Search This Blog

Sunday, January 05, 2014

The Christmas Carol, Pre-Restoration Poets משׁ-משׁ

 The Twelve Days of Christmas Schematic

First, I write "mish-mosh" as משׁ-משׁ
That is my yiddish, my homage to Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Springer, and if someone does not like it, too bad. I never said I was a learned man. I can't even remember the name for the hyphen between words in Hebrew. Mappiq comes to mind, but I think that's a dot that doubles a consonant.

Mish-Mosh is "mixed up" or "mixed together", maybe an anagram, maybe a Mad-Libs of unrelated sentences and words.
It can be a soup or stew into which a cook throws everything but the kitchen sink.
It could also be pronounced "mosh-mish", and is a good example of its own meaning, sort of a self-referential expression.

For example, thus far, this post is a mish-mosh, and nobody knows what I am talking about.

Reading the Signs ( sent a comment along about Christmastide and mentioned the 12 drummers drumming of the carol "The Twelve Days Of Christmas".

This immediately reminded me of a year when Christmastide seemed a little too hum-drum and boring. Things were beginning to drag. I called myself Ishmael... quite a few times, mumbling at the bathroom mirror as I brushed my teeth, leading She-who-must-be-obeyed to begin to get references for neurologists.

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off—then, I account it high time that the nephews should be arriving upon me doorstep.

At last my three nephews, Ayden, Austin, and Aloysius (pronounced a-LOY-shus for all you who are not Sons of Hibernia) blew into town on the wings of Borealis (the north wind) and over tea we discussed not the Christmas goose, but ways to "goose" the Christmas feast... as it were.

My Three Nephews

Later over other beverages we decided to take the plunge into the dark arts of combining Christmas carols and the poetry of the Pre-Restoration English poets.
It soon morphed into the inclusion of all English poets; no point in restricting it.
I started with sort of a Mad-Libs scenario: a poem of Byron wherein I would excise portions and ask about for a line from Ginsberg or Bukowski... or even Donald Gaines.... or Danielle Steele, not even restricting it to poetry.

Then it underwent a change, and we generated things like
"And therefore never send to know for whom the 12 drummers drum;
they drum for thee."
and this went on for the entire set of verses,
"And therefore never send to know for whom the 10 lords leap;
they leap for thee."
"And therefore never send to know for whom the 8 maids milk;
they milk for thee."
all the way down to,
"And therefore never send to know for whom the partridge perches;
it perches for thee."

Since we happily included Post-Restoration poets, we could do things like
Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey;
And merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay!
There are few rules, and you make them up on the fly.
All that is needed is that there must be enough of the poem to allow the glögg befuddled and rum-spiked egg nog inebriated minds of even the densest dancing Fezziwig and Fan to easily place the poetry and carol.

Now I think you will agree that this is a true, blue Christmas miracle, as well as a good משׁ-משׁ


No comments: