Time Will Not Be Ours Forever

sexy-santa
With Visions of Sugar Plums….

Who Ever Loved That Loved Not at First Sight?

by Christopher Marlowe

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overruled by fate.
When two are stripped, long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should love, the other win;
And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
The reason no man knows; let it suffice
What we behold is censured by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?

 


Welcome to the third and final edition of Survival Tips for Getting Plowed.   A couple of warnings. I am not a licensed sex therapist, nor do I have any experience giving romantic advice, so you’re going to have to accept all responsibility for your own misadventures.  However, poetry and romance have been around since Ovid wrote the first limerick; “There once was a man named McSweeney”  So as one poet to another, here’s a couple of ideas for increasing your odds of romance this holiday season.

  1. Make An Effort.   Let’s face it gentleman, this is not the 60’s anymore, free love went the way of the herpes simplex II epidemic in the 1970’s. If you are going to actually find yourself in a romantic position with your spouse, girl friend or the woman at the gym you have had your eye on since Halloween, you are going to have to do a little maintenance.  Do a five point assessment at Thanksgiving. Do you need a hair cut? Do you need to trim your eyebrows and nose hairs.  Nothing turns off a woman faster than a mustache that starts up your nose.  Rethink that facial hair unless you are under 30 and she finds it cute. How about your teeth? When was the last time you went to the dentist.  Make an appointment.  What’s the state of your wardrobe? Do you have a date night worthy flattering outfit and yes, that includes a new pair of shoes? What is the state of your current cologne?   If the only cologne you own was given to you by your aunt when you were 14, its time to upgrade.  Go pick out something that smells like hubba-hubba. Set aside a Saturday in December and go check off the things on your list.  A good workman doesn’t blame his tools.
  2. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment, plan a date night. Don’t make the mistake thinking that your beautiful partner is going to be in a romantic mood on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day just because Santa is widely rumored to be coming down her chimney. The reality is Christmas is exhausting. Most people have triple duty those days, gifts to buy and wrap, food to prepare, getting the house ready, getting out the door on time to church or the relatives. For couples with children and grand children, from Dec. 23 to Dec 26 is a usually a no sex zone on the calendar.  Its just too busy and over booked to fit in even one more thing.  So, do what all good time managers suggest if you want to be sure to get something done, communicate and get it on the calendar.  I suggest that December 22 be set aside as an official national day of holiday romance. It will put you both into a good mood for the remainder of the holidays and it is far enough away from Christmas that you can take a well needed break from preparations and go have a drink or two, dress up in those duds you bought earlier in the month, put on that cologne and be confident in you’re freshly quaffed stud-li-ness. Make a dinner reservation or even better, take her to the theater, to a show she wants to see. How will your partner not be impressed? Then as the show is about to start, lean over and whisper in her ear, “You look fantastic tonight. I hope you know how much I love you.”  You might might just get laid in the unisex bathroom that locks during intermission.
  3. Take a shot and ask for it.   The great one Wayne Gretsky said, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.  This is true on the ice rink and in bed. All master sales people will tell you the most important thing in closing a deal and making a sale is asking for the business.  So if you can’t remember the last time you had sex and you are still involved with the person you last had it with, plan for it when the two of you have the house to yourself and say, “Would you make love to me?  I’ve missed your touch.”  And then kiss and hug her right there in the kitchen. A clean kitchen where you have just done the dishes and mopped the floor. The truth is, nothing is sexier than a man who has gotten up early on a Saturday, scrubbed the toilets, taken out the garbage, done a load of laundry, thoughtfully cleaned around the house. See, I fooled you into reading this option, because if I had titled it scrub the toilets you would have skipped over it to number four, but now you’ve gone and read through it all and realized this is a guilt trip to get you to man up and put on an apron and get to work.
  4. Put a poem in a card.  Poetry is a proven aphrodisiac.  Since you have stumbled across this blog, I have to assume you have an interest in poetry. If you write poetry, write a love poem to your lover.  If you don’t write poetry, google best love poems in the English language and let one of the master’s help you out. Try e. e. cummings, Keats, Shakespeare, Marlowe, and you have a wealth of material over the last 400 years to pick from.  Find something short and meaningful, preferably 16 lines or less and hand write it in a card that you have picked out and slip it onto her pillow or give it to her at dinner.  Pick a time that is not crazy busy.  Take a shower before you give it to her and put on your new cologne.
  5. I Love You.   When was the last time you said those three words to your partner? These three words and bottle of wine are the best panty-removers on the planet.  It needs to be heartfelt.  I am not advocating you try and fake your way through it. Say it because you mean it.  And show her that you mean it.  Being a lover is not about sex, its about showing your love in everything you do.

Good luck, I hope these tips help you get plowed.  Happy Holidays.


Come Celia

by Ben Johnson

Come Come, my Celia, let us prove
While we may, the sports of love;
Time will not be ours forever;
He at length our good will sever.
Spend not then his gifts in vain.
Suns that set may rise again;
But if once we lose this light,
‘Tis with us perpetual night.
Why should we defer our joys?
Fame and rumor are but toys
Cannot we delude the eyes
Of a few poor household spies,
Or his easier ears beguile,
So removed by our wile?
‘Tis no sin love’s fruit to steal
But the sweet theft to reveal.
To be taken, to be seen,
These have crimes accounted been.

Try Not To Get Too Cold

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The Weather Outside is Frightful

Shoveling Snow

by Vicki L. Wilson

Take frequent breaks,
especially if you have
a broken heart.
Every ten minutes is good
Don’t get too out of breath.
Stay hydrated.
Stop if it becomes too much.
Grief will come hard
whenever it wants.
Try not to get too cold,
Use a small shovel.
Lift from your knees.


Welcome to the second edition in my series on Survival Tips for Getting Plowed this holiday season.  Today’s wealth of snow removal knowledge is for my hearty brethren around the polar north who have to deal with winter weather and shoveling this time of year. Here’s a couple of hard won pieces of advice on how to get plowed and stay plowed.

  1. Child Labor. This is an onerous subject when it comes to fast fashion and manufacture of athletic shoes, but when it comes to shoveling snow, it is a time honored tradition in the frozen north. You can cultivate your own child labor by spacing your progeny about 5 to 6 years apart, thereby maximizing the window which you have free labor under your roof.  Or you can wave a few dollars under the twelve year old’s nose next door and see how much snow they will shovel.  Don’t think of a young age as an obstacle to effective snow removal.  Ten to fourteen year old’s will do things for five dollars that no self respecting sixteen year old will even consider, so hit them up young.  Be sure to have a reasonable shovel for them to use and consider tipping if they do a great job. Not too much. Don’t drive up wages in the neighborhood, it will come back to haunt you come grass mowing season.
  2. Hire a professional. This may come as a shock to my readers, but sometimes paying $800 for a snow removal service for the season is a bargain. Don’t skimp, if you are going to hire a pro, hire one with a truck, a plow, a snow blower and references. Hire them early, like September, pay in cash and keep them coming back year after year if they exceed your expectations.
  3. Become self sufficient.  Invest in the tools of the trade. There is nothing more satisfying than operating your own well running snow blower. Buy a big, 2 stage with a multiple gear transmission, something that will billow a little blue smoke when it starts up and has a pleasant ear rattling roar when you really get going. Buy a couple of shovels, a scoop shovel for heavy snow at end of the drive and a wider snow shovel for clearing snow on driveways and steps. Consider even investing in a snow sled. Then – train your 10 year old on the safe operation of your new snow eating monster and you combine tips 1 and 3 into a home run!
    • FYI – Remember to pick up your outdoor rugs and welcome mats before you start running the snow blower.  Running a welcome mat through your snow blower is not covered under most manufactures warranties.
  4. Bribe the neighbor.  Sometimes there isn’t money in the budget for snow removal.  When that’s the case, plan ahead. Start baking some muffins, pumpkin bread and cookies in early October. Drop over every two weeks to the Norwegian bachelor neighbor who appears to have a relatively new snow blower in his garage.  Don’t let on right way your real intent.  Just be neighborly. Offer to watch his dog if he goes away for the weekend. Invite them over for a beer and grilled steak in the fall. And then about mid November, drop the hint that you have an endless supply of hot chocolate and schnapps if he would be interested in plowing you out this year. Keep bringing the Christmas cookies, regardless of his response.  Guilt works.  Odds are 75 percent you are covered.
  5. Pretend you live in Florida and ignore it.  This one requires a bit more endurance for pain and public ridicule from your neighbors, and possible fines from the county, but it is possible to just ignore the snow. Your walks and driveway will become a frozen morass of ruts and ice pot holes, treacherous to all who attempt to visit your home, but a good pair of boots with great traction should allow you to come and go just fine. Many a college student has used this option quite successfully all the way to spring.

Good luck and I hope these tips help you get plowed this holiday season!


On Shovelling

by Edward Willett (with an assist from Milton)

When I consider how my morns are spent,
Or half my days, in this world, dark and wide.
With that snow shovel, frozen to my hide,
That seems so useless, though its blad is bent
To scrape so well the sidewalk, and present
The bare concrete (lest postman, coming, chide,
“I almost slipped; indeed, I could have died!”)
I mutter oaths; but Patience to prevent
that murmur, soon replies, “Snow doth not need
Either man’s shovel or his slat; who best
Scrapes clear his walk, to Snow is naught; its state
Is frozen.  Thousands at its bidding speed
To plough and scrape and shovel without rest;
But it will melt if you just stand and wait.”

 

Be Always Drunken

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Minneapolis Getting In The Holiday Spirit At The Brave New Workshop

The Drunk Sonnets
SONNET 1

by Daniel Bailey

I’M A LITTLE HUNGRY BUT DRUNK
I WANT FORGIVENESS IN A BEEHIVE
LIKE A DOG WITH THE BENDS IN THE ARCTIC
AND COVERED IN ICE FURS

MY FIRST PRAYER TO GOD WENT
I DON’T KNOW IF I’M DOING THIS RIGHT
MY LAST PRAYER TO GOD WENT
I KNOW FOR A FACT I’M NOT DOING THIS RIGHT

I CAN’T SLEEP AT NIGHT AND AT DAY I DONT’ WANT AWAKE
AND A BODY THAT RUSTS INTO HARD AND AND UNBELIEVABLE
I WILL BE NOT ALIVE FOREVER EXCEPT FOR THE DRY BED

MY HANDS ARE TOO SMALL TO CARRY WHATEVER THIS IS
ACTUALLY, A HABIT OF DOLPHINS THAT LIVE IN CAPTIVITY
TO EAT FISH OUT OF BUCKETS AND SLEEP IN THE SALT AND THE WATER


I much prefer Baudelaire’s version of over indulgence but Bailey certainly has a great sense of humor.  ‘Tis the season for office holiday parties, white elephant gift night with the buds and other opportune events to let down your hair, put on a lamp shade and over indulge. Here are a few tips to avoid incarceration, termination or break-ups with your current squeeze.

  1. Don’t try and keep up.  Let’s face it, most people can’t drink up to the living large standards of their friends and alcoholic relatives.  Let them do the heavy lifting this December and New Years.  Skip the first round and then go every other from there, making sure they are picking up the tab along the way if you are out on the town.  They will run out of steam after their fifth drink and you’ll only have had two.
  2. Bring poetry to read aloud to all holiday gatherings.  Read one poem every 30 minutes, by announcing loudly, “Can everyone be quiet, I have something MARVELOUS to share.” Nothing will kill the vibe at that party faster and you won’t have time to get plastered.  The event will end much quicker than planned and you can go home with extra doggy bags of left over food where you can drink like a responsible adult, on your sofa.
  3. Become an Uber driver and then charge all your friends and relatives to drive them to and from the events you are invited. It will give you a sense of purpose to be the designated UBERIST and you can make some extra cash for the holidays.
  4. Ride the bus to all your scheduled events.  You will arrive 45 minutes late and have to leave by 9:45 to get to your bus stop and so likely you’ll only have time for a couple of drinks.
  5. Use the buddy system.  This is similar to option #1, except be sure to go to all the events with your favorite drunk.  Someone who has a great sense of humor, killer sarcasm and a supernatural knowledge of 1990’s television shows for trivia.  Pick them up when they are 3 cocktails into the afternoon at .10 blood alcohol content and then watch as they slur their way to .20 over the next couple of hours. Watching them make a complete fool of themselves while you are dead sober will keep you to a two drink maximum.   Remember to bring a plastic bucket in your car in case your friend is a 1:30 am White Castle snacking barfer.   This tip also applies to Option #3.

I hope you find these holiday survival tips to getting plowed helpful.   Happy Holidays!


Enivrez-vous 

(Paris Spleen, 1864)
by Charles Baudelaire

Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question. Pour ne pas sentir l’horrible fardeau du Temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.

   Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise. Mais enivrez-vous.
Et si quelquefois, sur les marches d’un palais, sur l’herbe verte d’un fossé, dans la solitude morne de votre chambre, vous vous réveillez, l’ivresse déjà diminuée ou disparue, demandez au vent, à la vague, à l’étoile, à l’oiseau, à l’horloge, à tout ce qui fuit, à tout ce qui gémit, à tout ce qui roule, à tout ce qui chante, à tout ce qui parle, demandez quelle heure il est et le vent, la vague, l’étoile, l’oiseau, l’horloge, vous répondront: “Il est l’heure de s’enivrer! Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du Temps, enivrez-vous; enivrez-vous sans cesse! De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise.”

Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually.Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will. But be drunken. And if sometimes, on the stairs of a palace, or on the green side of a ditch, or in the dreary solitude of your own room, you should awaken and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped away from you, ask of the wind, or of the wave, or of the star, or of the bird, or of the clock, of whatever flies, or sighs, or rocks, or sings, or speaks, ask what hour it is; and the wind, wave, star, bird, clock, will answer you: “It is the hour to be drunken! Be drunken, if you would not be martyred slaves of Time; be drunken continually! With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will.”

Arthur Symons translation, as quoted by Eugene O’Neill in Long Day’s Journey into Night

I Am Glad I Exist

Wendy Cope
Wendy Cope (b. 1947  – 

“My glass shall not persuade me I am old
So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time’s furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate”
William Shakespeare – Sonnet 22.

The Orange

By Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.


The poetry of simplicity is often the best. Nothing too complicated.  A good orange for instance.  I enjoyed Wendy Cope’s re-imagining of Shakespeare’s sonnet 22.  She is an accomplished poet and sonneteer.  I have been feeling the pull of time a bit more lately, this past year having slipped by so quickly.  And although I have accomplished much this past year in attending to my passions, I also feel like I only scratched the surface.   Industry and idleness need to be taken as medicine to feed our inventions.


My Glass Can’t Quite Persuade Me I Am Old

by Wendy Cope

My glass can’t quite persuade me I am old—
In that respect my ageing eyes are kind—
But when I see a photograph, I’m told
The dismal truth: I’ve left my youth behind.
And when I try to get up from a chair
My knees remind me they are past their best.
The burden they have carried everywhere
I heavier now. No wonder they protest.
Arthritic fingers, problematic neck,
Sometimes causing mild to moderate pain,
Could well persuade me I’m an ancient wreck
But here’s what helps me to feel young again.
My love, who fell for me so long ago,
Still loves me just as much, and tells me so.

So Much Sweet Beauty

clive james
Clive James (1939 – 2019)

The poet is a lifer. Anyone who gets into the game will soon start wishing that there was a version of it with lower stakes, but there isn’t. “

Clive James

 

 

Japanese Maple

by Clive James

Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:

Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?

Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air.
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.

My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must do
Is live to see that.That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:

Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colors will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone

© Clive James, 2014


If you were busy shoveling snow or fighting with flight or travel delays or generally caught up in the business of Thanksgiving, you may have missed that Clive James passed away on November 24.   There are lots of eloquent memorials to his life and genius.  Poke around on google and you’ll find great interviews with him.   James in his own words claimed to be nothing more than a writer and a most fortunate one at that.  He managed to make a living through his love affair with words.  As a critic he had a way of dissembling another writers work that offered you insights beyond your own understanding.   It would have been easy for me to include two of his poems, or a translation, but instead I choose to share a poem he admired.   Both poems deal with death and passing and remembrance.   Time is short on this planet, 80 years comes at your pretty quickly. May we all be as fortunate as Clive James to be able to look death in the eye and write distinctly about our human experience of mortality.


Spring and Fall

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Thy Blessings

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Thanksgiving Day in St. Paul, Minnesota 1966

Missed Time

by Ha Jin

My notebook has remained blank for months
thanks to the light you shower
around me. I have no use
for my pen, which lies
languorously without grief.

Nothing is better than to live
a storyless life that needs
no writing for meaning—
when I am gone, let others say
they lost a happy man,
though no one can tell how happy I was.


I wrote Thy Blessings as my prayer of Thanksgiving about 5 years ago.  It had been many years since a prayer had been said at my families Thanksgiving table, and I had yet to create a new tradition rooted in poetry and so it was shared in the living room, prior to the meal with everyone standing.

It took people a little by surprise.  I am not sure they knew what to make of it. It was short enough that people’s attention didn’t waver. Poetry was still something relatively new in my life and it was many years before Fourteen lines became a reality.  It’s never too early, it’s never too late to start a new tradition of thankfulness in your family. Do you have a favorite prayer of thanks?  Do you have a poem that you read at Thanksgiving?  Please share it in the comments section, I would love to read it.

Happy Thanksgiving


Thy Blessings

by T. A. Fry

If its by my fruit that you shall know me,
than look to the least of what I’ve done
For my best comes from many,
My worst from only one.

My blessings are overflowing,
More than I deserve.
My bounty is ever growing
My fruits are thy preserves.

 

I Like Magic Made By Cooks

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Thanksgiving Magic

by Rowena Bastin Bennett

Thanksgiving Day I like to see
Our cook perform her witchery.
She turns a pumpkin into pie
As easily as you or I
Can wave a hand or wink an eye.
She takes leftover bread and muffin
And changes them to turkey stuffin’.
She changes cranberries to sauce
And meats to stews and stews to broths;
And when she mixes gingerbread
It turns into a man instead
With frosting collar ’round his throat
And raisin buttons down his coat.
Oh, some like magic made by wands,
   And some read magic out of books,
And some like fairy spells and charms
   But I like magic made by cooks!