Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pied Booty - Dabney Stuart

Glory be to God for sexy things-
For cries of coupled lovers as they bind and bow;
For moles that on her hip'll make his dolphin swim,
Fresh and fired up; nutty balls; G-strings;
Lovescapes pulsing and flesh-shoaled - furrow and plow;
And all shapes, their leer and freckle and whim.

All people dumpy, bald, regressive, strange;
Whoever is fickle, faithful (who knows how?)
With slick, abrasive; sweet, sour, disheveled, trim;
Who father-forth and mother-forth all change-
Praise Him.

A sexy and funny parody of the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem "Pied Beauty" (which I recently posted), Dabney Stuart's "Pied Booty" successfully maintains much of the structure and vocal pleasure of the source material while adding humor and eroticism.  Most surprising to me, the poem manages to skirt between irreverence and the religious piety of the original.

While the poem's overall tone is comedic and largely in jest, I think there's a real reverence here for mothers and fathers, and the sexy side of Creation.  The last two lines,  "Who father-forth and mother-forth all change- Praise Him" is a real statement of praise and respect for the challenging work of mothering and fathering, and that nobility in bringing change (in the form of children) into the world.  The capital H "Him" in the last line does bring to mind a Creator God, the one of "Pied Beauty" who deserves praise for the beauty of his Creation.  In this context, however, it's not for dappled things that we rejoice, but for sexy things.  Who doesn't like sexy things, right?

The images in this poem manage to capture Gerard Manley Hopkins distinctive couple-hyphen descriptions while conveying humorously sexy images.  A few entertaining examples include: "coupled lovers" "for mles on her hip that'll make his dolphin swim" (a delightfully absurd euphemism), "nutty balls" "dumpy, bald, regressive, strange."  I also particularly enjoy the amazement at fidelity Stuart includes, with the line, "Whoever is fickle, faithful (who knows how?)"  Who knows, indeed?  Stuart manages to be irreverent without being disrespectful, sexual without being crass, and funny without trampling the spirit of the source material.  This is the essence of parodic poetry in my mind, and I'm delighted to have read this poem.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing poem, and your comments, Christopher, really catch the ridiculous profundity of it. Now, however, I will never again be able read the original Hopkins poem without thinking of this one!