Beware the deadly bathroom ninja!
They come in through the drains at night,
And lie in wait to kill or injure
Concealed in garb of gleaming white;
The sleepy midnight bathroom-goer
(As drowsy as a sloth, and slower)
Will never spot the plug’s ajar,
Nor dodge the outflung throwing-star;
Then, as the victim lies there dying,
The ninja slides like soap away
Before the breaking of the day,
All laws of God and land defying:
All murder is a sin, ’tis true;
But in the bathroom? Shame on you!
How then to stop the tiled assassins,
If locks and bolts will not suffice?
All doors and windows safely fastened,
And still they slither through the vice!
How may we safely use the toilet,
With ninjas waiting to despoil it?
O, what solution can there be?
– Do not despair, but list to me!
Disrupt their path and block their entry:
Fill all your plugholes up with goo,
And make your floorboards creaky, too;
With such precautions elementary
Your bathroom may be squalid, yes,
But safe from ninjas nonetheless.
I’m really liking the Onegin stanza. (I’ve already written one poem in it this month, and there may be more.) It’s well suited to the kind of rhyming shenanigans I tend to indulge in in any case, and the short-for-English tetrameter lines give it plenty of snap and wriggle. It shares with the Shakespearean sonnet the final couplet that is so good for one-liners (well, two-liners) and the ability to be split naturally into sense units along various lines: couplets/distichs,* quatrains and a couplet, a six and an eight, et cetera.
God only knows what Pushkin, who by all accounts created moments with this stanza to thrill the soul and pierce the heart, would have thought of my puerile crap about ninjas. It demonstrates the stanza’s versatility, at the very least.
*A distich is a unit of two consecutive lines of poetry, from the Greek – di, two, stichos, line. Distichs are not always but often also couplets, a couplet being two lines of verse which rhyme with one another.