Having enjoyed ‘How to Become Ridiculously Well-Read in One Evening: A Collection of Literary Encapsulations’ edited by E.O. Parrott, in which poets wrote short (and some not so short) poems telling very briefly the stories of books, I decided to try to encapsulate Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel ‘Robinson Crusoe’:
( A ‘soe’ is a tub, of various kinds, and varying to some extent with the Scottish or English locality.)
Encapsulation: Daniel Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’
Against his parents’ wishes Robinson Crusoe
sets sail from home, not in a Scottish slew soe
but an English ship, that pirates from Salé
take over, carting RC faraway
where he becomes the moored slave of a Moor.
Escaping with a boat he’s been befriended
off the western coat of Africa, then’s ended
as an owner of plantations in Brazil.
But where there’s weigh of anchors RC’s will
sets him at sea and soon he’s sailing more
or less in straight lines back to Africa
to catch himself some slaves but not a chica
’cause sex don’t raise its head in Defoe’s prose.
Some sort of anti-slave god I suppose
sends a big storm. RC’s shipwrecked, cast ashore
in 1659, and he’s lost his companions
and the ship is breaking up in frightful canyons
of water and the wait until it sinks
seems very short. It’s fortunate he thinks
to fetch himself and key supplies ashore.
He builds a habitation, reads the Bible,
domesticates some cats ’cause rats are liable
to eat him out of feet and shoes unless
the cats or Bible help. He thinks he’s blessed
for missing naught but humans on this shore.
Some nights RC’s awakened, terrorised
to see arriving cannibals tenderise
their prisoners which they devilishly saté
save one he saves and christens Man Friday.
You know the rest so I relate no more.