#108: The Love Song of Bernard Von Scuttlesby


The prompt today from NaPoWriMo is an assignment that I have already done when I mistakenly ripped off the structure and form of a John Berryman poem as my “golden shovel.” I redeemed myself that day by creating a bonus poem based on the William Carlos Williams gem “The Red Wheelbarrow.”  I wish I would have known this one was coming–in which case I would have saved the Berryman rip-off for today and published the Williams thing as my golden shovel.  Oh well.  I’ve got an excuse to write still another poem.  I’m not going to do the whole thing, god no, but here’s a rip-off of the first stanza of one of my all time favorite poems: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot.  I’ll include the original afterwards for the uninitiated.

The Love Song of Bernard Von Scuttlesby

Let us know then, you and him,
When the morning is fished out from inside the bin
Like a statement anesthetized into a fable;
Let us know, of somewhat half-converted treats,
The clamorous defeats
Of topless fights in one-two punch motels
And skid marked pavement in blue oyster cult hell:
Beats that fumble like an obsequious fulfillment
Of idiotic lament
To slide you to an underwear warming question …
Oh, do not dance, “What it is!”


The original first stanza of Eliot’s “Prufrock”:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

4 thoughts on “#108: The Love Song of Bernard Von Scuttlesby

  1. Good job with both rip-offs! The golden shovel seemed to me too overwhelming to contemplate an attempt–because I couldn’t let myself half-ass an assignment–and I think I would’ve been over my head but determined to not give up, drowning with all the dignity I could muster. This kind of ripping off is much more feasible for me. I think I shall try something by Mary Oliver. I love her. Merrily.

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