Poem 17c: A modest proposal

17cproposal

(a pantoum, with seven footnotes to aid scholars) (1)

I know you’ll say no
No! No! The answer’s yes!
But can we give marriage a go?
I thought you’d never ask, I must confess.

No! No! The answer’s yes!
I went and bought a ring(2) in case.
I thought you’d never ask, I must confess.
I didn’t want to lose face, Stace.(3)

I went and bought a ring(4) in case.
I’ve already said I will
I didn’t want to lose face, Stace.(5)
You’re not listening to me, Bill.(6)

I’ve already said I will
I knew you didn’t love me
You’re not listening to me, Bill.(7)
You think you’re way above me.

I knew you didn’t love me
Now you’re pissing me off
You think you’re way above me.
Yeah right, I’m one of them highfalutin toffs.

Now you’re pissing me off
But can we give marriage a go?
Yeah right, I’m one of them highfalutin toffs.
I knew you’d say no.

(1) “A Modest Proposal” – Not to be confused with Jonathan Swift’s literary work with the same name
(2) An engagement ring
(3) Her name was Stacey; Stace for short. The shortening of her name implies that he knew her quite well
(4) Probably the same ring as in note 2
(5) This is the same person as in a couple of footnotes back
(6) His name was Bill
(7) This is the same person as in another footnote, not the footnote regarding Stacey but the one about Bill

50 thoughts on “Poem 17c: A modest proposal

  1. Susanne

    I love a poem with footnotes. It proves it is brilliant and needs interpretation for us poor dolts hanging around in smokey coffee houses pretending to be artsy fartsies (or sitting on your front porch waiting for a beer).

    On another note, I think a poem about footnotes is in order. Is a footnote something written on a foot or is it a prelude to a nocturne? So many things to ponder when reading a footnoted pantoum.

    Anyway, the mickey is definitely dry! You have totally de-poofed the pantoum. (If a pantoum were clothing I believe it would be plus-fours.)

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
    1. Cynthia Jobin

      I agree, Susanne, but if it were an article of clothing, I see it more as a huge, bouncy hoop skirt, billowing from the waist and two skinny legs in lacy knickers tiptoeing underneath—like Scarlett O’Hara might have worn, in the ante-bellum southern times of the USA…..

      Liked by 4 people

      Reply
  2. thecontentedcrafter

    I see you have been having a party without me today – life was interrupting my blogging, but I’ve just bludgeoned it over the head and put a stop to THAT!! So here I am and enormously impressed with the footnotes!! What a difference they make and how extremely erudite they make us all seem. ‘Oh, I follow a blog that has footnotes’ is a throwaway comment that is going to be injected into any amount of conversations that I hold in the dog park from this moment forth!! New followers will probably be battering at your door any moment. You are welcome!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      What is life if, full of care, we have no time to read a footnote. I shall certainly try to explain things in a simple manner in future footnotes for the benefit of those less blessed than ourselves!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Cynthia Jobin

        FOOTNOTE: It’s not about MY description of the pantoum I got it from an actual physical book entitled “The Book of Forms,’ written by a highly and widely respected poet and scholar, Lewis Turco, and published by E.P.Dutton &Co., Inc., New york, in 1968..on page 88.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Bruce Goodman Post author

          Yes – sorry – I meant that the defining description you used – which is from Turco’s book. It does seem, as you’ve said, that the (English) form bears little resemblance to the Malay. I was interested in Sylvie’s “unhappy ending” comment.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
          1. Cynthia Jobin

            FOOTNOTE 2: Sylvie may indeed be able to shed more light on the whole puzzle, since the poets in English got their introduction to the pantoum through the French poets who were adapting the form to their own poetry, e.g. Victor Hugo’s,” Les Orientales,” and Charles Baudelaire’s, “Harmonie du Soir.”

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
  3. simon682

    The footnotes explain everything. Like the marginal notes on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, they must always be reproduced whenever this poem is re-published. The poem is wonderful. The footnotes complete it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Gentle thoughts and expressions of astoundedness are both gratefully accepted.

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