The Love Song of Ghouls Verne by Percival P. Pennywhistle

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The Love Song of Ghouls Verne, formerly of Aarhus, DK
(Decomposed by Ghouls Verne, Esq, and Communicated to Professor Pennywhistle, PhD, Ed, via the medium of a Medium on 14 Feverary 1893, in the Low and Tortured tones of a Heartbroken shade, and a thick Danish accent)

Ten t’ousand leagues under de zea
Dat’s me
Doze ashen flakes you zee

For Yulia could not bear nor loss
Nor cost
And zo my ash she tozzed

Vrom off de rocky Danish reef
Her grief
Azzuagéd by relief

But mine vas not. Zo, pale and gaunt,
I haunt.

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©2012 Percival P. Pennywhistle, PhD/Peas Porridge Press

About the author

Ghouls Verne was burn on the Worst of Dismember, 1783, in a little crematorium outside of Aarhus, Denmark, on the Horsens side. He was revived by his parents, Karl and Grete Verne, twice, and by his new bride, Julia, once, but it didn’t take. Hence the cremation.

Percival P. Pennywhistle, PhD, is a poet and a purveyor of poetry for perspicacious and precocious people of all ages. “The Love Song of Ghouls Verne, formerly of Aarhus, DK” is part of a planned anthology of sickly sweet and darkly ironic poems and prose called Gothic Dreams and Other Things. You will wish to purchase it. You will also wish to sleep light after reading it.

Portrait 1 is a representation of what Ghouls and Julia might have looked like if they had married, lived in the late nineteenth instead of the late seventeenth century, and were named Peder and Severin Krøyer.

Portrait 2 is of Ghouls in happier times, when men whose heads were heavy with sleep or worry had the option of carrying them in the crooks of their fashionably (if somewhat poofily) clothed arms.

WIZ takes on two new marvelous creatures

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As Wilderness Interface Zone approaches its third birthday, it’s growing up a little.   Formalist poet Jonathon Penny has consented to join WIZ’s literary ecotone in the role of contributing editor. Jonathon has a keen eye for the belles-lettres.   Beside being a wonderful poet possessing a unique voice, he took his MA in Renaissance literature at BYU and his PhD in 20th Century British literature from the University of Ottawa. He has taught at universities in the U.S. and Canada, and now lives with his family in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates where he is Assistant Professor of English at UAE University. He has published on Wyndham Lewis and apocalyptic literature and is currently at work on several books of poetry for precocious pipsqueaks under the penname €œProfessor Percival P. Pennywhistle. € Bits and pieces may be found here. In addition to verse published on WIZ, his poetry has appeared at Victorian Violet Press and in Gangway Magazine and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Several of his poems have also been published in the landmark, recently released poetry anthology, Fire in the Pasture, from Peculiar Pages Press.   Welcome, Jonathon!

Also joining WIZ as a contributing writer is Val K., a soon-to-be fifteen-year-old aspiring naturalist and fantasy writer.   She has participated in NaNoWriMo since she was twelve years old and has successfully completed three novels.   She also writes short stories, articles, and story serials.   She lives in a corner of southeastern Utah with her family, her carnivorous plants and her two cats. She has previously published in Moab Poets and Writers’ Desert Voices and also on WIZ.   Besides writing, her hobbies include drawing, biking, weaving, hiking, catching snakes, rescuing helpless creatures from her cats, and beadwork.   She is a voracious reader.   Welcome, Val K.!

Heather McWeather by Percival P. Pennywhistle

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To satisfy any curiosity you might have about the Professor and enjoy more of his artful aperçus sprinkled about on WIZ, go here, here, here, and here.

M is for mollusk by Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle

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I am the very model of a mollusk* made of minerals.
At least my calcareous** shell is, and that shell is typical €”
You’ll find me in the finials
And jewelry made by criminals €”
I am the very model of a mollusk made of minerals!

Our bodies aren’t segmented so no one can tell a part from us
(Excepting snail antennae, octopodal arm*** €”they’re obvious):
We’ve all a mantle, nephrostome,****
We metamorph in monochrome
And if you mean to murder us, just be aware, we’ll make a muss!

It’s true that though we’re spineless,***** this is merely anatomical,
For we’ve defensive strategies both multiple and plentiful:
Our bites and stings aren’t minimal,
We’re poisonous, in general,
Our reputation’s well-deserved: when threatened, we’re maniacal!******

So if you meet a mollusk at the mall, though we look marvelous
Do not make contact (hand or eye), don’t moon about or munch on us
For gastropod or octopus,
With venom or tongue chitinous,*******
We’ll make you wish you’d minded us and leave you feeling bilious!
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*With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, those alphabetical augurers in matters €˜most poetical.

**This particular word should be pronounced €œkal-kuh-rhee-us, € but never in polite company.

*** €œOctopodal € here means €œof the octopus. € It may mean something entirely different somewhere else, like in Finland, for instance. The professor notes that many people think octopi (more than one octopus, not eight different kinds of pie, though pie is delicious) have legs, but this is ridiculous: the Professor has never seen an octopus in pants or leggings, never mind shoes or socks.

****According to Random House, a nephrostome (neff-row-stohm) in zoology is €œthe ciliated opening of a nephridium into the ceolum. € In embryology, it is €œa similar opening into a tubule of the embryonic kidney. € The professor trusts that you now understand perfectly.

*****The scientific term is €œinvertebrate, € which hardly seems applicable to a mollusk that is right side up, but may well describe one that is up side down.

******Of course, it’s silly to ascribe (that is, €˜assign to,’ usually in hushed, gossipy tones when the mollusk isn’t looking or has just left the room) human characteristics like €œmania € to animals. Except to sharks. Well, sharks and tigers. Well, sharks and tigers and snakes. And housecats.

*******This word, €œkitten-us, € does not have anything to do with kittens. Really. Unless, of course, you’re talking about the ill-tempered, scratchy kind of kitten. Then it is appropriate to call the kitten chitinous.

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NOTE: In the accompanying image of a common nudibranch–pronounced “noo-duh-branck” (the ‘c’ is silent)–found in that great German study of the subject of nudibranchia by the famed nubranchist Rudolph Berg (1824-1909), entitled, naturally, Neue Nacktschnecken der Südsee : malacologische Untersuchungen (1873), we see clearly the sinister and duplicitous nature of all mollusks on clear display. This sea slug, rather coquettishly presenting itself as a fuzzy little puppy with short legs waiting for its belly to be scratched, is, in fact, poised to swallow the unsuspecting urchin–the sea or land variety (for mollusks are indifferent eaters)–whole.

For Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle’s bio and more of his work published on WIZ, go here, here, and here.

(Post edited to add illustration and Note on August 18 at 6:01 p.m.)