Cockerel as swain

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Cockerel as swain

  1. 1. This is the story I fain will tell, Of the ad-ventures and exploits of a young cock-erel.Acquired from a pet shop to roam at will,Between fenced boundaries with licenseto kill, The myriads of insects, pests andany swarmWhich night and day did the gardenmuch harm. Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)At first Georgie gallus settled quitenicely in place,Seeking, scratching, and dispatching in-sects apace.Then, despite the variety, his appetitepalled,As he thought of responding to Adven-ture’s call,With young strong blood and his lust tofeed,To his purchased purpose he paid scantheed.From over the fence he heard first athrilling cry,Its origin mysterious till the day he es-piedA pretty young chick in feathers so fine,In form, figure and movements, a bird di-vine.
  2. 2. Or so he thought, when he saw her first,And decided she was just what he neededTo make life a sonnet of sweetness and mirth.Forsaking his owners, and his feast of bugs,He listened to his desires and his heartbeat tugs. “Oh sweet bird of my fervent desires,Please join with me in all life’s aspires, Or if it is better times you want, Let’s both tend thegarden and you’ll never be gaunt.” So he first proclaimed for all to hear, His undying love forhis lady feathered fair. Startled and taken aback by this unintroduced approach, The poultnamed Apple spun and disdain-fully began her reproach.‘Why you young fool, you’re either blind or a dolt, To seek romance with a young turkeypoult.” Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)
  3. 3. By Ken Lans“What on earth makes you address me this way ?Just like all the young cocks you wish to make a play, Wherever and when-ever you fancy you can score. Be off with you! You are really a bore!”Tailoring her words by her actions, she spoke, To him with beak and claws so furiously,He realized the import of sufficient space and took,Aflight and flapped his wings so lustily. That right quickly there was scarce a traceOf him, except for some lost feathers left in place.His injured pride and betrayed ignorance to hide, Back to his own baliwack he flew to pon-der The reasons behind his terrible blunder. “Was there something in my suit that I handledwrong For her to turn on me so strong? She is my only true love, of that I’m sure. “Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)
  4. 4. By Ken Lans “I’ll give her some time, and she I will lure. My love is so great, there’s no need to make haste. I will woo her from here, I won’t tempt fate. It is the safe thing to do, I’ll plead my case With patience and vocabulary in which I am skilled When I sing my refrain, I’m sure she’ll be thrilled.”“Oh Apple! Apple! Apple,What have you done to me!Since I first had you in mysight,I have been in a kind of ec-stasy!Is this what Eve experienced,When she her first Applepicked from the garden andbit?No wonder then that shewanted Adam too, to experi-ence it!Now I am in troubled watersdeep,With banks on both sidessteep, For the more I see isthe more I want to try,To earn your love and aroundyou to fly. “
  5. 5. They stay in the garden both night and day, ‘” Week after week and more and still, For I find it better and more fun, To peck I fear my growing wants have outstripped my‘” around in my tiny brain to zoom in and outmeagre vocabulary! And that has me in a bind, seeking for some pun,How can you be so unkind? Like some feathered superswain,Where can I find the ability, Tossing phrases and ideas in the air,To win, too woo, you already proclaim me silly. And catching them before they crash,A chicken’s heart is all I have before you to lay, On the stony ground like that of yourI’ve lost the instinct and drive to heart.”insects kill.” Itō Jakuchū (1716– 1800)
  6. 6. By Ken Lans“Some times I see stars appear, with the stress on my tiny brainWhat kind of female causes such fear, and inspires such pain and alarmIn a bird who has done them no harm,Except to declare my love and ask for thine?How can I know if the fault is yours or mine!At least Eve had a serpent to blame,And Adam and all the priests to follow blamed Eve.The story goes that they were both banished, The price they paid wasvery high and shame And so your scorn lingers and therefore I languish. “Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)
  7. 7. By Ken Lans“When I first laid eyes on you I did not know there was a penaltyWhen I flew into your space I had to pay with feathers lost, the priceAnd now time’s lost thinking sweet refrains to gain your spice Forsuch a longing has afflicted me, I’ve got the “Always Wanting Fever‟“Wanting something much better than bugs aplenty.It wouldn’t be so bad if better couldn’t be had,I might be satisfied with what’s around me,But everytime I think I’ve gained some mastery,You put on some new air to tempt me.I then relapse into gratification fever,A burning desire to immediately caress youEntirely consumes my reason and I’m eager, Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)When I see what you have to deliver.”
  8. 8. By Ken LansSo diligently did Georgie crow his loving devotion, His owners took notice,and they questioned the commotion. “He needs a mate,” they eventuallydid decideNext morning, they purchased a chick to reside, In the yard as a compan-ion one named Saida gallus For their lovesick bug-terminator Georgie gal-lant.Sadly, in their haste to procure what Georgie needed, No great discrimi-nation or choice was heeded, And what Georgie saw approaching withsome fear, What kind of beast are you?” was his greeting dismayed, To the poor young bird, who at her first sight, Of him fell madly in love, and was with delight, Thanking her lucky stars at such good fortune and said. Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)
  9. 9. By Ken Lans“I am a clean-neck fowl, an aristocrat among peers,Quite highly considered, in spite of your jeers.From the first time I saw you, I surrendered my heartIt’s common in true romances to have a bad start.The fates have decided, an arranged marriage it’s trueYou’ll soon come to touch me and I will let you.”This was Saida’s brave rejoinder, hiding her growing dismayAt this unexpected turn of events, on such an auspicious dayWith sudden pity for her condition so much like his,He spoke very softly to this so quickly love-lorn miss.Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)
  10. 10. By Ken Lans“I’m sorry my dear, but I’ve given my love and thoughts of romanceTo a bird next door and she has spurned my advancesWith words and feet aloft and a beak like cruel lances.”“Why what a horrid creature, to treat you this way !You’re too good for her, and with me you should stay.”His confiding in her encouraged her next play,And she sidled up to him, her charms to display.But angry at her brashness, he chased her away,And as she fled his fury grew even more,Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)
  11. 11. By Ken LansSo he chased after her to give her what for,He caught her and sitting on her held on quite fast,Determined to teach her a lesson that would last.She struggled and squirmed, as though to get far away,When suddenly, without warning, instincts came into playGeorgie’s what for kept him astride till spentHe released her at last, and she cluckingly wentTo tell the wide world of her conquest and sentHer clucks to the sky with all her might and main,The sounds of her immodest cries caused him deep pain,For in his heart, he burned he thought, with love long in vain. Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)
  12. 12. By Ken LansCrestfallen, consumed with guilt, he heard the turkey poultJeering at his display of infidelity and repeating taunts of dolt.She recounted all of the attentions, the presents and the lyricsHe had employed to claim that his love was not just a gimmick.“We turkeys are not famed for our smarts but I have to maintainThat cockerels and drakes are not the swains that they proclaim.”Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800)

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