A goat is eating a hothouse flower
Instead of attending to the weeding;
Browsing in ignorance, I devour
Wrong senses, poisonous while reading.
Pernicious beasts masquerading as tame
In look-alikes will prove intolerable
When someone eats the raisins of cholera
Or throws down his bubonic dame.
A small divergence out of control
Makes inadvertence one’s mortal enemy —
Fate masticates and swallows one’s soul?
Fatti maschii, parole femine,
The fat boy chews, and holy criminy!
The gangster’s girlfriend is out on parole.
NOTES for Students of English
Raisins of cholera – A mistranslation of the French Les Raisins de la colère – The Grapes of Wrath, a novel by John Steinbeck (1902-1968).
Bubonic Dame – A mistranslation of the Russian bubnóvaya dama (the Queen of Diamonds), mistaking bubnóvaya (the diamond suit in cards) for bubónnaya (bubonic) and dama (the Queen in cards) for “dame.”
Fatti maschii, parole femine – Archaic Italian for “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words,” or “Strong Deeds, Gentle Words” as the motto of the State of Maryland.
Criminy – (pronounced KRIME-en-ee or KRIM-en-ee, the first syllable rhymes either with “prime” or “prim”) An exclamation of annoyance or surprise, possibly derived from “Christi Domini.”