Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dover Beach Parodies

A Criticism of Life: for Andrews Wanning

So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, 'Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.'
Well now, I knew this girl. It's true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn't judge her by that. What I mean to say is, 
She's really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it's a year
Before I see her again, but there she is, 
Running to fat, but dependable as they come.
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d' Amour.
- See more at:

Dover Beach

by Tom Clark

The sea is calm tonight,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the Straits;--on the French
Toast, the light
Syrup gleams but a moment,
and is gone . . .

(Read the rest here)

Dover Beach
by Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the A gaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


John Burroughs said...

A poem from my Water Works chapbook (2012, Recycled Karma Press) is entitled "Been Dover Beach."

TC said...

I once made the mistake, when attempting to teach this poem to a class room full of retar,.. er, MFA candidates... of asking whether anyone knew the meaning of the word "darkling". The collective response was pretty depressing -- you don't want to know.

An approximate sample (taken from Urban Dictionary, and only a wee bit more intelligent than what might be coaxed out of the mean average MFA-candidate group):


A term used in the movie "The Covenant", to describe imprints of dead people that show up in the middle of the night and scare the crap outta you! (seen in the movie by Caleb and Pogue)

"Dude, this darkling just showed up in my house!"

"A darkling appeared to me in a dream last night."

You are a darkling, if...

• You are more SARCASTIC than you are CHARMING.
• You are a GEEK, but you are COOL.
• You hate STUPID people with a PASSION.
• You may be addicted to CAFFEINE, but you RECYCLE, so that's okay.
• You appreciate brilliant ART, MOVIES, MUSIC and PHOTOGRAPHY.
• You enjoy mentally TITILLATING conversations.
• You are a hopeless ROMANTIC.
• You are DARK.
• You are DARLING

A Xanga blogring.

"Won't you come join the Darklings ring, darling?"

A term often used to name the wicked, ashen-skinned humanoids that are often seen on the cliffs of Ingharia by passing boats and planes. They are seductive in nature (much like succubus) and always seem to feel as if they're staring straight into your heart.

It is said that darklings form from evil acts such as murder or rape, but it is truly been proven that each darkling is a human that was killed in ruthless battle against a warrior with no heart (now called Selym, see definition).

They prefer warm areas, oddly enough.

That darkling sure was scary!

I'm sure that a darkling will come and get you if you're not good tonight, sweetie!

Someone who arouses your dark desires

He's more then gorgeous, He's a darkling -

You drive me wild, my darkling -

The true term for "black" people or commonly known as "africans". Darklings usually hide in dark areas, such as shadows. our shadows are actually Darklings traveling behind us at all times, always hiding from the sun. At nighttime, they all jump into the sky. which is why it always appears darker and often black. as we all know, white people can sometimes, but not often, jump as high as the average darkling can. these people are seen in the sky along with darklings as stars. they got the name "stars" because this term is also used to show somebody who is famous or some sort of celebrity.


The nick name for a fan of a popular rock band called "THE DARKNESS".
Darklings are close followers of the band, not just those who think a song is great and then get bored and ignore them.

"So, you're a fan of The Darkness then?"
"Yeah, that'd make me a Darkling, rock on dude"

A nickname for someone who likes spooky things or seems spooky.

Edward Scissor hands was a lovely darkling

A singlular fan of the almighty, amazing rock band the darkness. Has v good musical taste!

Do you want to be a darkling?

A little annoying girl who never goes outside or has contact with society other than contacting odd people via internet.

Darkling; you annoying little cunt, GET THE FUCK OFF THIS FORUM AND GET A FUCKING LIFE!

Nin Andrews said...

I'd like to see Been Dover Beach, John,

And that is really funny, Tom! Wow. It never even occurred to me to question the meaning of darkling,
or the word, darkle--which I like, which my autocorrect doesn't like. I think that's worth an essay or poem or two or three--

Johnny Cashless said...

Maybe it doesn't have so much to do with Matthew Arnold, Nin, but here it is. :)

Been Dover Beach

[a poem for a moment now already passed
a poem to and about no one but me and maybe Matthew Arnold
a quasi narcissistic masturbation that means nothing beyond what it means]

Grab your ankles let's get
Intimate for a moment
Now already passed
Growing learning gingerly
Earning ego stamps with every poor choice
Raping whirlwinds of
Cliché and catatonia with every self
Righteous reach creeping
Under punctuation
Commaless karma
In and through the bloodbaths of historical
Fiction hysterical faction incisive
Indecision and endless revision while an
X still marks the spot
I try desperately to erase from the fabric
Of this insoluble and/or insolvent sunrise that I'll
Never let stay set even if it means I must bend over with you

and shoot the moon

Nin Andrews said...
This comment has been removed by the author.