POETRY CAN MAKE YOU CRY
Or…if you think effulgent is hard to rhyme, try chrysalis, mate.
The chrysalis lay just out of reach of his fingers. It was large and blue, weird looking. But perhaps being chained flat on your back on a stone floor did tend to make things look sodding weird. He couldn’t escape; the chains had been fixed too tightly for that and the sunlight was beginning to creep slowly across the ground towards him.
So, this was it. He sighed. His life - long but not long enough - was going to end in a blaze of fire. And probably pain, lots of pain. But it would be quick, at least. He’d seen enough vamps die from fire. The painful bit was watching the sun creep nearer and nearer, knowing you would never stand in it, feel its warm kiss on your face. No you just had to lie here and wonder what it had all been about…
Being born, growing, living, loving, killing and now dying. He was sure if he thought long enough - not something he often did, but perhaps now was a good time to start - he would come up with the answer. Who am I? What am I doing here? What is the meaning of life? Who nicked my Rolling Stones record collection?
It was the sort of situation that called for an epic poem but, watching the golden rays of destruction approach, he knew he didn’t have time for something that long. Perhaps a haiku would do?
Sunny death approaches soon
Bringing dark relief
And no tomorrows
Hmm, it wasn’t quite right, but there wasn’t time to polish it.
The sun had reached the edge of the chrysalis and as he watched, it split and a poor, wet, bedraggled creature slid out of its shell.
Perhaps that was what would happen to him. This shell of his would break and he would crawl out and become - what? Could he evolve into something miraculous?
He remembered eating someone once who’d belonged to one of those religions where everyone sang all the time. He didn’t think the guy had been a Mormon - he’d had bad teeth. But the meal had definitely sung a hymn even as he’d been drained. It had made him gargle the high notes.
So had he ingested something from his lunch, some beneficial aspect of character that would help him on his journey to enlightenment? Something he couldn’t begin to understand? Spike remembered chatting to his victim between mouthfuls, asking did he know how many angels can stand on the tip of a needle? Or it you look in a mirror with another mirror behind you, how many reflections will you see into infinity?
Only the answer to that in his case was none, of course, but no one had been listening when he’d tried to explain that to the corpse.
The insect in front of him was spreading its wings, drying them in the patch of sunlight that was, even now, growing, heading for the vampire’s fingertips. Wings of a blue so perfect, so absolute, it would have taken his breath away, if he’d had any. Was this what it would be like? Would he resurrect in some perfect form? Sublime, astonishingly beautiful?
He felt the overpowering urge to – write an ode to this creature. The words cascaded into his mind.
Watch! The shell breaks from side to side,
Emerging out of encircling chrysalis,
The curse of life has come upon you,
He stopped. The only rhymes he could think of for chrysalis were syphilis or full of piss and neither seemed quite appropriate.
Spike sighed. He remembered having the same problem with effulgent many moons ago. And - he tried to be as honest as a vampire could be - there was more than a touch of Tennyson about his poem and he’d always considered himself a Keats man.
“You’re amazing,” he muttered as the wings began to vibrate in a sapphire blur. “So beautiful. If only you could speak, what wonders you could relate. What fantastic things you could tell me before I die.”
“Are you talking to me, pet?” The voice was pitched so high only a vamp’s hearing would have caught it.
“I asked if you were talking to me, handsome. I never like to but in where I’m not wanted, you know. I always say there‘s nothing more annoying than someone who just interrupts someone else’s thoughts and goes chattering on, saying nothing, thinking that they’re the most important creature in the world. I said to my fellow caterpillars, only yesterday, I said, listen, I said, you know me, I’m not one to gossip or spread rumours. I’m the last one to say a bad thing about a fellow being, but there’s a moth over there laying eggs as if there’s no tomorrow. Well, of course, for her there wasn’t, but it’s the children I worry about. What sort of life is it if you’re scattered all over the place. No wonder they grow up hiding away from the light. I blame the parents, you know. And what about the noise and the litter? And have you seen the state of the shopping mall down town? Not a single flower in sight and some of the butterflies that hang around down there! Now, I’m not prejudiced, some of my best friends have very dark markings and I’ve always been quite happy to be seen out with them. Of course, we never fly into the big golf club but then they wouldn’t feel right up there, would they? Each to his own, I say. There should be a way of keeping them from flying across the border, but will the government spray? No it won’t!”
Spike stared at the creature hovering above him and prayed desperately for the sunlight to reach him!
Then, as he watched, the butterfly started to grow. Inch by inch the wings grew longer, the body fatter. The shimmering blue became a midnight murk and thick, spiked tentacles stretched out in all directions, seeking a hold on the floor and the walls. With terrifying speed, it was evolving into something neither fly nor buttery.
Perhaps this was what would happen to him. He would turn from beauty to beast yet again, life and death a full circle and…
Unluckily, Spike had no time to decide. The size of the monster butterfly effectively blocked the sunlight, thus saving the vampire from the flames and the acid spit it shot out of its mouth melted the metal of his chains like ice-cream on a griddle.
He leapt for the door, shuddering as the voice became louder and lower. The creature was singing cheerfully and patriotically now, beating time with its tentacles, the walls of the room crashing down around it.
Spike ran for his life, wondering why he was bothering to live in a country that had the words “by the dawn’s early light” in the first verse of its national anthem and confounded the felony by having such an awful rhyme as, ‘the gleam of morning’s first beam’ in the second.
Bloody colonials couldn’t write poetry to save their lives!
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