March 09, 2011

The Wife of Bath on Joan of Arc....or "Why Virgins be Crazy"

So remember the Duke Gyrth Memorial Smackdown I was talking about?  And how I was pretending to be the Wife of Bath and writing poetry about people I was assigned to like/not like?  Guess how the Wife of Bath feels about Joan of Arc!  :-D

Good gentles, you may know this girl, perchance –
the Maid of Orleans – the Dupe of France.
A pretty child she was, though peasant-bred.
Her father’s land and office kept them fed
and well-content with simple country life.
She would have made a happy, gainful wife.
But no one wants to wed a lunatic!
She couldn’t catch the poorest country hick
with voices in her head.  We all can tell –
though they be angels, life with you’d be hell!
Poor Joan could see she never would make good,
and found a man the only way she could.
Now knowing that the French brigade enjoys
the company of rosy little boys,
our desperate Joan donned pants and bound her breast
and prayed that they would overlook the rest.
But generals and dukes could see that France
was sore in need of more than dalliance.
“Lo there, that crazy wench – she freaks me out!
Her raving could put all our foes to rout!”
They laughed – and then their laughter turned to tears.
That was the best idea they’d had in years.
Our frenzied Joan was now on a crusade,
“The angels tell me I must die a maid!
And in the service of my sovereign land
I’ll bow to God, but not to husband’s hand.”
But gullible and witless, Joan would dance,
a puppet jerked around by Charles of France.
And so a Spartan soldier’s life she led,
no lover ever warming her in bed.
How independent was she? Oh, I hope
you know that Charles kept her on a short rope.
She did his bidding like the meekest wife
and never guessed he’d play her like a fife.
She cut a hundred English fighters down
ensuring that her king would have his crown.
But sure the English caught her by and by
and Charles the Bastard hung her out to dry.
Poor Joan, we know your trial was a sham,
that you were France’s sacrificial lamb.
He could have ransomed you, but did you think
that lacking ties of marriage Charles would blink
at what befell you once he had his prize?
Mayhap the voices were more loud than wise.
Now if but one thing from my tale you learn,
‘tis better, girls, to marry than to burn.

March 08, 2011

The Wife of Bath in praise of Sugawara no Michizane

Several weeks ago in Atlantia, I participated in the Duke Gyrth Memorial Smackdown, which was freakin' awesome.  Now I feel like posting, but am tired as crap.  So I'll just put up the two poems I wrote for this...starting with this one.

The premise was:  I was the Wife of Bath (wealthy, randy, 5-times-wed widow of Chaucerian fame).  I was assigned two other participants historico-literary figures.  I had to chose one to praise and one to smack brutally to the proverbial curb.  So in my best attempt at Chaucerian verse, and from the assigned perspective, I threw together this little ditty.  (Note:  If any of the other authors post their stuff anywhere, I'll link to it - it was a great day for poetry!  And if anyone got video of Master Dunstan being Hildegard von Bingen, YOUTUBE THAT SUMMBITCH!)

Sugawara no Michizane-san,
I think I've never seen a better man!
Though I have seen and loved and married five
good English lords, e'en were they still alive,
your smooth nobility, your learned pen
would put to shame a hundred English men.
You've such a way with tongues - good gracious me! -
a brilliant mind like yours can surely see
how easy it will be to make me come
to understand my heart 'till now was numb.
Sugawara no Michizane-chan,
I'm widowed now.  I do not think I can
go on alone without your honeyed verse,
both elegant and brief - it could be worse!
I love your courtly robes, your wispy beard,
and 'till you came along, I really feared
some yapping bore would whisk me off to wed,
who'd make more noise at dinner than in bed.
But you, my lord, can paint exotic lands
in sounds swift as the brush moves in your hands.
And I'll throw songs at you like lovesick birds
'till I posses you body, soul and words.

March 06, 2011

Proceedings from Practicum

Last weekend up here in Ealdormere, a staggering number of SCA teachers converged on the Canton of Caldrithig for Practicum - a day full of classes on everything from shaving to sewing to ass-kicking.

Here, for the first time in a really really long time, is the collected wisdom of that day in handy PDF format - the Proceedings from Practicum 2011.

Though by no means exhaustive, this 98-page document contains class notes, handouts and abstracts from classes taught at Practicum.  If you see something you'd like to know more about, please reach out to the person who taught the class - you'll find contact information for nearly everyone who contributed.