Saturday, April 23, 2011

Substitution 1: Po Chu i: "The Dragon of the Black Pool"

Hello All,

This is the first in a series of three substitution based constraints we worked on for the first week of class. Here is the first constraing:

§Substitution (1): "Mad libs."  Take a poem (or other source text) and put blanks in place of three or four words in each line, noting the part of speech under each blank.  Fill in the blanks being sure not to recall the original context. 

And what I did was to take "The Dragon of the Black Pool" by Po Chu i and cross out the words that just seemed to ground the poem in Po Chu i's message. I then took these crossed out words and substituted my own, making a completely different story. I recommend that you read the original text of "The Dragon of the Black Pool" (it's linked a couple sentences back) and then look at the crossed out version (as it's kind of hard to see what the crossed-out words actually are) and then look at my own version where the new words are in bold/sky blue.

Po Chu I
(translated by Arthur Waley)
Deep the waters of the Black Pool, colored like ink;
They say a Holy Dragon lives there, whom men have never seen.
Beside the Pool they have built a shrine; the authorities
have established a ritual;
A dragon by itself remains a dragon, but men can make it a god.
Prosperity and disaster, rain and drought, plagues and pestilences
By the village people were all regarded as the Sacred Dragon’s doing.
They all made offerings of sucking-pig and poured libations of wine;
The morning prayers and evening gifts depended on a “medium’s” advice.
When the dragon comes, ah!
The wind stirs and sighs
Paper money thrown, ah!
Silk umbrellas waved.
When the dragon goes, ah!
The wind also—still.
Incense-fire dies, ah !
The cups and vessels are cold.
Meats lie stacked on the rocks of the Pool’s shore;
Wine flows on the grass in front of the shrine.
I do not know, of all those offerings, how much the Dragon eats;
But the mice of the woods and the foxes of the hills are continually drunk and sated.
Why are the foxes so lucky?
What have the sucking-pigs done,
Thayear  by year they should be killed, merely to glut the foxes?
That the foxes are robbing the Sacred Dragon and eating His sucking-pig,
Beneath the nine-fold depths of His pool, does He know or not?

THE DRAGON OF THE BLACK POOL (Substitution 1: Mad Libs)

Deep the heart of the Fish Pool, colored like caviar; They say a royal Dragon creeps there, whom I have never seen.
Under the Pool they have stopped a fight; the authorities
have arrested a criminal;
A koi by itself remains a koi, but fish can make it a god.
Purity and disaster, fires and flames, plagues and blood
By the moonlight’s glow were all dead, as the Sacred Dragon’s bail.
They all made offerings of sucking-leeches and regarded libations of kale;
The morning papers and evening reports depended on a “medium’s” analysis.
When the reporters interview, ah!
The air smells and stinksThe talking heads profane, ah!
Doom-laden umbrellas waved.
When the truth goes, ah!
The blogs also—legitimate.
Fact-checking dies, ah !
The witnesses and victims are cold.
Wind blows quietly on the edge of the Pool’s shore;
We repent on the stairs in front of the shrine.
I do not believe, of all those assholes, how much the Dragon succeeds;
But the citizens from the woods and the foxes of the night are continually drunk and sated.
How are the foxes so violent?
How sadly the sucking-pigs give up,
That houses by him they should be supporting, merely to subdue the foxes?
That the foxes are paying the Sacred Dragon and killing his helping pig,
Beneath the surface depths of His pool, does He care or not?

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