Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On Flatulence

Hi, everyone.
I am chilling out and listening to Lenny Kravitz.
My work has been seriously trying to kill me and this is why I have not been around very much.
This evening, after work I went to Starbucks and read a bit in The Canterbury Tales.
I am still chipping away at that book. Tonight’s reading was positively hilarious.
The Summoner’s Tale.
Much ado about flatulence!
Oh my!
Chaucer. You little stinker!
This is the tale in the Prologue of which, we learn that there is a special place in Hell reserved for friars.
It is sort of even worse than the regular hell.
Down low, in “Lucifer’s pavillion” we are told that Satan has a tail….

“As broad or broader than a barge’s sail.”
[I was already laughing, but the party was about to get rowdier…]
“Hold up thy tail, thou Satan!” then said he,
“Show forth thine arse and let the friar see
The nest ordained for friars in this place!”
Ere the tail rose a furlong into space
From underneath it there began to drive,
Much as if bees were swarming from a hive,
Some twenty thousand friars in a rout
And swarmed all over Hell and round about,
And then came back as fast as they could run
And crept into his arse again, each one.

Wow! Quite the imagery.

Later, we find that the friar is sermonizing to an ailing man, and this parishioner is not exactly sympathetic nor blind to the friar’s gross hyposcrisies.
So, he tells him that he has a gift for him, but he must reach in back of him and get it from the place where he lies in bedridden mischiefery... and Chaucer tells us:

When the sick man could feel him here and there
Groping about his fundament with care,
Into that friar’s hand he blew a fart.
There never was a farmhorse drawing cart
That farted with a more prodigious sound.

I nearly spewed coffee all over the Starbucks.
It got even funnier from this point onward.
But suffice it to say that it reminded me of a book that was once sent to me by my reading partner a.k.a → The better half of the Surfacing Reading Club.
Being an English teacher herself, and as downright marmy as one could be, she sent me A Handbook To Literature….. more commonly referred to as the Thrall & Hibbard. It’s a great book. A classic, published in 1936.
I remember initially leafing through it and reading some of the articles therein. One that especially caught my interest was called The Divine Afflatus.
Here is what it says:

Divine Afflatus, The: A phrase used to mean poetic inspiration, particularly the exalted state immediately preceding creative composition, when the poet is felt to be receiving his inspiration directly from a divine source. The doctrine of divine inspiration for poets was advocated by Plato. Although the phrase and doctrine have been used in a serious and sincere sense by such a poet as Shelley, the term is perhaps more often used now in a somewhat contemptuous sense, to imply a sort of pretensious over-valuation in a would-be poet or a bombastic spirit in an orator, whose fervid style or manner is felt not to be justified by the actual substance of the poem or oration.

I loved that little article, instantly recognizing how many times I myself had experienced divine flatulence!
So I sat down immediately, ate a can of beans, and wrote a poem that same night.
It’s called The Divine Afflatus, and if you want to read it, fart → HERE!

Have a goood evening/day, all!

***********

3 comments:

Stefanie said...

I remember reading a few of the Tales in college in the original with lots of footnotes. It was hard work but enjoyable. I recall lots of sex but not the flatulence. I'll have to read all of the Tales sometime. You're making it sound so fun :)

jasmine said...

Rip-roaring funny. And I loved your poem. I can picture a table full of jolly revelers.
Your blog makes me laugh not just this one time but neerely always.
Cheers.

patricia said...

Heh. There's not nearly enough poetry in the world about the joys of passing wind (never mind the heavenly experience of a really good bowel movement).

I raise my glass of wine (and my leg) and and lift a toast and toot to your tremendously Rabelasian talent!

In the words of Benjamin Franklin:
Fart Proudly!