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Poetry Magnum Opus

Twist of Oliver's Tale (part 1)

Frank E Gibbard

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Frank E Gibbard

The boy who famously asked for more,

A morsel on his plate was all he saw,

The undying character of Oliver Twist

Whose tale of unease is hard to resist.


When Dickens wrote of his little lad

He purposed to make his readers sad;

Part of the genius of his novelist art,

To assail and break the hardest heart.


Primary misfortune, his mother dies,

Bleak future in Parish “care” now lies.

The urchin’s prospects again crumble,

Via the hands of a beadle Mr Bumble.


Off to the workhouse dragged post-haste,

Where to feed the poor was akin to waste.

On drawing lots the unlucky Oliver lost,

He gamely asked for more food but at a cost.


The overseers of this “upstart” wanted rid,

Offering five pounds to any one who bid

To take the greedy rapscallion into work;

Apprenticeship would see he did not shirk.


Almost snapped up by a creepy sweep,

A kind magistrate saw Oliver nearly weep.

He pled not to go with the”dreadful man,”

This led to an undertaker’s door rather than

A likely bout of grim and grimy servitude;

Sowerbee’s wife though had an embittered mood,

And treated Oliver so badly he just had to cry cry and cry,

Knowing that to run for life was the best thing he could try.


Hence off to London Oliver at last makes well away,

The readers can hope for an eventual brighter day;

But deftly Dickens pens his next mise en scène,

We must just read on and see what happens then.


Erelong our waif and much tormented boy

Is inveigled into crooked Fagin’s employ;

Joining his youthful gang of willing thieves

With its caring bond as naif Oliver believes.

Now he's taught the trade of a pocket picker,

The novel's plot unlike gruel gets even thicker.

He is fostered by these merry malcontents,

Quite oblivious of their true criminal intents.


Trustful Oliver turned Fagin’s artless lodger,

Is led astray by the resourceful Artful Dodger.

Another fickle twist of his fate is wrought,

A wallet was nabbed only Oliver is caught.

Then up in court: a vital change of luck,

A gent by the accused’s wan look is struck.


Kindly Mr Brownlow saw innocent Oliver in the dock

Pale and ill falling faint beset by mental shock.

Before the beak Brownlow offers his trust and wardship,

What's proposed is not opposed by a benificent His Worship.


Life in care of his gentleman ensures a better life,

Motherly housekeeper and all and nary any strife.

The young hero’s prospects propitious ever more?

Eponymously as it were what next twist is in store?


Sure enough he soon falls into other nasty hands

Once again to be a pawn in wily Fagin’s evil plans.

Off to fetch some books that took his master’s fancy,

Oliver is grabbed by Bill Sikes and this tart called Nancy.


Back to Fagin with Nancy hauled there by her lover Sikes

Went Oliver under threat again a most unfortunate of tykes;

Purloined is a five pounds note, ripped off, his brand new duds,

He runs away but his escape effort is swiftly nipped in the bud.


Bill Sikes a monster creation is as brutal as brutish thugs come,

Even for a Dickens villain he ascends to the top of scum.

Sikes threatens to punish Oliver and brandishes his stick,

Moll Nancy mollifies her man and snips his ire in the wick.


Unbeaten by Fagin and Sikes only thanks to a street girl’s heart,

Oliver’s size fits a burglary plan, she persuades him to take part;

On squeezing his frame through a window sadly poor Oliver is shot,

That son of swine Bill Sikes makes off, more dark deeds are afoot in this plot.


While Oliver starts to recover in the home that Sikes meant to rob

Fagin begins to doubt his partner's doxy and orders a following job;

The spy sees her talking to Brownlow and delivers his Caesar his dues,

Fagin tells Sikes that she has shopped him he near goes berserk at this news.


Confronting Nancy Sikes will not listen to her swear she did not betray,

Determined that he had been turned in only his madness could hold sway.

He raised and brought down with a deathly thud his stick upon her head,

Over and over this terrible man went on till gentle Nancy was stone dead.


(... to be continued to an ending next ... nearing the end, sigh!) Happy Christmas friends one and all, Frank

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Nice work Frank. The story reworked in a kind of short tale. The using of eye rhyme gives that sound of this work - a tale. I liked to read the novel: " Oliver Twist " by Charles Dickens. I like that you are using the original words used in the book too. I like Oliver's famous request: "Please, sir, I want some more.", what you expressed nicely at the beginning.


I'm glad to read this tale Frank, much enjoyed, nice that you remind me for the book what I read while I was a kid, in which I enjoyed a lot.


Thank you for sharing and yes, happy holidays 390236.gif



The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia



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Frank E Gibbard

Thanks Aleks. Hope everybody enjoyed their festivals or holidays as applicable. Frank

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Ahhh yes, I played mr Bumble, when just a wee lad of 17 in the musical;-) This made me live it all over again, well done Frank!


Happy Holidays to all!


DC icon_lol.gif

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Hello Frank,


How well you narrate this classic Dickens tale. Quite admirable your use of rhymes and also the language and images which are synonymous with Dickens style and theme. Artful Dodger is an excellent example of this.


You bring to life Dickens world of child labour, poverty in Victorian London and life on its street vividly.


Dickens too wrote his now major novels as a serial, so your stopping just short of the climax of the tale seems reminiscent of his style and times.



Enjoyed this very much.







Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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