Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “The Bad Boy Effect,” the fourth and final installment of The Fairy’s Cave, an epic fantasy narrative poem by Charles A. Swanson. The poem was published as a four-part series on successive Fridays in October. The first installment, “Elf Bolts,” and a biography of the poet were presented on October 5 http://www.songsoferetz.com/2018/10/the-fairys-cave-part-i-elf-bolts-by.html. The second installment, “Purple Polka-Dotted Mushrooms,” was presented on October 12 http://www.songsoferetz.com/2018/10/the-fairys-cave-part-ii-purple-polka.html. The third installment, “Dark Disposition,” was presented on October 19 http://www.songsoferetz.com/2018/10/october-19-fairys-cave-part-iii-dark.html.
The Fairy’s Cave
Charles A. Swanson
Charles A. Swanson
|"Yin and Yang" Ink & Watercolor on Paper|
By J. Artemus Gordon
There they were, boy and girl, she light,
he darkness. That boy could speak no word,
no word at all, that sounded kind.
Claudius knew, for the wee elf practiced
sarcasm, satire, hyperbole, understatement,
double entendre, tongue-in-cheek,
equivocation, white lie, pun, speciousness,
prevarication, duplicity, dissimulation,
double-talk—well, you get the idea.
Claudius knew the facility of language,
also, the wink, the nod, the shoulder shrug,
the look away, the grin, the gesture
to say that the words meant something else.
Brat-boy spoke vituperation, scorn,
disparagement, ridicule, outright insult.
And the more he said, and the blacker
he looked, the more she beamed,
fascinated. All this work, all this work,
all this subtle turning of the screw, all
this to make him detestable, and she loves
him all the more. It was then the fairy knew
he would never understand humans.
Poet’s Notes for “The Bad Boy Effect”: Sometimes a title should announce the poem. We understand the irony of the bad boy effect. We may ask, “Why is the teenage girl attracted to all this hot-air bravado? Why does the wife-beater-wearing boy get the girl?” But we know the phenomenon. We even pray the girl through it, if we can.
For all his facility with language, this fairy with his kingly and supercilious name of Claudius, doesn’t understand human nature. Perhaps, here, the fairy seems the most like we. Though we understand the bad-boy effect, we still shake our heads in disbelief. Who is wise enough to understand such a thing?
Editor’s Note: I hope you enjoyed the serial presentation of The Fairy’s Cave. The comment on the nature of adolescent human romantic love at the end of this epic poem is simply delicious, isn’t it? Poor Claudius! And may God protect our daughters...