Welcome, ladies and gents, to the easiest post I’ll ever have to write.
While the response of the general public has been underwhelming to say the least (i.e.: nobody entered), I did manage to con two members of my immediate family into coming up with the goods.
Handily, in avoiding accusations of nepotism, I can avoid giving them any prizes, but I’m putting up their (very fine) efforts here to make the rest of you green with envy. I think I’ll keep the competition going on a monthly basis, just to see if anyone else bites.
So: read the basics about what a shrinklit is, write one, and email it to me at the address you’ll find in my about section, being sure to include a postal address.
First, the Shrinklit of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, by Allan Adair:
Cleopatra, feeling sexy,
Sought her man by water-taxi.
He, a hero (a trifle lonely),
Answered to her call of “Oh, Big Tony!”
So Antony, nightly lost in her smile,
Wandered the upper reaches of the Nile,
And turned his back (now slightly scratched)
Upon all things Roman for this love unmatched.
“Let Rome”, he cried, “In Tiber melt.
I much prefer what I’ve just felt!”
So thus abjuring Rome and fame,
He languished in the arms of his Gypsy dame.
Meanwhile, hard by the Tiber (in Latin a flavius),
Brooded that spotty adolescent Octavius.
A skinny youth, to petulance given,
By acne rent, and late-puberty riven.
By nature a thinker, a manipulator –
Fresh out of the fridge, a cold calculator –
On hearing of Antony’s sudden defection,
Pretended concern, and planned insurrection.
For at this time, say BC thirty-eight,
Rome was ruled by a Triumvirate:
Antony, and Octavius, and Jove bless us! –
The third the decrepit old Marcus Lepidus.
How sound was this ménage à trois?
Stable as Cummings, say you? Well, not moi!
For Octavius was in his passions sour,
Heartless, sterile, seeking power.
“Antony and Lepidus gone? Then, ergo:
Imperator Romae am ae, solo!”
Thus Octavius planned his cunning plan
(‘Cause he always was a family man):
“I’ll suck in Antony, that military blister,
To woo and marry Octavia my sister.
Then Woe! Imagine if she be cast away?
Then Vae! For I’ll be her wrongéd brother!
One down! And as for Lepidus, silly fool,
I’ll now foretell this future rule:
That when you’re old, you’re not cashiered –
You’re just retired, and negatively geared.”
So Antony came, and Antony saw; did Antony conquer?
Cleopatra rages: “Did he really bonker?”
Probably not. But the Messenger copped
(As they do) the wrath of her wropt
“Now war I’ve planned, and war I’ll havé
And all the world will say: Caesar, Avé.”
And so it went: in the Battle of Actium (fought at sea)
Cleopatra’s ships fled, and so did she.
“Oh why do you call me a cowardly slut?
For the sea breeze made chaos of my page-boy cut;
And the sailor’s diet, my Darling, my Deah,
Produced the most stupendous diahorrea.”
They parted in rage – she knew things were bad,
And fled to the Monument with all that she had.
Antony is dying– thought Cleopatra’d gone before –
But he fumbled his exit with his own claymore.
When next she sees him, he’s bleeding below
So she hoists him up, her bosom his pillów.
“Here’s sport indeed! How heavy weighs my lord.”
But he could no more, and died, adored.
Antony was a sort of red-necked bloke
His final bed a sexy joke;
But would that you and I could find
Such love as that when we’re consigned.
Next enters the Roman Dolabella
Tells the truth, like a really nice fellah:
“Was Antony real? I have to know.
Did Octavius say that I could go?”
“Gentle madam, no and no.
As is foretold in song and ballad,
You’ll be but a morsel in Caesar’s salad.”
‘Twas then she finally determin’d
Never to trust those Roman vermin(‘d).
Now came the time to end all aches
So she ordered up those Freudian snakes.
Exposes a breast! A voyeur’s pause!
Finds peace at last, and our applause.
Thus Cleopatra followed her husband home
And left us, orphaned, in the cold of Rome:
And that’s the moral of this tragic ditty
Their love’s no more, and more’s the pity.
And of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, by Anya Adair:
Sweet Lizzie’s in a Georgian fix:
Too few bachelors in the sticks!
And those who come to manors let
Think sister Jane’s the better bet.
There is a ball – what else? – and there
Our girls meet with a handsome pair,
Bingley charms wheree’er he goes
But Darcy’s pride gets up your nose.
Mamma sends Jane through rotten weather
To get her hands on Bingley’s Nether
Field Park; but Darc’ (and others too)
All think that Jane’s too poor to woo.
What to do when men have pride?
Liz vows she’ll not be Darcy’s bride
Nor marry money, toady vicars,
Or Wickham, who wants in her knickers.
Eliza’s pal is much less picky
(Marriage after twenty’s tricky)
She takes the parson Liz rejected:
He may be yuk, but he’s connected.
Liz visits her to say adieu,
It turns out Darcy’s up there too
(If you really must know why
It seems his aunty lives nearby).
He proposes – knew he would!
But cannot do it as he should:
Her feelings here are pretty brittle:
“The surname’s Bennet, not Dolittle!”
Time passes, and regrets appear
(His letter sounded so sincere).
A northern tour will give her space,
Unless she goes to Darcy’s place…
They meet; he shows how much he’s missed her
By rescuing her younger sister.
A man so changed that for her sake
He’d prob’ly dive into a lake.
Liz lets her prejudices go
And loves him back. (Though you should know
She only felt so sweet and tenderly
After she saw his place at Pemberly.)
Bingley pops the question too,
And Jane and Lizzy say ‘I do.’
He takes her home, we say goodbye,
Ten million women heave a sigh.