THE KALEVALA (20)

By: James Parker
December 21, 2017

The Kalevala is a sequence of folkloric songs, runes and charms from the Karelia region of Finland, collected in the field and concatenated into epic form by Dr. Elias Lonnrot (1803-1884). The versions presented here are not translations or transliterations — they are respectful bastardizations, working from the 1963 English version of the Kalevala produced by the versatile and witty Francis Peabody Magoun Jr.

kalevala_bastardized

*

THE WITCH’S DANCE
[being a departure from The Kalevala, Rune 30]

The Witch of North Farm she kicks, she
      kicks,
this way and that, with vicious little
      head-flicks,
sharp angles, elbows, sharp hinge-clicks.
Beside her, the open-shirted toyboy and
      his oiled pecs.
Turgid, stupid, gyrating. She gives him
      vixenish licks.

Spare flesh flaps,
slack skin on her kneecaps,
but there’s no denying the energy
of this spry old witch on her dancing spree.

Her spells have caused great men to fall.
That musician she cursed with dementia —
his riffs were inscriptions upon the
      memory of the species,
and he forgot them all.

See that sunset, the colours like bands of
      sound,
like noise in a vacuum where God stroked
      his chin and frowned?
Feel the emptiness, feel the yearning,
feel your grosser elements burning.

The bell rings. The witch sings:

Enter the world-abandoning flame,
the cold flame that never wavers,
though you drink a thousand pints of
      Guinness
and eat ten tons of Quavers.

The dusk advances.
The witch she dances.
The stars go up, they sizzle and spit,
and will she stop? Not a bit of it.

***

Series banner contributed by Rick Pinchera.

ALL INSTALLMENTS: RUNE 3 (1–278): “Wizard Battle” | RUNE 4 (1–56): “A Failed Seduction” | RUNE 4 (300–416): “Aino Ends It All” | RUNE 5 (45–139): “An Afternoon Upon the Water” | RUNE 5 (150–241): “The Blue Elk” | RUNE 6 (1–114): “Therapy Session” | RUNE 6 (115–130): “Joukahainen’s Mother Counsels Him Against Shooting the Wizard Vainamoinen” | RUNE 11 (1–138): “Introducing Kyllikki” | RUNE 23 (485–580): “The Bride’s Lament” | RUNE 30 (1–276): “Icebound” | RUNE 30 (120–188): “The Voyage of the Sea-Hare” (Part One) | RUNE 30 (185–188): “Losing It” | RUNE 30 (departure): “Across the Ice” | RUNE 30 (departure): “Song of the Guilty Viking” | RUNE 30 (departure): “The Witch’s Dance” | RUNE 31 (215–225): “The Babysitter” | RUNE 31 (223–300): “The Screaming Axe” | RUNE 33 (1–136): “The Cowherd” | RUNE 33 (73): “Song of the Blade: Kullervo” | RUNE 33 (118–284): “The Cows Come Home” | RUNE 34 (1–82): “The Pipes of Kullervo” | RUNE 45 (259–312, departure): “The Wizard’s Secret”.

MORE PARKER at HILOBROW: COCKY THE FOX: a brilliant swearing-animal epic, serialized here at HiLobrow from 2010–2011, inc. a newsletter by Patrick Cates | THE KALEVALA — a Finnish epic, bastardized | THE BOURNE VARIATIONS: A series of poems about the Jason Bourne movies | ANGUSONICS: James and Tommy Valicenti parse Angus Young’s solos | MOULDIANA: James and Tommy Valicenti parse Bob Mould’s solos | BOLANOMICS: James traces Marc Bolan’s musical and philosophical development | WINDS OF MAGIC: A curated series reprinting James’s early- and mid-2000s writing for the Boston Globe and Boston Phoenix | CROM YOUR ENTHUSIASM: J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT | EVEN MORE PARKER, including doggerel; HiLo Hero items on Sid Vicious, Dez Cadena, Mervyn Peake, others; and more.

Share this Post
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Tumblr

Categories

Poetry, Read-outs

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.