October Rotary Dial
Click on the link above to read the October Issue of The Rotary Dial.
I wrote this as a joke and a performance piece. If you wanted to take it seriously I was making a comment about a certain type of traditional folk song which always makes me feel uncomfortable.
In a 'Broken Token Song' a generic young Billy is about to go away to the wars, or off to sea to make his fortune, and before leaving his lovely Nancy-o they break a token; a ring, a coin or something similar so that when Jimmy returns so worn out as to be unrecognisable, he presents his half of the token, it matches Nancy's and they live happily ever after.
There's a subset of these which start with the fair young maid walking in her garden or down by the river, when she meets a stranger who tries to seduce her. She tells the stranger about her long lost love and he keeps trying until she flatly refuses him, at which point the stranger, now convinced of her fidelity, produces the token, reveals he is indeed the long lost lover she is pining for, and they live happily ever after.
I suppose as a trope it dates back to the Odyssey but that doesn't make it likeable.
Anyway, the first time I performed this poem one man in the audience was so disgusted he came up to me afterwards and made his displeasure very clear. It's a weird world.
But if you read it and find the man at the door's attitude and vocabulary appalling: you're supposed to. That's the point.