Sea Fever

I don’t get tired of looking at boats, and of all the boats I like the graceful sailboats the best.  Watching them glide by is a treat, and it reminded me of a nice bit of poetry about the lure of the sea and the “tall ship” boats: 

Sea Fever by John Masefield

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
 
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
 
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Same Old, Same Old (A Poem)

We’ve turned a page on the calendar, and the fact that the act of doing so is a source of excitement tells you something, doesn’t it?  The quarantine life is so unremarkable that it is . . . well, remarkable, and my remarks come in the form of some bad verse.

94a3c0ce44870939ce88c91ee82ff65870-21-bored.rsocial.w1200Same Old, Same Old

I bet I’ve said “same old, same old”

A million times before

But now, amidst this quarantine 

I’ve never meant it more.

As “endless April” now is done

And May spring lies ahead

Maybe they’ll let me leave my ‘hood

And go someplace new instead.

But while the shutdown lingers

We’ve cooked and kept on cooking

And looked at every TV show

That seems to be worth looking. 

We’ve walked, walked, and walked again,

Until our feet are sore

But since there’s nothing else to do

I guess we’ll walk some more.

We hope that it soon will end

This whole enforced staycation

And going out for a haircut

Will be cause for celebration.

Coronavirus taught me a lesson

I’ll remember now and then

When it’s all over I’ll never say

“Same old, same old” again!

Schiller, The Poet

I walk around Schiller Park every day.  I’ve gazed in appreciation at the heroic statue in the middle of the park, and know that Schiller was a poet who was so admired by the German immigrants who initially settled in the German Village section of Columbus that they chose to erect a statue to him in the park.

But that’s about the extent of my knowledge, regrettably.  And since I think we should always be interested in broadening our horizons and learning a bit more about the places where we live and work, I set out to learn a bit more about Herr Schiller.  And with the aid of Google, it wasn’t difficult.

Friedrich von Schiller, who lived from 1759 to 1805, was a poet, playwright and philosopher who was a major figure in the European Romantic movement.  He was immensely popular during his life and has been described by a biographer as a “pop star of his time.”  He was passionate, apparently personally unkempt, and had a tumultuous love life that saw him fall in love with two sisters.

But here’s the most impressive thing I learned about Schiller:  he actually inspired Ludwig von Beethoven.  One of Schiller’s most famous poems was Ode to Joy, which Beethoven set to music, in modified form, in the final, chorale movement of his Ninth Symphony.  That’s a pretty impressive testament.  No wonder our predecessor German Village residents erected a statue to this guy!

You can read the entire, translated Ode to Joy here.  Here’s the first verse:

Joy! A spark of fire from heaven,
Daughter from Elysium,
Drunk with fire we dare to enter,
Holy One, inside your shrine.
Your magic power binds together,
What we by custom wrench apart,
All men will emerge as brothers,
Where you rest your gentle wings.

Handwashing 101

This week small posters providing CDC guidance on techniques to combat the spread of the coronavirus have been popping up everywhere, including on the door to the men’s bathroom on my floor at the firm.  One of the topics addressed by the poster is the need to wash your hands for 20 seconds.  Looking at it moved me to compose some bad verse:

Handwashing 101

I learned it as a tiny tot, and it was kind of fun

But this week I’ve been enrolled in Handwashing 101.

I always wash up, for sure, but now from what I gather

The CDC says it’s quite key to work up a good lather.

Twenty seconds sure is long, much longer than my plans,

It’s tough indeed for those of us with short attention spans.

I rub away, in water warm, and feel my mind wander

“Is this how Pontius Pilate felt?” is one thing that I ponder.

The water’s getting hotter still, like flames from a lit torch

But if it helps to stop the spread, my fingers I will scorch.

At the end of my countdown, with digits squeaky clean

I feel that I have done my part to stop COVID-19.

My hands have been boiled red, redder than the setting sun

It’s how you get a passing grade in Handwashing 101.

 

Another Crease In The Head

The other day I was brushing my teeth when I noticed that yet another wrinkle had appeared on my forehead. Because there’s not much else to be done about it, I decided that writing bad verse was the only reasonable response to this monstrous act of facial cellular betrayal:

Another Crease In The Head

Alas! Will wonders never cease?

Today I found another crease.

A crease! A seam! A furrow deep!

Arrived while I was well asleep.

Behold!  A visage, once unmarred,

Is by another wrinkle scarred.

And a forehead that ere was proud,

Appears to have been freshly plowed.

What caused my skins cells to decide

To carve a groove into my hide?

Are age and toil just brought to bear,

Or is this the price for poor skin care?

So welcome, crease! Join the collection!

And taunt me in the mirror’s reflection.

And yet, I’m grateful to my skin

For not adding another chin.

Last Piece Of Pie Lament

It was a fine Thanksgiving holiday, marked by good food, good company, and another glorious win over That Team Up North.  But as the weekend drew to a close, one last piece of culinary temptation remained, to remind me of one of my weaknesses:  I’m helpless in the presence of pumpkin pie.

Last Piece Of Pie Lament

O get thee gone, last piece of pie!

I can’t resist you and I don’t know why!

I’ve gobbled taters, stuffing and turkey

So much the details seem quite murky.

Yet still with you temptation remains

And once more my willpower strains.

Is it the spice, or the moistened crust

That reduces my resolve to dust?

Or the sweet memory of pies gone by

That causes the impulse I can’t deny?

Whate’er it is, I know I’ll succumb

And have to finish every crumb.

You’ve won again, and your crusty ilk

So now I’ll eat you with a glass of milk. 

 

Ode To An Early Morning Flight

Richard said he liked my occasional verse on the blog. Every wannabe writer likes a compliment now and then, and it’s been a while since I’ve composed some doggerel, anyway. So below is my ode to an early morning flight.

Ode To An Early Morning Flight

Whene’er I fly there’s a choice for me

Do I fly at 6 or half past 3?

The pros all say the morn is right

To avoid delay and cancelled flight.

From that viewpoint, a.m. is best —

But what about my lack of rest?

If I book a flight that heads out early

I know my sleep will be all squirrelly.

I’ll worry that I’m oversleeping

And miss the plane and end up weeping.

I’ll toss and turn, and slumber poor

And wake up when the clock strikes four.

But later flights I must beware

For fear of storms around O’Hare,

That leaves the schedule all akimbo

And put me in a traveler’s limbo.

There’s no good answer, sad to say

So I’m at the gate to start the day.

Much Ado ‘Bout Betty Boo

Russell’s dog Betty has been staying with us for a few weeks while Russell gets some work done on his builling.  Betty — who is known to Kish and me as Betty Boop or, in abbreviated form, Betty Boo — is making herself at home, as dogs always do, and there couldn’t be more of a contrast between the youthful Betty and the aging Kasey, who likes nothing so much as good morning, afternoon, and evening naps.  Betty is pretty much the exact opposite, and the difference between the two moved me to write some bad verse:

Much Ado ‘Bout Betty Boo

Damp tennis balls found in the halls,

A tattered sock and battered shoe.

These all, we know, are telltale signs

of Betty, Betty Boo.

Kasey wants to sleep so deep.

But things to rip, or tear, or chew

Are the very favorite things

Of Betty, Betty Boo.

She’s still a pup, and not grown up

With more energy than me or you;

A whirlwind of devilish play

Is Betty, Betty Boo.

It’s time to walk, no time to talk,

Then we’ll play fetch anew.

But she’ll never tire, no matter what

Will Betty, Betty Boo. 

 

Fire And Ice

It’s been so cold for such a long spell lately that it’s got me thinking about cold and heat — and which is worse to endure for long periods.

fire_and_ice_by_3amireh-300x253

Extreme heat is bad for a lot of reasons.  It saps your energy, you’re a sweaty mess for most of the day, and — for me, at least — it’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep in a hot room.  And, when a heat wave hits, you read stories about heat stroke and even death for people left in rooms without air conditioning.  Extreme cold is bad for a lot of reasons, too.  It’s uncomfortable and wearing to constantly feel chilled and shivery, bundling up produces hat head and static electricity shocks, and the cold, dry air leaves your skin feeling desiccated and cracked.  And extreme cold can produce frostbite and death, as well as sad news stories about unfortunate dogs being found frozen solid on porches in Toledo.

Right now, in the midst of an arctic blast that has kept temperatures in the single digits and teens for more than a week, I’m sure I would gladly trade brutal cold for heat — and come the next August hot spell, I’m equally certain I would happily swap terrible heat for cold.  But I think Robert Frost had it right in one of his early poems:  both heat and cold have their own distinctive destructive powers.

Fire and Ice, by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

‘Twas The Day After Christmas

It’s the day after Christmas — which for some beleaguered people in the package delivery business is probably about as important as Christmas itself.  This year online retailing once again set a record, which means the package delivery guys have been busting their behinds for weeks and probably are still hustling to deal with the last-minute orders.  As I reflected on the plight of these uniformed soldiers of the modern economy, the poetic muse once more took hold:

The Day After Christmas
abc_ntl_fedex_121210_wg

‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the land

Fed Ex and UPS remained fully manned

They’ve set a record for deliveries this year

But the last-minute orders have yet to appear

Oh, Amazon!  Oh, Apple!  Oh, Pajamagram!

Your specials and discounts created a jam

The packages and boxes were stacked to the ceiling

The onslaught of orders left deliverers reeling

And because so many waited ’til the last minute

The Christmas Crush?  They’re still in it!

The delivery guys are trying their best

But it’ll take time before they can give it a rest

So if your order hasn’t yet come to your door

Don’t take it out on the delivery corps!

And by the way, I’ll be doing whatever is necessary to avoid going within a one-mile radius of any shopping mall today.

First Snow Of The Season

We got our first snowfall last night.  Its appearance moved me to compose this bit of doggerel about snow, and its impact on some of my fellow Ohioans:

The First Snow Of The Season

It’s bright outside and what’s the reason?

We’ve had our first snow of the season

We’ve seen a flake or two before

But today we got a whole lot more

So now the ground is oh so white

And the gelid air has a special bite

The cold and snow make a special code

Telling snowbirds they should hit the road

Farewell for now, my thin-blooded friends

We’ll meet again when winter ends!