|The Baker's Bounty--A Second Agony|
Fit the Ninth: An Epileptic Epilogue
“The Baker’s a brigand,
a burglar, a brute!”
the Brigadier-General announced.
“I could say it three times
or in Greek if you please,
but I find those words hard to pronounce.”
“He’ll proudly proclaim
he’s forgotten his name
but I tell you that’s only a ruse!
He’s 'Wanted!' on banners
as carcass or captive
a fate that I'm fated to choose.”
“There are forty-two boxes,
or at least there once were,
and his name is on each I recall.
But how could a man
whose forgotten, remember
the name to be written at all?"
“The contents good sir,
as I’m sure you’ve surmised,
had been meant not for him, but a fence;
from artwork and relics
to lowly cadavers
that perished at someone's expense.”
“The coats and the boots
that he wore weren’t for warmth
and by now have been traded for gold.
And if left unattended—
he would have surrendered—
the bell that you presently hold.”
"A remarkable claim,"
the Bellman remarked,
"but you've not said, what you've said thrice.
You could say it twice more
or just once and then once
but either I'm sure would suffice."
twice uttered each word he had said.
It would seem each word echoed
in deft repetition
or that he had stuttered instead.
The Bellman replied--
some tankards less dry--
with words that he surely had slurred
"that Baker's a fribble,
a fraud and a faker--
yet baker was always inferred."
"I knelled at the wakes
of my crew that's departed--
the Boots and myself but remain;
and my bell won't resound
till the clapper is found
so I'll clang at the Baker in vain."
By maladroit measures
a map manifested
with nary a legend or chart--
"the Isle of Snarks,
indicated by 'X',
is where I suggest that you start."
Fit the Tenth: The Formidable Crew
the first of the crew,
had monocles--one for each eye
and the source of his hobble
would vary depending
on whom he'd enchanted nearby.
To curious ladies
with playful intentions
the source of his limp was a snark
But to men without stature
or militant standing
his wound wouldn't warrant remark.
His whiskers extended
the width of his figure
and further when wildly unkempt
so he, like a cat
without fear, could endeavor
each entrance he wished to attempt.
An aged Balloonist, oft sought,
to help commandeer during flights
yet he had a fear that
would prove inconducive
for travel at mountainous heights.
A ladder must dangle--
a small stipulation--
that grazes the landscape below
so he on a rung
not too high for his liking
could pilot and travel in tow.
With much opposition
and shaky credentials
the Barmaid was third to enlist
Some say her attire
ensured she was hired
but 'that's not the case,' some insist.
had gravely asserted:
"the assumptions abounding are erred--
her figure though pert
and without imperfections
would not leave my judgment impaired."
She once fought a drove
of undead with a tankard
yet somehow avoided a spill
they severed her arm--
which was sewn to refasten--
and then she proceeded to kill.
"How an arm can be darned
when barraged with undead
and upholding the code of her craft--
is a thought I'd contest
if I weren't so impressed
and I wanted my ship poorly-staffed."
The Beadle agreed
out of duty and goading
to join, but gave warning ahead:
"As a man of inaction,
I'm seldom 'well done'
but rather 'well thought' or 'well said.'
His hair that remained
held a secret quite poorly
despite being long and just so
any gust ran the risk
of denoting its origin;
exposing what none are to know.
The Beekeeper wore white
and abhorred imperfection
which brought on grammatical rants
he'd patented the 'hyphen'
and touted its finding
but most say he found it by chance.
Through forced coexistence
he'd built up resistance
to toxins that most can't endure
it only took years
of perpetual stinging
by bees that all died for their cure.
In the skeps that he trundled
he harbored his candles
each lit by the spark of a snark.
Besides a bee handler
he's also a chandler
so none shall be left in the dark.
With a mind for baroque
and not modern romantics
the Bard and his mandore took board.
He strummed the achievements
of people forgotten--
a fate that the crew can't afford.
"Omit every blunder;
embellish our exploits!"
the Brigadier-General decreed
"We'll not be remembered
through ballads as failures,
so alter the facts as you need."
With their goals now aligned
and their duties assigned
the crew was equipped for the trip.
All worries were noted
and duly considered
except for their lack of a ship.
Fit the Eleventh: The Frigid Frigate
Near a tundra once wooded
where borogroves idled
in a lake that's now dormant with ice
is an icicled mast
on the grave of a frigate
that somehow achieved sinking twice.
"This iceburgesque vessel
the Brigadier-General had urged
"I'll perch on the mast
as the task is completed
--you've only five sixths still submerged."
"Now I sense your frustrations
but such excavations
if left to defrosting takes weeks;
were it frost, I'd consider,
but icy patinas
require less passive techniques."
With night now approaching
the darkness encroached
on a mission they mustn't postpone
their skeps shed them light
but were beacons that beckoned
to the beings that were known as unknown.
The unknown were wispy
and spoke in third person
through whispers and nods of the head;
were their eyes not reflective
they'd not be detected
in the dimly-lit light that was shed.
"I have seen them before,"
said the Barmaid with fright,
"they have watched from the end of my bed;
though they prey on the dying
they seek out the sleeping
in hopes that they're dying instead."
"Their nods are unnerving;
their diet's disturbing
and I whisper for fear that they'll hear.
We must hasten our efforts,"
the Beadle had pleaded,
"I'm more weary than I might appear."
"Hold your yawns until dawn"
said the Brigadier-General
as he climbed from the mast to the nest
"We will finish with splinters,
with frostbite and blisters,
and we'll do so without any rest."
The Bard played a dirge
so to brighten their spirits
while the Barmaid filled flagons with draft
the crew was now ready
for setting the standard
for unsinking a twice-sunken craft.
They chiseled in rhythm
with picks that were fashioned
from the bandersnatch bones that they'd honed
and the carcass they plundered
had willfully perished
since their poaching was hardly condoned.
The Balloonist could sense
As the air became dense
That a torrent of flurries was due;
Its smell is distinctive,
His joints are instinctive
And to date his predictions proved true.
The snow brought a chill
Like a solemn expression
And gradually buried their site.
Had an artist been ordered
To paint this occassion,
The canvas would be splatters of white.
Their digits were frigid
and not in agreement
with the work that their will had intended
most thought the cause 'folly'
and worked without passion
while the others just merely pretended.
addressed their resentments
with a lecture he'd deftly prepared
it emphasized interest
in militant vessels
and the risks of expenses not spared.
He had spoken at length
with an unrivaled fervor
unaware that he hadn't been heard;
it would have brought about tears
and a standing ovation
had the wind not obscured every word.
If their time were determined
by shadowy methods
they had finished at the time they'd begun;
it took less than a night,
that's the best they could reason,
since their sundial relied on the sun.
"Our mission now hinges
on faithful compliance--
"Ignore if you must,
or acknowledge and trust
but the later is which I prefer
I discourage discretion
and favor compliance
a matter I'm sure you'll concur."
not be rewarded
This mission now hinges
on faithful compliance
The Beekeeper and Bard
had salvaged some timbers
from the bathing machines at the shore
they used them as levers
and lifted the frigate
so the rest of the crew could explore.
His accent was heavy
his words were light
and he seldom had something to say
so without conversation
or brief explanations
the Balloonist had wandered away.
The bees that were stowed
used the candles as stoves
and huddled in swarms to keep warm
their skeps were then placed
and strategically spaced
to help thaw the ice through the storm.
To showcase his talent
with chisel and mallet
the Bard carved a bust in the prow
but the feminine torso
had decidedly more so
than nature would often endow.
"There are cracks in the hull
on the starboard and port,"
the Beadle was quick to report
"were the fault at the helm
or the shipwright's wrongdoing
this outcome could warrant a tort."
"Their whiskers aren't whiskers
but fishermen wires
forever ensnared in their lips
and their feathers are fletching
from arrows once lobbied
by industrious, snark-hunting ships."
(to be continued...)
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