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

IMG_2250
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.”

 

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.

The Floors Are Slippery With Blood

edith sitwell
Edith Sitwell (1887 – 1964)

“The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth.”

Edith Sitwell

 

The Dancers

by Edith Sitwell

(During a Great Battle, 1916)

The floors are slippery with blood:
The world gyrates too. God is good
That while His wind blows out the light
For those who hourly die for us –
We still can dance, each night.

The music has grown numb with death –
But we will suck their dying breath,
The whispered name they breathed to chance,
To swell our music, make it loud
That we may dance, – may dance.

We are the dull blind carrion-fly
That dance and batten. Though God die
Mad from the horror of the light –
The light is mad, too, flecked with blood, –
We dance, we dance, each night.


The story of Abraham – Sarah and Isaac is a story of belief, so powerful that fathers are willing to sacrifice their beloved sons in devotion to their gods. But the part in Genesis that is equally important, is that God interceded on Isaac’s behalf and sent an angel and saved Isaac from his Father’s zealousness.  Peaceful intervention is the moral of that story, not blind obedience.   Who are the angels in your midst interceding on behalf of peace?


Sonnet

by W. S. Merwin (1927 – 1919)

Brave comrade, answer! When you joined the war,
    What left you? “Wife and children, wealth and friends,
    A storied home whose ancient roof-tree bends
    Above such thoughts as love tells o’er and o’er.”
Had you no pang or struggle? “Yes; I bore
    Such pain on parting as at hell’s gate rends
    The entering soul, when from its grasp ascends
    The last faint virtue which on earth it wore.”
You loved your home, your kindred, children, wife;
    You loathed yet plunged into war’s bloody whirl!—
    What urged you? “Duty! Something more than life.
That which made Abraham bare the priestly knife,
    And Isaac kneel, or that young Hebrew girl
    Who sought her father coming from the strife.”

There Is Nothing Like The Sun

EDWARD-THOMAS 2
Edward Thomas

The Sorrow Of True Love

by Edward Thomas

The sorrow of true love is a great sorrow
And true love parting blackens a bright morrow:
Yet almost they equal joys, since their despair
Is but hope blinded by its tears, and clear
Above the storm the heavens wait to be seen.
But greater sorrow from less love has been
That can mistake lack of despair for hope
And knows not tempest and the perfect scope
Of summer, but a frozen drizzle perpetual
Of drops that from remorse and pity fall
And cannot ever shine in the sun or thaw,
Removed eternally from the sun’s law

 


There’s Nothing Like The Sun

by Edward Thoma

 

There’s nothing like the sun as the year dies,
Kind as can be, this world being made so,
To stones and men and birds and beasts and flies,
To all things that it touches except snow,
Whether on mountainside or street of town.
The south wall warms me: November has begun,
Yet never shone the sun as fair as now
While the sweet last-left damsons from the bough
With spangles of the morning’s storm drop down
Because the starling shakes it, whistling what
Once swallows sang. But I have not forgot
That there is nothing, too, like March’s sun,
Like April’s, or July’s, or June’s, or May’s,
Or January’s, or February’s, great days:
August, September, October, and December
Have equal days, all different from November.
No day of any month but I have said—
Or, if I could live long enough, should say—
“There’s nothing like the sun that shines today.”
There’s nothing like the sun till we are dead.

 

Up The Long, Delirious, Burning Blue

WW1_howitzer
World War I Howitzer

On Seeing a Piece of our Heavy Artillery Brought Into Action

by Wilfred Owen

“Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm,
Great gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse;
Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse
Huge imprecations like a blasting charm!
Reach at that Arrogance which needs thy harm,
And beat it down before its sins grow worse;
Spend our resentment, cannon,—yea, disburse
Our gold in shapes of flame, our breaths in storm.
Yet, for men’s sakes whom they vast malison
Must wither innocent of enmity,
Be not withdrawn, dark arm, thy spoilure done,
Safe to the bosom of our prosperity.
But when thy spell be cast complete and whole,
May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!”

 

Original Copy of Wilfred Owen Sonnet On Seeing

High Flight

by John Gillespie Magee Jr.

“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds—and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”