Monday, August 31, 2009

Dept. of Filk: The Literary Mack the Knife

This morning while running some errands I was listing to our local Public Radio station and it played a suite of Kurt Weil tunes from his Threepenny Opera. That inspired me to go back in my files and dig up a li’l piece of filk I wrote several years ago. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me present…

The Literary Mack the Knife

Oh the shark has
Pretty teeth, Dear;
And he shows those
Pearly whites;
You won’t find him
Read a book, Dear,
But you might see
Mack the Knife.

When the shark bites
With his teeth, Dear,
Scarlet billows
‘Gin to spread.
Mack is very
You might say that
He’s well-read

Once upon a
Midnight dreary,
Weak and weary
Pondered I;
Is that tapping
Just a raven,
Or is Mackie
Stopping by?

It was brillig
Slythy toves did
Gyre and gimbal
In the wabe;
Vorpal Mack went
Snicker-snack, Dear;
Jabberwock lay
There outgabe.

Mistress Em’ly
Belle of Amherst
Once sat writing
Over tea;
“Since I could not
Stop for Death, Dear,
Mack he kindly
Stopped for me.”

By the shores of
Gitche Gumee
Used to go;
Now Nokomis
Sits there weeping;
Mackie say it
Isn’t so!

Captain Ahab,
That fanatic,
Sought to kill a
Monster whale;
But who really
Sank the Pequod?
Mack says “Call me

Once an Old Man
Caught a “Beeg Feesh”
As he struggled
‘Gainst the Sea;
When the Sharks bit
With their teeth, Dear,
Mack said “Leave a
Bite for me!”

Rev’rend Dimmsdale,
Sinning Hester,
Ol’ Judge Pyncheon,
Sweet Goodman Brown;
Mister Hawthorne
Set them up, Dear,
It was Mack who
Knocked ‘em down.

Our great authors
Wrote us stories
Full of sorrow
Pain and strife;
Don’t go napping
While in Lit class,
Or you might miss
Mack the Knife!


smurfthumper said...

I like it. If you have any designs on expanding it, I would recommend having Mack read some World Lit--in honor of the Threepeeny Opera/Dreigroschenoper being set in London and written by a German. The majority of those references are to American lit (save the reference to "Jabberwocky").

kurt wilcken said...

That was deliberate. I set out to see how many early American poets I could work into the song. I had a reason at the time I wrote it which I no longer remember. I then added novelists because I'm a "Dick-Head" and couldn't leave out Moby-Dick.

"The Old Man and the Sea" was a late addition to the song, because hey, that's a work that actually has sharks in it!

And yes, "Jabberwocky" is the odd man out, but it worked so well in the verse that I had to include it.

Anonymous said...

This is pure genius!