Mantis: A Fable
#1
A prose-poem I composed titled, Mantis: A Fable

The harshest discipline will never alter
The fundamental nature of an evil person.  Consider:
The earliest mantis started life as a mortal.
A hypocritical prophet and fortune teller,
He was not fulfilled with courting one female at a time,
Consistently directing covetous eyes on the “weaker” sex,
Leaping on their backs and violating them,
Pleading to his victims time after time to forgive him.
His lust enraged Jupiter so much that He remodeled him into
The bug we now know as the praying mantis.
However, even though his figure was modified,
His nature stayed the same.
Even today he skulks back-and-forth on the bough
Molesting unsuspecting females,
Pleading to his victims time after time to forgive him.
Jupiter’s sentence, which the female executes,
Will compel the mantis to furnish his head as a feast—
A most sacred form of castration,
Decapitation during copulation;
But even with the clairvoyance of such a fate,
The mantis remains steadfast in his ways…


Adam DH Torkelson
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#2
.Hi Adam
enjoyed the read. You might consider trimming it, and reexamining some of your linguistic choices
(pleading with and clairvoyance, being the most obvious), then there's the ending Smile


The harshest discipline will never alter
The fundamental nature of an evil person.
Consider how the mantis was once a mortal
man, hypocritical prophet and fortune teller.
How he was not fulfilled with courting..........................I wonder if 'courtship' might not be a better word?
one woman at a time, but consistently
cast his covetous eyes to the 'weaker' sex.......................anything better than 'weaker sex'?
Leaping on their backs and violating them,....................where did this 'leaping and violating' take place?
Then, remorseful, begging their forgiveness...............And how is this 'courting'?
His lust enraged Jupiter so did the God remake............Feels like you skipped a line or two here.
him, a divine metamorphosis which changed him......how does he come to Jupiter's attention?
into the bug we know today, the praying mantis.
His nature stayed the same...............................................Isn't this the same as your concluding line?

I find it a little confusing from this point on.
Is the general thrust something like

And yet, despite that divine condemnation
to knowingly suffer decapitation during copulation,
a most sacred form of castration, still the mantis
has not changed his ways
?


Not sure about the ending at all. Basically, in the end nothing changed doesn't seem like much of a satisfactory conclusion.


Best, Knot



.
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#3
Thank you so much for the feedback! Yes, I will have to make those edits as you suggest. I am very slow so it will take awhile. Yes, I was worried about "weaker". It is from the POV of the evil person/rapist and not the writer which is why I used "scare quotes" but I think it is still confusing and offensive. Perhaps opposite sex might work better there.
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#4
.
Hi Adam,
no need to rush.
I think using scare quotes is part of the problem, they show a lack of conviction about the character and introduce a second POV where you don't need it. That said, you might be better served with 'everyone'?
Regarding the ending: I think you need to include the possibility of/for change, even if mantis doesn't actually change. Might he not be sentenced to having his head bitten off each time until (in the eyes of the female mantis?) his regret is sincere, and his courtship is less of an assault and more ... courtly?



Best, Knot



.
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#5
Mantis: A Fable (edit 2)

The harshest discipline will never alter
the fundamental nature of an evil person.
Consider how the mantis was once a mortal
man, hypocritical prophet and fortune teller.
How he was not fulfilled with courtship,
but consistently cast his covetous eyes on everyone
then begs for forgiveness when he feels remorse.
His victims prayed to the god Jupiter who became so enraged
the god remade him--a divine metamorphosis which changed him
into the bug we know today, the praying mantis.
And yet, despite that divine condemnation
knowingly to suffer decapitation during copulation,
still the mantis has not changed his ways

I won't submit this anywhere since you rewrote so much of it. I like it much better now. I learned a lot. I wanted to keep the end and not have the character change as I wanted to make the philosophical point that our demons never really go away and it is human nature (at least mine) to give in to certain vices even though we know they are bad for us and even though there are consequences we are going to suffer (but we give in to the temptations anyway).
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#6
.

Hi Adam,
I think edit 2 is an improvement, but there might still be more you could do.

You've the opportunity for rhyme, should you so wish,

The harshest discipline will not alter
an evil person, their base nature
Consider how the mantis, once a mortal
man, prophet, whited sepulchre
a fortune teller unfulfilled
with courtship cast his covetous eyes
,,,

And with the rest, you could cut some of the redundancies, (you've 'divine' twice, and three variations on altered - remade, metamorphosis and changed)

but consistently cast his covetous eyes on everyone
then begs for forgiveness when he feels remorse.
His victims prayed to the god Jupiter who became so enraged
the god remade him--a divine metamorphosis which changed him
into the bug we know today, the praying mantis.
And yet, despite that divine condemnation
knowingly to suffer decapitation during copulation,
knowing this still the mantis has not changed his ways

Why should it only be the nature of an evil person that discipline cannot change?

Submit it or not. Your piece, your choice. But it's a very nice idea. Be a shame to waste it.


Best, Knot


.
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#7
Mantis: A Fable (edit 3)
 
The harshest discipline will not alter
an evil person, their base nature
Consider how the mantis, once a mortal
man, prophet, whited sepulchre
a fortune teller unfulfilled
with courtship cast his covetous eyes
then begs for forgiveness
His victims prayed to the god who enraged
remade Him--a divine metamorphosis
into the bug we know today, the praying mantis.
And, despite divine condemnation
to suffer decapitation during copulation,
knowing this the mantis has not changed his ways



Well as long as you don't mind I guess I could see if I could find this a home somewhere.  I like it very much.  Thanks for all the rewrites.  I had the ending in mind when I conceived the piece and had written the last line first so I will have to sit on it awhile before changing the ending.  I was really adamant about the character arc being this way.
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