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'The Okapi and the Ghost-Frog'~ By Sunalie Ratnayake Salem-News.com
Poetry review of historic children's tale.
(LOS ANGELES) - (I)
The “Okapi” and the “Ghost-frog” took to the sky,
In a striking ‘salmon-pink’ balloon-ship,
They took some feathers, to shield from cold weathers,
Neatly placed in a ‘portmanteau’.
The Okapi looked up to the heavens above,
And sang, playing a bronze ‘glockenspiel’,
“O lovely ‘Froggie’ ! O ‘Froggie’ my love,
What a beautiful ‘Froggie’ you are,
What a beautiful Froggie you are !”
Whilst pouring cava from a carafe,
Froggie said ; “My ‘elegant giraffe’;
How enthrallingly sweet you sing !,
O let us be wedded ! Too long we have treaded ;
But where shall we make it our ‘aisle’?”
They flew away, for a month and four days,
To the realm where the ‘Corpse-Flower’ grows,
Inside the flower’s ‘sheathing’, stood a ‘Gnome’ gaily chortling,
The blossom’s ‘inflorescence’, three metres or more;
A ‘spathe’ apt for an ‘aisle’ for sure,
A ‘spathe’ apt for an ‘aisle’ for sure.
“Dear Gnome, are you willing,
to sell for rupiahs ten, no more, you kidding,
this ‘sheathing’?” ~ Said the gnome, I will.
Thrilled, they grasped it away ;
Unfolded and married the next day,
By the ‘Angora’, disguising his face.
They dined on green leaves, and luscious arthropods,
Making love on a “Satinycious Davenport”;
And hand-in-hand, on the crest of the hill,
They swayed to the whistle of the ‘cockatiel’,
They swayed to the whistle of the cockatiel.
Authour’s Note :
“THE OKAPI AND THE GHOST-FROG” saw daylight, as an inspiration from Edward Lear’s ever famous ‘Nonsense Poem’ initially published in 1871 ; “THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT”. Lear wrote the poem for a three-year-old girl named Janet Symonds - the daughter of Lear's friend and Poet ; John Addington Symonds, and his wife Catherine Symonds.
In Edward Lear’s, “The Owl and the Pussy-cat”, there were four evident creatures involved in the tale ; the OWL, the PUSSY-CAT, the PIG and the TURKEY, as it unfolds the story of the love between the title characters (the Owl and the Pussy-cat), who enters wedlock in the “Land where the Bong-tree grows". Moreover, the term “RUNCIBLE SPOON” was coined for the poem.
In this poem; “The Okapi and the Ghost-frog”, (inspired by Lear’s renowned elegy), the OKAPI, the GHOST-FROG, the GNOME, the ANGORA RABBIT and the COCKATIEL, a total of five characters gather during numerous moments, in forming and unfolding the tale of the love between the title characters (the ‘Okapi’ and the ‘Ghost-frog’).
The Okapi and the Ghost-frog fly away to the skies in a “Balloon-Ship” of the salmon-pink shade. They make sure to pack in a “portmanteau” (which is a large trunk or suitcase opening into two equal parts) some ‘feathers’ to wrap around themselves to keep them warm, in case if the weather may turn cold, where they may chill in the freezing skies above.
The Okapi serenades his lover, the Ghost-frog, while gazing at the heavenly sky from the balloon-ship, and strumming on the percussion instrument known as the “Glockenspiel”. He describes her as ‘beautiful’.
The Ghost-frog responds by describing the Okapi as her "elegant giraffe" (the Okapi belongs to, and is the only other member of the Giraffe family), and compliments him on his singing. She urges they marry, but they do not have an “aisle” to walk down, which is customarily a distinctive occurrence in a marriage.
They continue to fly away, for a month and four days, to the land where the ‘Corpse Flower’ grow, and discover a “Gnome” (a legendary dwarfish creature supposed to guard the earth's treasures underground) living inside the Corpse Flower, merrily laughing, jumping up and down on the flower’s “inflorescence” (a cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch), in this case, which is “Three Metres” or more in length, when unfolded, as the Corpse Flower is an enormous flower.
The duo decides that this “spathe” (the leaf-like bract that encloses a flower cluster) is ideal (when unfolded) to be utilized as their “aisle” for the wedding. Therefore, they buy it from the Gnome, cutting a deal for a total of “Ten Rupiahs” (the currency utilized in Indonesia, the land famous for the Corpse Flower). And, the next day, the duo marries by the “Angora Rabbit”, the attesting witness of the marriage. (Angora Rabbits are a breed of domestic rabbits, of which the long and fluffy fur covers it’s entire face, hence the verse ; “By the ‘Angora’, disguising his face”).
They dine on leaves, and arthropods (usually the Okapi eats leaves and buds from trees, while the Ghost-frog eats insects, snails and other arthropods). Then the newly married couple dances hand-in-hand on top of a hill, to the whistle of the Cockatiel (a member of the parrot family famous for its advanced and powerful whistling and singing ability). This is the last character involved in the poem.
Furthermore, such as the term RUNCIBLE SPOON was coined for Edgar Lear’s poem ; “The Owl and the Pussy-cat” ; the term “SATINYCIOUS DAVENPORT” was coined for Ratnayake’s poem ; “The Okapi and the Ghost-frog”.
‘Satinycious Davenport’ carries the concealed meaning of a shining davenport (a large upholstered sofa, typically able to be converted into a bed) that is made out of satin, with added softness and fluffiness for extra comfort to make the magic moment of the newly-weds even more magical and memorable.
Publisher’s Note :
SUNALIE RATNAYAKE is a SRI LANKAN Journalist based in USA.
Though her yearning and adoration for “poetry” from her tender years have kept her occupied in writing her own “poetry” almost all her life, as means of pure pleasure, thus far, she has seldom shared her “sonnets” with the public.
She could be reached at :
Special thanks to Sri Lanka Guardian
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