TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE, THAT IS THE QUESTION*

To see or not to see, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to look past
The slings and arrows of outrageous tweets
And excuse the lies and insults of our imperial Don,
So long as such doth advance our noble cause
And lead us back to the glory of righteous times,
Devoutly to be wish’d. Ay, there’s the rub:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’opressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the unworthy spurns,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus devil-deals doth make cowards of us all
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
Lie paraded, bare and exposed for all but us to see.

*with appreciation, but no apologies, to Shakespeare

 

 

 

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TIME FLIES

It is said that “Time flies when you’re having fun.” As for me, time flies when you can’t believe a certain young woman and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this fall, and next year on June 23, the oldest of our two daughters (Big One and Little One) will celebrate(?) her 50th birthday. How is it possible that one day the young woman and I got married, and the next thing we know, our girls are older than my oldest clothes (though not by much). Time and fun fly when ‘hangers-on’ in the closet look the same as decades ago….but the reflection in the mirror looks like Methuselah’s grandfather. 😦

The moral of the story?

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

Then be not coy, but use your time
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

–Robert Herrick (from his poem TO THE VIRGINS, TO MAKE MUCH OF TIME, 1648)

In other words, take the advice of legendary songwriter Irving Berlin (1888-1989) and….

Oh….I almost forgot: Happy 49th Birthday, Big One!

 

 

ZEE POET OR ZEE COMIC – WHICH EEZ MORE MORONIC?

In my April Fools’ Day post, I noted that April is NATIONAL HUMOR MONTH. As a poet of sorts, wouldn’t it be funny if April also happened to be NATIONAL POETRY MONTH?

Well, as you might guess,
it turns out that, yes,
that is the case….
and this is the place
where poetry and funny
join together as oney
until death do them party
or are doomed from the starty
by comic rigor mortis
or a poet out of sortis.

Oui, mon ami — this is going to be a post which joins zee art of zee poet with zee art of zee comic, and if you don’t like zee combinaison, you can lump eet. What’s more, I’ll do more such posts, zee likes of which will have you begging for merci. So if you know what’s not good for you, you’ll take eet and like eet….or take eet and fake eet. I’m not particular. (I’m also not hungry — I think I eet too much.)

Understand, I’m not one of those poets who doesn’t understand what he has written, but somehow expects zee reader to. Non, mon ami, I understand perfectly what I have written. It’s YOU who I expect hasn’t a clue. Why is that true? I have no clue. And, frankly my dear, I don’t give a fous (pardon my French).

Unfortunately, I see that my allotted time for this post is almost up, so zee funny poems I was going to publish here must wait until next time, for which I apologize. Thank you for your very kind attention….or, as zee Hoosier Hot Shots more etiquettely and poetically put it:

VERSES WITH CURSES

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May the devil write your obituary in weasel’s piss. –old Irish curse

Hold on — how did that get there? Either the devil made me do it, or me computer is up to no good (which wouldn’t be the first time). To be sure, me fine lads and lassies, this post is about curses in verses, but a curse alone does not a poem make. As for that derelict curse above, there are no weasels in Ireland unless you count the sloat (which is often mistaken for a weasel) or the lowly human (which often acts like a weasel, but technically is not).

Be that as it may, I haven’t got all (St. Patrick’s) day, so let’s get on with it. Here is a cultivated selection of VERSES WITH CURSES which, not least among its Hibernian virtues, could serve to show America’s petulant President how to insult his inferiors with a bit more savoir fairy (class, in plain English) than is typical in his limited vocabulary:

THE CURSE by John Millington Synge

Lord, confound this surly sister,
Blight her brow with blotch and blister,
Cramp her larynx, lung, and liver,
In her guts a galling give her.

Let her live to earn her dinners
In Mountjoy with seedy sinners:
Lord, this judgment quickly bring,
And I’m your servant, J. M. Synge.

from THE CURSE OF DONERAILE by Patrick O’Kelly

Alas! how dismal is my tale,
I lost my watch in Doneraile.
My Dublin watch, my chain and seal,
Pilfered at once in Doneraile.
May Fire and Brimstone never fail,
To fall in showers on Doneraile.
May all the leading fiends assail
The thieving town of Doneraile,
As lightnings flash across the vale,
So down to Hell with Doneraile.
The fate of Pompey at Pharsale,
Be that the curse of Doneraile.
May beef, or mutton, lamb or veal
Be never found in Doneraile,
But garlic soup and scurvy kale
Be still the food of Doneraile.
And forward as the creeping snail,
Th’ industry be, of Doneraile.
May ev’ry churn and milking pail
Fall dry to staves in Doneraile.
May cold and hunger still congeal
The stagnant blood of Doneraile.
May ev’ry hour new woes reveal
That Hell reserves for Doneraile.
May ev’ry chosen ill prevail
O’er all the imps of Doneraile.
May not one prayer or wish avail
To sooth the woes of Doneraile.
May the Inquisition straight impale
The rapparees of Doneraile.
May curse of Sodom now prevail
And sink to ashes Doneraile.
May Charon’s Boat triumphant sail
Completely manned from Doneraile.
Oh! may my couplets never fail
To find new curse for Doneraile.
And may grim Pluto’s inner jail
Forever groan with Doneraile.

RIGHTEOUS ANGER by James Stephens

The lanky hank of a she over there
Nearly killed me for asking the loan of a glass of beer:
May the devil grip the whey-faced slut by the hair,
And beat bad manners out of her skin for a year.

That parboiled imp, with the hardest jaw you will see
On virtue’s path, and a voice that would rasp the dead,
Came roaring and raging the minute she looked on me,
And threw me out of the house on the back of my head!

If I asked her master, he’d give me a cask a day;
But she, with the beer at hand, not a gill would arrange!
May she marry a ghost and bear him a kitten, and may
The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange.

THE CURSE OF NOT BEING IRISH by mister O’muse

And so we can see, Donald T.,
What the problem may well be:
In your entire immigrant ancestry,
Of Irish blood, you’re entirely free.

But on St. Patrick’s Day, luckily,
Every man is an Irishman, glory be!
So depart for today from your family tree,
Uproot this curse, branch out, and be free!

From ass act to class act, verily
This very day, you can transformed be….
Therefore, by virtue of the Irish in me,
I dub thee, please God, President Donald O’T.

 

A READER WANTS TO KNOW….

THE ART OF THE REAL

“Would you explain your writing to me?”
“Certainly — I write what I see.”

“So, what you see is what you say?”
“In my mind, I see it that way.”

“But things aren’t always what they seem.”
“In that case, I write what I dream.”

“Pray, how to tell the two apart?”
“Some might say, therein’s the art.”

“Then, that’s the art — to part the two?”
“No, that’s the part that’s up to you.”

“Up to me? But you’re the writer!”
“Truth be told, aren’t you the decider?”

 

WINTERDREAM

A homeless man in his 50s was found frozen to death the morning after Christmas at a downtown bus stop in the city I call home….though it might have been any city on earth where cold weather reigns this time of year.  Local homeless advocates said he was known to them: a drug addict who recently relapsed after staying clean for several months.

The homeless here have no ‘home’ in which to stay (homeless shelters are open only overnight, not all day), but each one has a name, a face, and (no doubt at some point in his or her life) a dream. The frozen man’s name was Ken Martin. His face was invisible. His dream? Perhaps it was something along the lines of this poem I wrote years ago:

WINTERDREAM

Suppose a homeless man came upon
what survived of a tattered old jacket,
abandoned, like himself,
to the elements….
and in that tattered garment,
crumpled up inside a pocket,
a winning lottery ticket
might transform his existence.

But first, that paper future must be
found, and then, having been found,
not tossed like litter to the gutter,
unopened and unexamined.
Let us further suppose
the deadline to claim its prize
was coming at midnight
of that very day.

That night, in winter’s turn,
the man had a dream
that he could live his life
all over again,
knowing in his lost youth
what he knew now
so that all the choices
and hidden chances
of wasted turning points
again lay open before him.

But the thought made him cringe
— regret was a fire
that gave pain without heat.
He awoke in cold sweat
to the taste of snow
on the cracks of his lips,
pulling tight the collar
of today’s good fortune.
What luck to have found
a buffer against fate.