February 1, 2008

Biliary Bacchanal

My recent health woes have presented me with some unusual material for my poetry and painting project. One doesn’t expect songs, poetry and art to emerge from these unpleasantries but sometimes it does. Some of it has, of course, been somber, but there was one little nonsense poem and a painting to go with it that presented itself to me in a rather unusual way so I submit it here. The painting that I’m illustrating this rhyme with is a small oil on wood which I no longer have but am intending to repaint anew for my Monologue book of poetry and paintings.

This little story behind the art began at the Medical University of South Carolina, where I was trying to book my appointment with the pancreatobiliary department. The receptionist seemed to have a hard time pronouncing that word pancreatobiliary. “pan creo what?” she asked incredulously. I sounded it out for her, “p-a-n-c-r-e-a-t-o-b-i-l-i-a-r-y.” “pan crea deo nucleo what?” she asked again getting herself even more confused. I then came up with what I thought to be a clever mnemonic device for her. “Just remember that pancreatobiliary sounds like Pan cries out to Billy and Harry,” I said, more to the effect of amusing myself than anyone else. I don’t know if it helped her remember the name of the department but my newly coined phrase became the opening line for my nonsense poem, “The Bacchanal”

“The Bacchanal”

Pan cried out to Billy and Harry

from his forest apothecary

“I’m mixing herbs for both of you

Come drink them down and when we’re through

we’ll have fine wine and rollick and song

with elixirs and potions mixed thick and strong”
The two men laughed and got their flasks

pulled on tight pants and donned their masks

with beastly horns and feathers of fowl

they set off for their Bacchanal

They frolicked in the woods like naughty satyrs

in choice scenes from Grecian Kraters
They danced to the river with running and leaping

and grinned at a nymph as she was sleeping

Then stealthily they started creeping

to hide behind a rock from which to be peeping

With sniggering mouths and teary eyes brimming

they laughed at a silenus while he was swimming
They took his clothes just for some fun

from where they were drying out in the sun

and hung them high up in the trees

then tied his undergarments around their knees

From off the bank they took his hat

and played with it from where they sat
Then gleefully through the forest they ran

And when at last they greeted Pan

They gave him gold and talked of nonsense

Pan filled their flasks in recompense

and served them comestibles beyond measure

for the rest of the evening of foolish pleasure

-Janet Kozachek
Copyright January 2008

No comments: