I Can't Find Rhymes
[ Issue 44 ]

I Can't Find Rhymes delights Emily Bronto

Bikwil is pleased to present I Can't Find Rhymes

I Can't Find Rhymes

I Can’t Find Rhymes finds Eileen Marshall nervous — everywhere theres danger.  Even doors are worried.  And houses have no say.  And trains, well . . .

[ Print This Issue ]  

[ Help with Printing ]

 Music Player 


I Can't Find Rhymes for My Couplets —
and Other Catastrophes

— Eileen Marshall


Congratulating myself on my decision to leave the mayhem of the big smoke for the tranquillity of a sweet little town in the Hunter Valley, I was meandering along uncrowded thoroughfares, at one with myself and the world, greeted by all the gentle burghers going about their lives with the calm and repose of those who do not know the terrors of a metropolis.

Then I saw it!

I’d wandered into an arcade. On a red door, in bold, black, capital letters, outlined in gold, was:


Immediately I knew I was no longer safe, the terrors of the big city had followed me here.

With “fear and trembling”, I fled into the street.

The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the citizenry were all smiling. God was in His heaven and all was right with the world.

Had I been mistaken?

Eager to prove I was in error, audaciously, I strode up to the door. I had not, alas, misread the notice, the message was still there, for all to see, in its momentous portent. I knew I must heed the warning: if a door is alarmed what terror did this presage for human beings, or for the poor creatures dependent on us?

Fortunately, my heightened sensibilities alerted me before pandemonium swept through the town. When it did, I knew I couldn’t leave without a show of valour. Last time was still fresh in my mind.

I had been living in a sleepy little seaside village, keenly enjoying the sun, sand and serenity. After my post-prandial nap I’d take a daily walk, communing with my inner-self. At last I had found a place to rest my tortured soul and a time for reflection and quiet joy. This was the perfect environment in which to finish writing my great oeuvre: a post post-modern novel in three volumes, in heroic couplets.

I was no longer vigilant, I had become complacent after basking in the sweet apathy of the locals who, in their endearing innocence, kept on suggesting that I “take my finger out and get a proper job”.

One day when I wandered further afield than was my wont I was confronted by a large notice, on which was printed, in huge red capitals, outlined in gold:


Aghast, I tried to work out the logistics. How did they do it? How could they have deposited a whole house, they must have done it section by section, from a helicopter. I could only hope the land had been vacant when they dropped the house on it. Some people have few scruples.

This depositing of houses on people’s properties had threatened my spiritual equilibrium, indeed my very sanity. I fled further into the hinterland to find sanctuary amongst the gentlefolk of the outer rural reaches.

I was at peace to pursue my calling.

Then the confrontation with the door eclipsed all the horrors that had gone before.

The nightmare had started with Sydney trains. They were always running late. I had suggested to the authorities that we authors rewrite the timetable in iambic pentameter. Fecklessly, the “powers that be” ignored me.

The unbearable climax came when one night the trains started to “run out of timetable order” and no one would tell us what order they were supposed to be running in, or why indeed they had decided to run in such an esoteric way, ignoring both the commands of State Rail and the expectations of the commuters.

With our worry beads in full play, the vast crowd of us stood rigid with terror.

Suddenly, an announcement was made by a man who had swallowed his tongue and was trying to retrieve it. “The train to (tongue swallowing) is having difficulties.”

I was shaken. Bad enough that the train had taken upon itself to ignore the timetable, but now it was really acting up.

In hindsight, that was a footling problem. Even the depositing of a house, while a bit cavalier, might have some redeeming features. To live in a town where a door is traumatised with fear, is quite beyond bearing, even if one is not a sensitive artist writing a seminal work.

I called an urgent meeting of the FAW*. It was there I heard about negotiating tables. While it is not common for tables to negotiate, I am neither narrow-minded nor politically correct, so I pleaded with the others, who agreed to a wo(man), to sit down and consult. We were fortunate to find a published writer of life stories adept at post-traumatic stress disorder counselling; she interacted with us in the stream of consciousness mode, where we role played.

Immeasurably relieved by our solidarity, I knew we would overcome. Between us we persuaded the tables to negotiate with the door.

At last, believing that my nightmare was over, I rejoiced that I had left the whole Kafka-Kierkegaard scenario behind until I was confronted by a newsstand with the huge bold black headline:

The Australian Arts Community is being Showcased!!

I am still in hiding from the media and praying that they’ll make do with composers and painters and actors and not put us in showcases!

We writers couldn’t stand up to it.

All these events have taken their toll. I thought I had plumbed the depths, that “worse there is none” (sic), but alas, even greater catastrophes have now overtaken me.

Post post modernism is “out”, post post post modernism is “in”, and I can’t find rhymes for my couplets.

* Fellowship of Australian Writers


The following authors have been quoted in the text

1. Kafka: The Castle, The Trial etc.
2. Kierkegaard: Either-Or, Fear and Trembling etc.
3. Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Terrible Sonnets.

Contents  Read Next Item  Read Previous Item
Top of Page

Home | Visitors' Guide | Random Read | Current Issue | Essays & Poems | Catalogues
Site Search
| Likeable Links | Subscriptions | About Us | FAQ | Testimonials | Site Map