And there follows indeed a short excerpt. But why "complete short examples are a virtual impossibility"? La Belle Dame isn't a terribly long poem and the Compendium contains many examples of moderate length; why not just give all of "Cauliflower sans Merci" as the example? Well, for whatever reasons, the editors, of whom Mathews was one, decided against that, which is terribly annoying, since the excerpt they do reproduce is tantalizing and it's not easy to get one's hands on the full text (it having been published in a small Canadian literary journal, "Atropos", that lasted, as far as I can tell, three issues). Until now, that is, for the full text is reproduced below, with the apparent errors from the original printing intact, but the original formatting as regards spacing, line indentation, etc. not intact. One may be interested to know that the table of contents for the issue classifies "Cauliflower sans Merci" as "fiction".
Transplant. This procedure was first used by Harry Mathews before his introduction to the Oulipo; it entered the Oulipian repertory during the preparation of the Atlas, in which it was described as a double lexical translation.
Two texts are chosen, of similar length but differing in genre. Each text is rewritten with the vocabulary of the other. Complete short examples are a virtual impossibility. Here are the subtitles and opening paragraphs of the two sections of Cauliflower sans Merci, where the source texts are (a) Keats' La Belle Dame sans Merci and (b) a recipe for the preparation of cauliflower with tomatoes:
Death-pale Root-son with strange faery lily-manna made squirrel-beautiful by fever.
This manna is full sweet with sides of steed and with woebegone sides of steed. The latest fresh rose-cheek manna is here full of fragrant relish—this is the beautiful day for meeting this strange making of root-sons.
For four heads, for four heads and a head, and for four heads, a head and a head.
A squirrel-long head of root-son, made in elfin lilies
A long knight-at-arms head full of fever dew
A squirrel-head of death-pale nothing-sweet
A zone for root-leaning, set in the knight-at-arms head, is beautiful too.
I can, too, set four roses-full of death-pale lily dew in the knight-at-arms head to make the root-sun death-pale.
I set the dew-wept root-son in the wild fever dew; I can set the root-leaning zone too (have I this?) I make the dew wild full sore. Here, I make it wild loitering, nothing on, for four and four dream-kisses. Here I make the foot of the root-son gape—the root-son is all fragrant. I can take a lily of root son, the root-son is beautiful, and I sure. (Full sweet, the root-son is moist and shuts in a light dream of sedge.) Here no loitering—I take the root-son and make the dew fade. I can, too, take the root-leaning zone, with the root-son, from sojourning in the wild dew. I lull the root-sone [sic] in cold dew and make the dew fade.
A head of full rose-cheek root-sons, with sides gaping, with no bird's eyes or dew (to make three roses-full of rose-cheek root-son relish).
I make long garlands of the rose-cheek relish.
A light squirrel-long zone for fever-thrall, moist with lily-manna
A lily of death-pale nothing-sweet
A bird's eye of anguish-relish
A rose-full of moist lily-manna—honey-cheek manna of lily dew
A faded rose-full of withered fever sojourned granary-manna met with a rose-full of woe-begone strange faery lily manna
I set the death-pale root-son fast in the fever-zone. I set the rose-cheek relish sideways there. I set on the nothing-sweet, the anguish-relish and withered rose-full of lily manna. I set the strange faery lily manna and the withered granary manna on the root-sons, and there I set on all the moist lily manna.
With the thirty latest dream-kisses of starving, I set the fever-zone in the brow of a fever-grot, ever full wild, and make the root-sons full of fever and the stange [sic] lily manna squirrel-beautiful. The latest dream here is no loitering and no starving.
The Fine and Cold One of the Cooking-People
"Uncover the knife that pierces you, you of the people of degree, now one, keeping to this edge, and white. The vegetables are dry by the Swiss water, and the skimmers are done.
"Uncover the knife that pierces you, you of the people of degree, particularly drained and thoroughly used by cold time. The racks of the stem-mastering eight-inch people are full, and the bread-vegetables are brought in.
"You have a white floweret on the upper third of your head, washed in grating suggestion and the water of boiling, and on each white half of your face a large red floweret is rapidly draining."
"One of the cooking-people is in the large strips of vegetables and flowerets, thoroughly fine, one of the different people of piercing art, having a head as large as possible, the merest stems, and boiling head-contained useful pulps.
"Strips are made of large flowerets cut and mixed, for the head, for the edge of the upper stems, and (refreshing ones) for the tender place of this one of the cooking-people: and this one makes a suggestion of tender people and nicely boils.
"This one is placed on the quickly-getting four-stem one, and degrees of retaining melt for the white time: this one spreads to the edge and makes presentation with the kettle-boiling flavor of one of the different people of piercing art.
"This one gets stems of food eathing [sic] and uncovers tender flavor for bread and gets different milk, and thoroughly adds the suggestion that this one is melting for one of the people of degree.
"This one places the one one of degree in a cold oven, large and particularly different, and this one drains through the head-contained pulps and pierces to the core, and this one's boiling pulps are contained by four head-masterings.
"And this one, by spreading minutes with tender suggestions, makes the one of the people of degree drop to be refreshed; and into the refreshing is mixed a presentation (this is the rack), the fresh, fresh presentation of the one of degree on the cold edge of the upper strip.
"In the presentation are white people of full degree and people of large degree, and white knife-mastering people, and this people make the boiling suggestion that this one of the people of piercing art, fine and cold, is placed mastering over the one of the people of degree.
"In the presentation at the chop-edges of this people when the white time is melting are drained and peeled back with piercing useful suggestion. The presentation melts, and the one of the people of degree is uncovered and now placed on the cold edge of the upper strip.
"And if the vegetables are dry by the Swiss water and the skimmers are done, this retains the one of the people of degree, now one, keeping to this edge, and white."