Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Moral Poem

As the year 2015 wrapped up, I was able to read through my entire collection of DC Vertigo's The Sandman series written by Neil Gaiman.

I came across this post from the very funny satirical website Mark Reads and remembered a poem that I read in Brief Lives, a story arc of the series wherein Dream walked the waking world with his sister Delirium in search of their "prodigal" brother, Destruction.

This poem was written by Destruction when he was living on a small Greek island, and he read it aloud to his pet dog named Barnabas. Afterwards, wise-ass Barnabas commented that this supposed literary masterpiece was "Doggerel...rubbishy doggerel."

Of course, who better to recognize doggerel than a dog itself?

Destruction, Barnabas and Doggerel

The basilisk and cockatrice are wizard-legend beasts who are fabled to be capable of killing with just a look at the victim. Basically, their stares petrify or, simply put, "freeze" the unfortunate receiver sans the ice (think Sub-Zero of Mortal Kombat fame).

Both beasts are hatched from the egg of a cock. However, some describe the basilisk to be more lizard-like, while the cockatrice has the form of a serpent. The basilisk figured prominently in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Basilisk and Cockatrice
A Moral Poem

I dreamed I saw a basilisk
That basked upon a rocky shore
I looked upon the basilisk
With eyes of stone I looked no more.

I dreamed I saw a cockatrice
A-chewing on a piece of bone
I gazed upon the cockatrice
One cannot gaze with eyes of stone.

To look upon a basilisk
Is really never worth the risk
To gaze upon a cockatrice
Is permanent and never nice.
For it can never be denied
Life isn't pleasant, petrified.

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