Monday, June 15, 2009

Stern Measures


It has been an empty few days here at WhenIwasOneandTwenty.

I tried for several hours this weekend to get back into the spirit of the Pushkin project. Alas, when Alexander Pushkin met my poetic shovekin, and I re-read what I had written, I realized that all I was doing was bullying the English language into oblivion. So, I deleted what I had written, apologized to my dictionary and closed my laptop. Enough said.

I turned to
Stevie Smith for consolation. But even 73 pages of Miss Smith, with all her wonder and whimsy, have not been able to pull me out of this psychological quicksand I seem to have stumbled into. Sterner measures are called for.

Therefore, I have taken
Tristram Shandy down from my shelf here at work. Wistfulness, you have been warned. Ennui, prepare to meet to Eternity. Ye congregated Powers of Depression [a flutter of paper napkins] draw up your several wills and testaments, while mind and body remain yet sound. Uncle Toby hath mounted his horrible Hobby and draws his sword against you!


...

In the meantime, while Uncle Toby and his comical cavalry are busy chasing away the blues, and while I am rinsing beet and horseradish juice from the skin of two Macintosh apples (we seem to have had an incident with a leaky lunch container in our back pack this morning) here is a little piece from a few months ago, when I was feeling friskier, more creative, and more frivolous.


Zeus


While you showered, I put down my book
And yawned. The poet Yeats sat on a chair
Regarding me intensely, with that look
He liked to give farm girls from County Clare,

Parsing their potential, as a lover—
The wayward lock of hair, that muddy shoe—
Eyes darting up and down, like bees, over
A field of Irish clover, crowned with dew.

A dark, demented rain induced the trance
In which I met his scrutiny. Still, I
Was startled when a pair of underpants—
A lightning bolt—descended from the sky,

Landing on the face of Mr. Yeats,
Jolting me out of my reverie.
Clad in a cloud of steam (or was it Grace?)
You adjusted your—artillery.




2 comments:

::: TN ::: said...

Artful levity (and a mildly titillating) when undies are juxtaposed with Yeats. I keep seeing Peter Sellers, perhaps as Chief Insp. Clouseau, enacting this scene to great effect.

Shropshirelad said...

There is a certain amount of Clouseau in me I am afraid--much more Clouseau than Tom Jones-- another man pelted with panties to great effect.