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Once upon a court inquiry, while my witness plead sincerely,
Over whether or not he witnessed a murder on a mansion floor,
While I prodded, nearly smacking, suddenly there came a cracking,
As of someone's neck snapping, snapping behind the courtroom door.
"Tis some murderer," I muttered, "whacking behind the courtroom door.
Only this and nothing more."

Ah, we linked the oft dismembered mobsters of a chic September,
Yes, the mob's each dying member spilt their guts upon the floor.
Eagerly I swished espresso on the morn I named the torso,
She who until late fought escrow, clauses, deeds, and more.
A wry and wise defense attorney whose office door had read 'Dior.'
Jobless here for evermore.

And the sulking, sad and witless weeping from each extra witness,
Chilled, fulfilled me, raging 'tween the jury's and the judge's snores.
Yet now to hush my unbelieving mind, standing there conceiving:
"Tis some nameless witless witness bleeding 'hind the courtroom door,
Some late nameless witless witness bleeding 'hind the courtroom door.
This it it, and nothing more."

Lamentably, my legs grew softer, wobbling that I thought of doctors,
"Bailiff," said I, "Such unruly interruptions I deplore,
But the fact is, I was strapping, and so roughly he came smacking,
And so toughly he came whacking, whacking behind the courtroom door,
And sharply you should draw your weapon." - here he threw wide the door -
Hallway there, and nothing more.

Swift unto the jury veering, tender mind within me queering,
Shouting, screaming screams no lawyer ever dared to scream before;
all attendants then awoken, just to hearken bullets broken
through the virgin green and golden tiles of the courthouse floor.
Then I withered, seeing there a flicker of my lost Dior.
A flicker of her and nothing more.

Back unto the jury spurning, judge an inch from court-adjourning,
Soon we heard a thwacking somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "my last witness met his end beyond all fitness,
business brought him to a stiffness statements sworn shall not restore."
There he was and nothing more.

Lurching, shot, out from the gutter, did the drifter enter, stutter,
"Blood I've lost as if I'd shaven, pooling on this stately floor."
Not the least senescence bayed he; laughter flowed from lord and lady;
Though, with life, a damage paid he, drifting in the courtroom door,
Perched upon a pus-filled callus, swaying in the courtroom door,
Perched and spat and nothing more.

Then the entity, blood still piling, forced me into later dialing
Numbers saved to turn the jury's 'innocent' to a 'guilty' score.
"Though your chest is far from graven, you," I said, "The witness craven!
Lastly, him, whose thoughts are saved for those who grace this golden floor.
Name me they who slayed Dior upon the mob's Bostonian shore."
Quoth the craven, "Nevermore."

Much agog as this unseemly, foul-smelling bum extremely
Understated what agreed-to evidence he'd sworn before.
Still, the good and saintly written book had not been rightly smitten
There beneath his grime-caked digits, O, his filthy, vulgar pores.
Word and verse had just escaped his crusted, cratered pores,
With such a name as "Nevermore."

But, the vagrant, grinning phony, at the swinging door spoke only
That one word as if the truth in that one word he did explore.
No more jury then he buttered, no more tiles then he cluttered,
Til I fiercely more than sputtered, "Other aides have died before,
On this floor he shall perish, like the others did before."
Then the tramp said, "Nevermore."

Throttled by the hollow token of a word so worn out, broken,
"Worthless," said I, "what he sputters signifies a rotten core.
Bought by some amoral bastard, hiding here amidst the plaster,
Followed here and shot with blasters, til his lungs one last lie swore,
Killing justice for the virgin whom her parents named Dior
Of 'Never-nevermore.'"

But the craven fell then, smiling, brownish blood at stomach piling.
Straight we stood in shock, the judge, the jury, crowd and more.
Then I, quite without thinking, paced upon the dying, stinking
Man and spat, all without linking any truth with what he swore,
Seeing grit and grim and ghastly gunk, and lies in all he swore,
Bent on croaking, "Nevermore."

There we stood, all dispossessing freehold of his soul's transgressing
To the bowels of fiery lyes and sulfurs, brimstone, molten ore.
Many left, with most resigning, "Fate must work its arch designing,
Lest we take into its twining"; thoughts as engines homeward bore,
Conscience clean and on to dining-thoughts as engines homeward bore.
Never thinking "Nevermore."

I remained, the truth's last censor, doomed by this old truth-dispenser,
Flung by phantom limbs to wrap my arms around the gaping gore.
Retch. I cried, "Our God has bent me, sent his angels down to rend me,
Praise him, praise him, and repent, the end has come for me, Dior!
Laugh, O, laughter ends, repent, the end has come for me, Dior!"
Quoth the craven, "Nevermore."

"Off it!" said I, "Sing of evil! Profits, swill, and pain medieval!
By the law that rules us blind and by the flag we both adore,
By the one with soul unwanted, by the one who fate has taunted,
Tell this room you saw the murder, tell who stole away Dior!
A wry and wise defense attorney whose office door had read 'Dior.'
Quoth the craven, "Nevermore."

"Be that your word of parting, man or beast," I wailed upstarting,
"Get you back into the street, into the gutter's rotting score,
Bleed no black blood as token of the fact your mouth has spoken,
Leave my sanity unbroken! Leave the space under this door!
Take your reek from out my mind, and take your form from off this floor!"
Quoth the craven, "Nevermore."

And the vision of the craven never quitting, still is sitting
On the minds of those who sat farthest from the courtroom door.
And his memory's all the scheming of a devil who is beaming,
And his memory hides the fact that dying on this courthouse floor
The history of my wife's murder, that died upon this courthouse floor,
Shall be known - nevermore.
Anyone who's been following me a spell should know by now I'm a big fan of parody. If you're new and you liked 'The Craven' you should probably check out my 16-Bit Haiku series.

Weird Al has made weekly appearances on my playlists since I was a wee one. I just admire the way simply using a template established by one person can become something ever more complicated and rich in meaning just by changing a few words around.

Ironically, I think my parody of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" detracts from rich meaning. I've certainly taken out the universal nature of that protagonist's suffering, his existential worry, and his longing to know from death what its terms are, and replaced them with a fairly straight-forward, specific story of a prosecutor trying in vain to extract testimony from a dying witness.

I considered trying to keep the story of the events universal in nature, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

I first wrote The Craven when I was around thirteen or fourteen, which is either thirteen or fourteen years ago now. Many of the passages were either lifted straight from Poe's text (because I couldn't think of other rhymes), or were entirely imaginary, because I wanted to make up my own rhymes. in the updated version you've just read, I've kept in as few of my own rhymes as possible, opting for words rhyming with the words in Poe's piece. I tended toward borrowing straight from The Raven more as I got into the last few stanzas. If you compare my piece with Poe's you'll notice a heavy dose of internal rhyme, and rhyme with words that don't rhyme within the poem itself. In other words, where he said 'bird' I said 'word' even though neither bird nor word go on to rhyme with other things.

This morning, despite a painful head cold, I recorded a reading of The Craven, which I'll make available at one of my music sites:

[link]

The sound quality will improve greatly if you download the piece.
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2013-08-21
The Craven: A Parody of Poe by ~sandzen A highly entertaining parody of the Raven ( Suggested by vespera and Featured by BeccaJS )
:iconshelleypalmer:
shelleypalmer Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I do like this and the clever wording.  Brilliant really and even more brilliant that you wrote this so young. You must have been way beyond your years! And funnily enough I often think of 'The Raven' as I just love the atmosphere it conjures up. 
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014   General Artist
I've always felt out of time, out of place. My girlfriend calls me the leprechaun, because everyone sees me as something unusual, different. 

Yeah, The Raven is just one of those poems, one that lodged in the public, collective consciousness, despite being the longest of the most famous poems, besides the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, or the Rape of the Lock.  It also somewhat perfectly summarized the era of which it was a product. The love of all things gothic and spooky. What Poe maybe really scored with was how, in the end, he has no answer to the metaphysical imploring, and the raven, while imbued with a supernatural quality by the narrator and the writing, isn't special at all, except in the way that it knows this word, or what the narrator hears as a word. And there's no way of knowing if it isn't all just the narrator's madness producing this scene, and isn't that what supernatural fear is all about? The fear of the unknown? The fear that our unprovable beliefs may simply be the result of madness? 

Poe himself used to read the poem out loud at the drop of a hat, probably because the atmosphere is so evocative, so transportative. 

Anyway, thanks for the comment. 
Reply
:icongryffgirl:
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014
As someone who works in the legal profession and who is also huge Poe fan, I commend you for this very witty parody! :clap:
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014   General Artist
Awesome! Thank you. It's amazing to know, as someone who's never stepped foot in a courtroom, that pop culture and literature hasn't left me entirely high and dry, accuracy-wise. Thanks for reading.
Reply
:iconladykaia:
LadyKaia Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013
I loved that:happybounce: 
Reply
:icondaisydearest:
daisydearest Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013
Oh gods, this was absolutely brilliant, and your recording of it is awesome!  I LOVED it!  You did an amazing job with writing it and remastering it into something new and original.
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013   General Artist
Thank you, thank you. It was worth the effort, eh?
Reply
:icondaisydearest:
daisydearest Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013
I would certainly hope you would feel that it is.... I sure do!  ^_^
Reply
:iconmadameshadowenn:
madameshadowenn Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hi there! I'm Jasmine, a staff blogger from :iconpoeticalcondition:. Just to let you know I've featured your piece in this journal: poeticalcondition.deviantart.c…
It's a round-up of all of our members who have received a DLD or DD over the past 9 days, so please do check it out!
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013   General Artist
What a fine idea! I look forward to perusing.
Reply
:iconmadameshadowenn:
madameshadowenn Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Glad you think so :D I hope you enjoy it :rose:
Reply
:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Student General Artist
Hah, it's brilliant! And quite hilarious.
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013   General Artist
Thanks, that's sweet. Glad you stopped by.
Reply
:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013  Student General Artist
You're welcome! :huggle:
Reply
:iconblackbird-999:
BlackBird-999 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Student
This is funny! A marvelous parody I love Poe, and I dig your version - it's full of humor and surprise while maintaining the same musicality of the original~ :D
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013   General Artist
Yeah, it's certainly a trick to keep the musicality in check. If more poems read like songs I think more people would read them. Hence The Raven's lofty place in the top 500 poems ever published. It's funny to think that people were, once upon a time, deeply frightened by the story of the poem. I don't think a poem like that would be possible today. But a sad, funny poem can still resonate. I think that says a lot about us.

Thanks for your insights.
Reply
:iconisengim:
Isengim Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for this.
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013   General Artist
Thank you for that. ;)
Reply
:icon4hikari:
4hikari Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
Aw, his wife... I did not see that coming. Poor little narrator!:soothe: V2 
Very well written. ^_^
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013   General Artist
Yeah, he definitely needs a pat on the head. Or something. That guy's been through the wringer. 

And thanks.
Reply
:iconsimplysilent:
SimplySilent Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
This is great. :D Congrats on the well deserved DD! :clap:
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
Thanks! Getting to have brilliant artists compliment you all day is basically better than heaven, I've decided...
Reply
:iconsimplysilent:
SimplySilent Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
:huggle: :heart:
Reply
:iconfoxhole7:
foxhole7 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
Masterful writing. Humorous and chilling at the same time.
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
Aw, that's sweet. Scary-funny is a trick to pull off, but I think it's one of the neatest forms. I'm glad you liked it.
Reply
:iconrokulie:
rokulie Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   Traditional Artist
This is fantastic! I'm trying to memorize The Raven. I've only got the first few stanzas down, but I remember enough to be able to appreciate how hilariously similar this is! 
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
It's an easy one to memorize, eh? Unfortunately, now when I try to recite it for people I get it mixed up with my own. Guess I brought that on myself...and thanks.
Reply
:iconhokova:
Hokova Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
No words to express how this is. :D
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
That's awesome. Thanks.
Reply
:iconhokova:
Hokova Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
You're welcome. It's one of the best.
Reply
:iconchaosfive-55:
Chaosfive-55 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

:rofl:  Good one!  I, too, was warped by Weird Al (and Poe) at a young age...here's my take on "The Raven"--please let me know what you think:

 

chaosfive55.deviantart.com/art…

Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013   General Artist
Interesting! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. I would recommend going in and changing as many lines that are still close or exactly as in the original, to make it totally you're own. But other than that, I'm impressed. Nicely done.
Reply
:iconchaosfive-55:
Chaosfive-55 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! :D
Reply
:icongrannyogg:
GrannyOgg Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
OMG! Have to fave it and read later 
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
Oh you must! You must! ;)
Reply
:icontodd-thefox:
Todd-TheFox Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
not often have i seen poetry on this site. its quite epic ;)
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
There should be a poem DD about once a day or two. They're usually darn readable. I do recommend it. And thanks for the kind words.
Reply
:iconmyathewolfeh:
Myathewolfeh Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Student Digital Artist
A lot of work went into this. Awesome job. :iconlove:
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
True say. I wish all my noteworthy ones didn't take such a colossal effort, but I guess that's the nature of it, eh? Thanks a lot. 
Reply
:iconlostgryphin:
LostGryphin Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Amazing! Congrats on the DD~
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
Thanks so much. I appreciate it.
Reply
:iconmruki:
mruki Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Such a wonderful striking parody- especially when followed with the recording! Though it is a parody it feels like it's own, like the only things that carried over are the form and the suffering (though a quite different suffering). The last stanza especially drove home the feelings of the protagonist, very powerful :clap:
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
Yeah, there's a reason so many movies end with courtroom shouting matches. They're just good fun. Thanks for reading/listening. 
Reply
:icondeath-tribble:
death-tribble Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
Saw this as the daily deviation. Very good.
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
Thanks a bunch! And for the tidal wave of faves. Cheers.
Reply
:iconschneefuechsin:
Schneefuechsin Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:iconcongratsddplz:
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
Thanks a lot. That means a lot coming from the greatest detective who ever lived. Besides L. 
Reply
:iconawdev:
AWdeV Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
Classy as balls. I now have a sore throat from reading out loud.
Reply
:iconsandzen:
sandzen Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013   General Artist
That's why I recorded it, I guess. So I can avoid a similar fate. ;)
Reply
:iconrlkirkland:
rlkirkland Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer

Ah gosh, a sweet parody!

Congratulations on your DD feature. :sun:

Reply
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