Lost Level sonnets

Some sonnets I wrote about the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros 2, also known as Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels.


O bonky block!  Thou harrier unseen
Of runners through the Mushroom Kingdom's lands
Who, striking thee, plunge into a ravine
Or fail to flee yon roving Koopa bands.
Thou takest helper's form, and more's the bite
Of indignation at the acrid thought--
This particle of quintessential spite
Foresaw my jumps so well that I was caught!
Thou insult add by issuing thy -ching-,
Ironic harbinger of piddly wealth;
Worse still should poison'd mushroom from thee spring
And mock the very notion of good health.
'Tis no great thing for enemies to kill;
That coin blocks should commends Shigeru's skill.


Ah springboard!  Gateway to the upper skies
Beyond the ken of our sidescrolling screen.
In prior days, thou had a single guise;
Now classic red is augmented by green.
And how like brothers, these divergent kinds!
The red straightforward, serious and strong
The green absurd and tall, its goofy blinds
Obscuring us for full five seconds long.
If we would land upon some narrow shelf
We have no way to judge our strikedown spot,
Bar for the shifting of the screen itself
Whose vagaries are challenging to plot.
We always wished our jumps would clear more air;
Thou giv'st us this, and mak'st it feel unfair.


We labor with a modicum of faith
That if, at least, we soldier to the right
We'll reach the flag; but as the white glove playeth
It may transpire that time repeats its blight:
Drear landmarks rear again, as in a dream
Familiar sights appearing in its limn;
And caught in hist'ry's oft-repeating stream,
We flail, and wonder which way lies the brim.
Beginning hews to end, all progress spilt:
Descendeth we by pipe?  Which fork is best?
Could Starman thwart our rebound by the hilt
Denying us the beanstalk, and our rest?
This world acts as our cradle; but a youth
Must grasp all paths to glean adulthood's truth.


Where hammer brothers wait not in repose
But charge intemperately, fists ablaze
Where fruitful pipe to water region goes
Then cruelly spews us back to bygone days;
Where progress spoils before yon giant wall,
And only hidden beanstalk breaks the loop;
Where clouds are floors, and more's the chance to fall
Or splatter 'neath this hammer-wielding troupe;
Where fire chains beneath the water turn
And pipe is tucked 'neath crafty promontory
Where one must sprint along hot magma's churn
And halls whose length adds tension to the story;
There, strident music, doubly final boss'd
Bespeaks the eighth world of the levels lost.