“O southly withering,
To whence the birds of oily plumage turn’st,
Thy whiffs and ugly snufflings lend to my nose,
A sense of utter hopelessness,
And mud…”

Thus did the poet Seevely Jawbeck describe his hatchplace and home of nearly forty cycles, in the famous 'Ode to Hoofan'.

Ode to Hoofan was Seevely’s shortest verse at a mere four thousand pages (double-sided, single-spaced). It was an instant bestseller. Twelve and a half copies leapt off the shelf in only the first ten cycles, which is still a record for a work of such dense poetry (apart from the sex-sational bestseller ‘Loose Cannons’ by Anon-Anon).

The last thirty verses of 'The Ode' deal in considerable detail with the textures of a certain pair of slippers Seevely always worked in and dubbed his “most dearest and beloved compani-yons.”


Seevely Jawbeck’s first eight books were dedicated to his left slipper alone (or ‘Yulian’, as it was more familiarly known to him). This last work, however, which sapped the final remaining pearsons of strength from Jawbeck’s already wasted and overly-wrinkled figure, was inscribed – tellingly – ‘To Yeric’, his right slipper. It was an overt snub to ‘Yulian’, who had remained loyal to Seevely throughout his career. Seevely and ‘Yeric’ had a far more complex, layered relationship, with many emotional highs and lows. Close friend and fellow versifier Harrick Arge, recalls coming in to Seevely’s chalet towards the end of his composition of ‘The Ode’ only to find Jawbeck “laying in to Yeric like there was no tomorrow.” The fact that tomorrow had been cancelled, due to a calendar error, was irrelevant to this story. Nevertheless, Harrick recalls:

“Seevely had Yeric over his knee and was giving him a good slippering with the other slipper, Yulian. It was quite horrible. I retched, there on the threshold, but luckily it was only a dry retch and not much came up. Seevely looked up with eyes aflame. It was a curious trick of his, setting light to his eyebrows. He fixed me, there in the doorway, one haggard hand clasping Yulian by the heel. Yeric just stared up at me, clearly in shock. His piping was all unravelled, and I couldn’t help retching again. Luckily it was still a dry one.” It was only days, or possibly months, after this incident, that Harrick saw Seevely for the last time.

The Last Time

The death of poet Seevely Jawbeck is recalled by his friend and colleague Harrick Arge:

“Seevely was pacing about in a pair of new, ankle-high bootettes on his favourite walk – the view overlooking Chen Inlet, towards the lower part of the DoohH Cliffs. I was out collecting Susan Fellas along the same stretch. The bushes were absolutely laden with big juicy ones and I remember I’d been nibbling away on them all morning and was consequently full of wind. When Seevely came level with me, his cape flying about his hunched shoulders, - made the more hunchy because of his epaulettes - and a wry smile playing about his eyes (again, a curious trick he had), I was quite horrified to see that he had cut his hair to look like the nasty stubby end of an old broom, and had crumbs all over his chin. - Biscuits? Pastry? Who knows? I made to greet him but, unfortunately, a huge belch issued from my mouth instead. Seevely looked daggers at me (again, he could always make his eyebrows into a form of blade, with the least visible movement). I tried to hurry after him but my smock got caught on a thorn and tripped me, making me fall, squash my morning’s plunderings, tear my smock in twain, and let out an even louder, deeper belch. Seevely didn’t even turn. I heard a kind of high, mocking laugh, and with a swish of his cape, he was gorn. When I picked myself up and went to the edge of the cliff, I looked down and saw – to my horror – that Yeric was lying at the bottom, utterly dashed on the rocks. His soft upper was wrapped round his rubberised under-soling. I – I made to cry out but belched for a third time, then felt a dry retch rising into my throat. Luckily not much came out.”

Shortly after Yeric’s demise over the DoohH Cliffs, Yulian went missing and was never seen again. In a fit of bleak remorse, Seevely Jawbeck tore up the short, nineteen-hundred-page sonnet he had been sketching out, then burnt it. After which, to make completely sure it was destroyed, he liquidised the ashes, made the pulp back into paper, retore up the new pages and burnt them again. Seevely went out on his daily hunt for Yulian, some days or possibly months, later, and was never seen again. Except by a woman with not very good eyesight. So you could say she only ‘half’ saw him. But he was never ‘fully’ seen again again.
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