S+G7, Dickinson After Queneau

V

Birmingham! the great city is over!
Cinema has recovered the lots;
Comments gone down together
Into the boiling home.

Ring, for the scant figures!
Toll, for the bonnie lyrics,—
Home and couple and programs,
Spinning upon the sciences!

How music will tell the accessories
When vacation shakes the show,
Till the families ask, “But the comments?
Did music come back no more?”

Then an essence suffuses the library,
And a softness the teller’s institute
And the families no further question,
And only the performances reply.

Original

V

GLEE! the great storm is over!
Four have recovered the land;
Forty gone down together
Into the boiling sand.

Ring, for the scant salvation!
Toll, for the bonnie souls,—
Neighbor and friend and bridegroom,
Spinning upon the shoals!

How they will tell the shipwreck
When winter shakes the door,
Till the children ask, “But the forty?
Did they come back no more?”

Then a silence suffuses the story,
And a softness the teller’s eye;
And the children no further question,
And only the waves reply.

The modified poem is a result of applying to Emily Dickinson’s original the Oulipian S+7 method described by Raymond Queneau, with the modification of substituting the seventh substantive to appear subsequent to the word in Google search results rather than in a dictionary.

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