Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Percy B. Shelley's Werewolf Poem

     I dreamed one night that I was sitting with friends in a café, engrossed in a literary discussion when our waitress joined our conversation. She asked me if I had ever read Percy B. Shelley’s werewolf poem. Incredulous that he had ever written one, I confessed my ignorance. She then proceeded to quote it to me like a thespian:

Now I arise and shed earth’s clothing,
Temperous rags all worn and moulding,
Temperous rags all worn and moulding…

     Alas, I awoke before she could finish quoting the poem. Now, as far as I know, Shelley never did write a poem about a werewolf, so I felt free to plagiarize my dream and use the poem in a novel I was writing. It would be a shame to waste a word as fantastic as temperous, don’t you think? It is one of those double entendres that describes both the temporal quality of the flesh and the monstrous rage one would feel in suddenly mutating into a wolfish creature unclothed in hair and dripping with fangs. I know for certain I would feel all temperous.

     I wish I could have gone back to sleep and dreamed the rest of the poem, but the only reoccurring dreams I have are the ones about flying without any wings; taking showers without any soap and shampoo in odd places like coat closets or public fountains; searching my wardrobe for the right outfit to wear for the first day of school and dithering so long I miss the bus; and pulling enormous, never-ending wads of bubblegum out of my mouth.

     The really interesting dreams, the ones I hate to wake up from, sprinkle my subconscious like scraps of unfinished poetry.

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