Alice’s Euro Dream (Draft 1)

Alice’s Euro Dream (Draft 1)

Alice’s Euro Dream
     by “Alice”

Impressed in my dreams
pressing matters,
stamens of red saffron
pressings of oil and olive trees,
a message from Archemedes
who indeed, though hard to see,
ran from Marathon to Brussels
and popped out of a cake.

He was chewing mast gum
from the island of Chios
made a wise crack proposal:

“Let us escape a faux pas, and have
no hurry to Massacre Euro decline
twilight glow of the drachma, so

let my people build in your billing benign
an olive-oil pipeline, many gods willing.”

With steel pipe and pumps pleasing
progressing through Greece well, just

shooting along Albania new
under sea to the Boot, but
then the dispute:

Italy wanted an expanded pipe
made of tubular pasta renewable
to carry cannoli and a tomato paste —
a steel pipeline through Italy
just would not do.

They built it all the way
to Brussels Belgium
with much at stake, but

before it could be turned on
nearly everyone along the way
ate it.

— Douglas Gilbert

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8 thoughts on “Alice’s Euro Dream (Draft 1)

  1. I learn a lot when i read your poems. I look one thing up and that leads to another and another, before long i’ve gotten completely off the original subject and feel like i’ve researched a paper or something. I started out looking for mast gum, then i read a lot about the island of Chios and it’s history. i’m so ready for a vacation. Looking at those images of the blue waters…ahhh. If only i had a passport and a bunch of extra money I’d hop on the next plane.
    mmm olive oil and pasta, I’ve never had cannoli, but it looks delicious (yep, i looked that up too). i suppose everyone is hungry with the recession and financial crisis and that’s why they ate the tubular pasta before it could even be turned on? Alice’s Euro dream confused me a little bit at the end, i hate feeling like i don’t understand completely – sometimes simple things i should get right away, go right over my head.

    1. Well I guess I made it a little too vague. From what I’ve heard, in Europe they want to provide the people with all the social services they need. In boom times it works OK because the government has enough money to provide that. In poorer countries they don’t produce enough goods that they can sell around the world at competitive prices to make enough money for their governments to provide services using the money they get from taxing the producers. They haven’t produced enough for years but have been doing OK by borrowing more and more money(bonds and bailouts and other stuff). Greece, Spain, Italy have been borrowing money on the theory that when they recover in the future and make and sell lots of stuff that other countries want, they will earn enough to pay back the loans. So I wondered, what products does Greece have that are unique that they could sell. It is true that it is necessary to borrow for things that are not directly related in order to have a future: you need to build roads in order to be able to transport goods etc. So heavy borrowing now for future production can be OK. But the future is here and some of these countries are not producing anything at a good price. I was thinking about the Practical and the Impractical. Oil is still needed to run everything while the alternate fuels are not yet practical. So I was thinking of oil pipelines. So as a joke I thought about an OLIVE oil pipeline. And a pipeline for tomato sauce. I thought about making a pipe out of pasta instead of steel. So they make a pipeline out of pasta and everyone eats it. The European Union headquarters is in Brussels…or at least I thought it was — maybe I should look it up.
          OK, maybe now that I explained a little about what I was thinking, you can tell me what confused you about the ending so maybe I can revise the poem a little.

      1. I guess i wasn’t as confused as i thought i was. I don’t think you really need to revise anything to make it clearer, i think it was just me. Now that you’ve explained it if feel kinda silly for asking about it and for thinking i was confused. That’s exactly what i understood from the poem but i was convinced that there was some related, specific, big event i didn’t know about or something and that there was probably news articles that were on the front page of every news website that i just happened to miss. I guess i just thought i didn’t understand something and that something i had missed would be a big “aha, i see!” type thing. It was probably all the researching things i didn’t know about- it made me think that there was something else that i didn’t quite grasp. Thank you for your explanation though, it’s much easier now to just read and enjoy than thinking i’m missing something while i’m reading. Whew! Trying to explain my confusion is confusing… (giggle)

    2. Well, I guess you have good instincts because I alluded to some big events but I don’t deal with them specifically in the poem. If Greece has to leave the Euro zone and default on their loans going back to their own currency the Drachma it could be a catastrophe and the Greek people are very mad about the austerity measures imposed on them. So in terms of outside forces causing a catastrophe for them I alluded to Chios because there was the “Massacre of Chios (1822)”. This situation is not quite that bad. But anyway, you were right to have a feeling about it. I found it looking at products and the tree resin and how it was important back then.
          Back in ancient times when I went to school, they spent about ten seconds on European history in school so the whole thing was very confusing. But it was kind of odd because they did America History totally separate so when they discussed what was going on in America in the 1820’s, I don’t think they mentioned at all what was happening simultaneously in the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere. The world was more horrible then I remembered or never heard or whatever. Things seem worse today because of the news and better weapons I guess. Everything is magnified. Hmm, by doing everything separately in different years of school they gave us a very distorted view of the world. Yikes, while the cowboys were shooting buffalo what were they doing on the island of Chios. Maybe history is too complicated for young kids to learn — I sure remember nothing.

  2. I read about the Massacre of Chios, it sounded absolutely horrible! I’m glad it’s not that bad there now. I’m really wondering what the mast gum tastes like – it keeps popping into my head at odd times like when i’m helping a customer at work or cleaning up dinner dishes or taking a shower. I don’t remember learning much of anything about European history from history class. i do remember studying American history. I’m pretty sure i remember doing Social studies for half of the school year and then switching to science the other half of the school year. Doing everything separately does give a distorted view…gosh it’s bugging me that i can’t remember anything about European history and what i do remember from American history is a little broken or patchy.
    Yeah i suppose everything IS magnified and also put on the news so we hear about every thing that goes on. Almost like an information overload sometimes. i’m so tired, i keep yawning…i better go to bed.

    1. I think I clarified a little without ruining it.For some reason I wanted the ” i ” sound in “decline” but that made the “Massacre Euro” make no sense but I think I fixed it with a hyphen that makes the combo an adjective for “decline”. I changed progressing to progress so I’d have a sentence instead of a fragment — that was bothering me but I was afraid to change it and screw up everything else but I think it’s OK :

      Impressed in my dreams
      pressing matters,
      stamens of red saffron
      pressings of oil and olive trees,
      a message from Archemedes
      who indeed, though hard to see,
      ran from Marathon to Brussels
      and popped out of a cake.

      He was chewing mast gum
      from the island of Chios
      made a wise crack proposal:

      “Let us escape a faux pas, and have
      no hurry to [MassacreEuro] decline
      twilight glow of the drachma, so

      let my people build in your billing benign
      an olive-oil pipeline, many gods willing.”

      With steel pipe and pumps pleasing
      it progressed through Greece well, just

      shooting along Albania new
      under sea to the Boot, but
      then the dispute:

      Italy wanted an expanded pipe
      made of tubular pasta renewable
      to carry cannoli and a tomato paste —
      a steel pipeline through Italy
      just would not do.

      They built a pipeline
      made of fried pasta,
      all the way to
      Brussels Belgium with
      much at stake, but

      before it could be turned on
      nearly everyone along the way
      ate it.

      1. I think it sounds great, i seriously doubt that you’ve ever ruined a poem. I like the ‘i’ sound in ‘decline’ and ‘twilight’ close to one another like that. I like the ‘progressed’ better than ‘progressing’ i think it made it a clearer image for some reason. I like the ‘fried pasta’ addition too. hmm fried pasta? I’ve never had that before. But i bet it’s good, most anything fried is…i took my kiddo to a festival and they had fried oreo cookies! yum…they were oddly delicious!

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