The Grackle

An Affectionate Parody of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

by Will T. Laughlin

Once upon a midnight boring, as I sat, alone and poring
     Over many a quaint and curious volume of electric bills,
Suddenly there came a thumping, as of someone gently bumping,
     Or a pair of hamsters humping underneath my window sills;

Scant attention was I paying, as my thoughts were gently straying,
     And the stereo was playing Greatest Hits of Ish Kabibble --
All at once, a vast, unpleasant Grackle, black and irridescent,
     Flew in through my chamber window like a wayward dirigible:
          Quoth the Grackle: "Wibble, wibble!"

All unmoving, all uncaring, long it sat and watched me, staring
     'Til I lost all sense of bearing and my lips began to dribble.
Then that grim and grisly Grackle looked at me and gave a cackle,
     And his coarse and croaking crackle made my very giblets gibble:
          Quoth the Grackle: "Wibble, wibble!"

I was taken quite aback, although I knew 'twas but a Grackle;
     In the face of one so black, alas! my face turned white as chalk,
For though I am not religious, still I felt it was prodigious,
     And I cried out to this creature that had learnt somehow to talk:

"Tell me, tell me, cryptic Sibyl, what you mean by 'wibble, wibble';
     Could it be some ancient shibboleth, for centuries unheard?
Are these words that you have spoken to be taken to betoken
     Something else? Or are you jokin'? Are they meaningless? Absurd?"
          "Wibble, wibble!" quoth the Bird.

Then I thought, "A swift attack'll shortly rid me of this Grackle,"
     And I cast about to find myself a poker or a broom.
But the bird, as though denying me the chance of even trying,
     Took to fluttering and flying 'round and 'round about the room:

With a burst of laughter ribald, once again he "wibble, wibble"-ed,
     As he settled for a moment on a pallid bust of Trakl.
Then the Grackle dropped an oily purple dropping on the doily,
     And he set himself to pecking at a random bit of spackle:
          "Wibble, wibble!" quoth the Grackle.

It would take a block and tackle now to rid me of this Grackle,
     For the evil-hearted jackal isn't lonely anymore:
Now his every kin and sibling comes to join him in his wibbling,
     And their nightly noise is nibbling at my spirit's very core.

I am welded to this Grackle with a strong and sturdy shackle;
     By his beak am I impaled, as was Mercutio by Tybalt.
Since I cannot last these pains out, I must blow my silly brains out,
     And I'm going to pull the trigger when this final verse is scribble't,
          'Ere the final "Wibble"'s wibble't!

© 1990, 1995, Will Thomas Laughlin

NOTE: This parody has appeared in several places around the Internet, with and without my knowledge. This version may be considered the Urtext. It's the version which evolved from live performances over the years (to get the full effect, you really have to read it out loud); in the unlikely event that I make further changes to it, those changes will be represented here, so that this source will always be the definitive version.

This is Open Source Humor, covered by the Limited GPL (General Parody License): if you wish to link to or reproduce this page & its contents, you may... with the following restrictions: you must give me credit, whether as Will Laughlin, Tom Laughlin, W.T. Laughlin, or whatever combination you feel comfortable with. Don't claim it as your own, or I'll clobber you. Do not publish, print or distribute large numbers of hard-copy versions of this verse without asking me. And if you reprint, redistribute or perform this verse publicly, I must insist that you not charge money for it. Thanks!

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