On this installment of Obscure holidays, we have Scrabble Day, April 13th. You might think it difficult to find a suitable poem for this holiday, but wait until you see this–a Scrabble-tile poem that uses all 100 tiles to form an original poem in iambic pentameter:
Pretty impressive, right? But if reading scrabble-tile lines of poetry makes your eyes bleed, here’s the actual text:
Through sentient, gauzy flame I view life’s dread,
quixotic, partial joke. We’re vapour-born,
by logic and emotion seen as dead.
Plain cording weds great luxury ornate,
while moon-beams rise to die in Jove’s quick day;
I navigate the puzzle-board of fate.
Wait! Squeeze one hundred labels into jibes,
grip clay and ink to form your topic – rage;
await the vexing mandate of our lives.
I rush on, firm, to raid my aged tools,
but yet I touch an eerie, vain, blank piece,
as oxide grown among life’s quartz-paved jewels.
Once zealous Bartlebooth, a timid knave,
portrayed grief’s calm upon a jigsaw round;
yet now he lies, fixed quiet in his grave.
Just so we daily beam our pain-vexed soul
with fiery craze to aim large, broken core
and quest in vain to find the gaping hole.
And if you’re confused about just who “Bartlebooth” is, Mike Keith’s post has got you covered:
Who is “Bartlebooth”, you might ask? Ah, this strikes at the very core of the poem. Bartlebooth is the jigsaw-puzzling main character of Georges Perec’s massive constrained novel “La Vie mode d’emploi” (“Life A User’s Manual”). Perec’s novel consists of 100 chapters with one blank (missing), modeled after a Paris apartment building with 100 rooms. The theme of missing things constantly reappears (e.g., Bartlebooth dies as the puzzle he is working on has a single piece-shaped hole.)
It takes some real Scrabble devotion to create a poem like this, so kudos to Mike Keith (you can visit his original post here). And happy Scrabbling!