Posted tagged ‘Constanza based on Portia poem’

The Koala Tea of Mercy

March 21, 2015
First Koala

First Koala (And Really Only One I’ve Ever Drawn!)

The Koala Tea of Mercy

The koala tea of Mercy is not strained,
(for though they sport two thumbs upon their paws,
sieves don’t suit those marsupials.)

It droppeth as the gentle rain,
(that rarely falls on Sidney’s convents
or Brisbane’s–for there, what’s heaven-sent

often hails upon the place beneath–
scaring the koalas to the top
of their eucalyptus, which doesn’t stop

the mightiest of the mightiest–
that is, a South Pacific deluge–
but the brain of a koala is not huge,

their thrones perhaps as complex as their crowns.)
At least, the tea’s a salvation
despite its slightly twigged sensation.

No, the koala tea of Mercy is not strained;
yet twice-blesses those who drink its brew:
her who takes, who gives–that me, that you–

************************************

This poem is based upon a joke made by my husband, Jason Martin, a few years ago–a long shaggy dog story that had to do with the Sisters of Mercy, Australia, who (in the joke) supervised the making of koala tea, which, was not strained (due to the inherent disconnect between koalas and tea.)  Honestly, it was a very funny joke, although, at the time, I could only focus on the fact that Australia isn’t a famous tea producer.   Process note–koalas do have two opposable digits on each front paw, and I believe three others, and extremely small brains for their size.  The Sisters of Mercy have convents in Sydney, Brisbane and Papua New Guinea. 

I wrote this for Margaret Bednar’s “Play it Again” prompt on With Real Toads, referring to an archived prompt by Kerry O’Connor to write a Constanza, which is a form SUPPOSED to have just five stanzas, the first lines of which form their own poem.  (The first lines are also supposed to rhyme.)  Too much for me.  (Process note–I still have the flu!  Forgive any delirium!)

Here is the original Shakespeare, Portia’s wonderful speech extolling the virtues of mercy in The Merchant of Venice:

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I.