
Eaten the whole flock of one hundred. He ate half.
Danilo, returning, chastised him.

“I shan’t lead you to the boyar’s daughter.
Guard my sheep another hour; still I’ve found
No place to house them.” “Maybe,” suggested
Ivan, “it will be easier now there’s
That much fewer of ’em.” Danilo left.
The sun moved overhead, but Ivan saw
It not: his eyes were dark with hunger.
Ivan was so big no one else dared to approach,
But when Danilo returned the sheep
Were gone. Ivan had lost the general’s girl.

Copyright 2010 Jobey George. Is this making anyone else hungry? It’s making me hungry.

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ODOP: Old Danilo (4)

Bad dreams still plagued the prince. So for a while,
Either a long time or a short one – for while
To tell a tale ’tis a thirsty thing,
Still we hear ’tis yet a thirstier
To go live one – Ivan traveled that foreign
Kingdom, the hounds at his heels, and came to
A fair. He hailed an old man in rags
Surrounded by fat sheep. “Shall I bless you, child?”
“And why do I need a blessing from you?”
“Always accept a blessing from the old.”

“Are you old?” “I’m called Danilo the Old,
And I was steward to your father, both
While he was on the throne and in exile.”
“Give me a blessing then, Old Danilo.”
Danilo asked him to guard the sheep he
Had won that hour while he searched for a stall.
But then, he said diffidently, he’d
Had nothing of his own all these years, and
Was bound to lose those too. “Worry not.” But
As the sun moved Ivan grew hungrier.

Copyright 2010 Jobey George

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ODOP: Old Danilo (3)

True, they tried to set the bloodhounds on him.
‘Twere a greater number than can be counted,
Snapping and yipping, and all the size
Of bears. But Ivan the Appetitacious turned
On his heel and broke their necks, two by two.
He left twelve of the largest alive,
Still enough to rip apart most men, but
Ivan knocked them about and licked their noses,
And so the half-wild dogs followed him
Evermore. He and they spoke the same tongue.

Copyright 2010 Jobey George

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ODOP: Old Danilo (2)

Came a day – bound to come – when Ivan found
He enjoyed vodka and girls even more
Than work, so he never did lift a hand again.
“Yah, lazybones!” snarled the overseer,
“You with your cards and carousing!”
And he tried to knock Ivan down. Ivan
Killed him and left the foreign king’s estate,
Scorning orders, and shouting behind him
These words: “I stomp the dust of slavery away,
And goodbye to bad dreams forever!”

Copyright 2010 Jobey George

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ODOP: Old Danilo (1)

Ever taken Russian Fairy Tales? It seems it’s getting to be a popular course in eastern-coast universities… anyone? Remember this?

That’s heroism for you. Look at that fighting spirit! Get that huge-ass bird, Ivan!

Okay, maybe, maybe not? What about the iconic Vasilisa?

Funny, she’s not dressed Goth…

Okay, let’s give it one more try. Remember to be looking at the borders and noting the artist’s palette…

All right, all right, I give. It’s Bilibin.

Yeah! Kiss that hot new girl-bride, bro!

Well, you don’t have to have passed RFT… or even taken it… to understand the next fifteen or so updates. Let’s be honest, does anyone really understand the references in anyone else’s post-post-post-modernist poetry anymore?

It’s the Golden-Thread Spider of Mumbai. But the author is clearly using it as a symbol of her doomed relationship with her transexual cat as it collapses under the weight of digitalization in a rapidly semi-demi-globalizing world. Seriously, how did you not get that?

But if you are already familiar with Russian folklore, you would understand that the rampant nationalism and dirty-mindedness in this fine blank-verse narrative reading experience are definitely not mine.

Well, not wholly mine.

Old Danilo

Time ago a certain tsar had a son
He sent in state to a rival king, who,
Mindless of God, showed Prince Ivan no warmth
When the tsar was disposed, but cast him to
The stables. Now Ivan never bemoaned
His foul luck, though left restless by bad dreams
Whene’er he winked, but worked all through his youth
Like a horse, singing loud Russian songs and
Cracking broad jokes to the beasts and foreign
Serfs (who were equally dumb) while he sweat.

Copyright 2010 Jobey George… who has signed her passport for hell now that she has used a lolcats picture on her poetry blog.

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