Pinched, grim faces peer through the windows as I wash the dirty feet of the Tupperware solicitors. Leering, jeering, they make their obscene gestures in vain, rather pathetically cheering each other’s futility. Parcels of latent importance linger on the threshold, waiting for delivery, independent and proud of their clean lines and ruler-straight packing tape. In the midst of all the chaotic motion, a small, silver dreidle spins hypnotically, focused and free of the detritus so common to such games as played today. Not for nothing did they salvage their given names, to show to the inspectors, in direct opposition to the rising sun, hopeful of another hour, another day to find Reality…..
Which, apparently, has retreated to the background, not wanting any part of the previous paragraph, a sentiment I can completely understand. That there paragraph is even weirder than usual, even for this space. But, I kind of like it, sort of, maybe…. it does have a certain charm to it, even if it doesn’t make any sense. And it did give me the opportunity to use the word “dreidle”, as well as “detritus”, two words that seldom see the light of day. I do enjoy getting these seldom-used words out for a workout; they’re always so appreciative…..
As you might be able to tell, my relationship with the English language is one of mutual admiration and support. We get along pretty well most of the time, and that is completely due to the fact that we are always formally polite with each other, and never ask the other to perform tricks that are embarrassing or immoral. It is a somewhat tentative and careful relationship, because we both understand each other’s needs and desires, and want to be careful to preserve the good relations we enjoy. After all, where would either of us be, without the other? Nowhere, that’s where….
With that ringing endorsement, let us now wend our way down to the edge of the water, and begin today’s search for pearls….. shall we Pearl?…..
If they make you not then the better answer, you may say they are
not the men you took them for.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Much Ado about Nothing — Act iii, Sc. 3
A man whose blood
Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
The wanton stings and motions of the sense.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Measure for Measure — Act i, Sc. 4
The eftest way.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Much Ado about Nothing — Act iv, Sc. 2
Like Niobe, all tears.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Hamlet — Act i, Sc. 2
So, there I am, cruising along in my database, searching for pearls, and what keeps popping up in front of me, getting in the way and wasting my time? You guessed it…. more drivel from our old friend and charlatan, Will Shakespeare. These four pieces of nonsense popped up one after the other, within two minutes of each other.
Taking this as a sign from the gods of literature to carry on my campaign to educate the public regarding the relative value of his works, I am reproducing them here, as a reminder to everyone to be careful with Will’s stuff. It can be dangerous to those who don’t understand the power of human idiocy.
I mean, just look at those four quotes. I consider myself to be pretty smart; if not smart, I am at least over-educated, for sure. But, for the life of me, I can’t figure out what the hell he is talking about in ANY of these quotes. Sure, they’re missing some context, but good literature should be able to provide its own context…. These only provide an excuse for scratching one’s forehead in confusion….. and don’t even do that well….
Just as a test, for the rest of today, while searching for stuff about which to write, I’ll save and put in here all the little pieces of dung from Will’s pen that get in the way…. You will begin to see why I think he needs to be downgraded as an icon, to reduce the amount of his work to which we are forced to be exposed in the normal pursuit of our life’s objectives…..
Some griefs are medicinable.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Cymbeline — Act iii, Sc. 2
Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his pent-house lid.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Macbeth — Act i, Sc. 3
Come not within the measure of my wrath.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), The Two Gentlemen of Verona — Act v, Sc. 4
Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear.
— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Sonnets & other Poetry — Venus and Adonis, Line 145
Okay, so the last one isn’t so bad…. I guess 7 out of 8 gives a pretty clear indicator of how he SHOULD be graded…. Enjoy, so to speak…..
Immediately after writing the above section, I went back to my search. I felt a bit disappointed, in that the first section was teaching by poor example. This is a legitimate technique, but is less satisfying than making the same point by a good example. As I thought of this, an excerpt from one of Alexander Pope’s poems flashed up, which led me to go search out his page at Poemhunter.com, to see what else could be used…. and there it was…..
His Essay on Criticism is the perfect next act in this circus I call my blog…. It is, however, about 20 pages long, an epic poem, with several parts, each with its own introduction by the author. That is a bit much to expect you to take in in a morning read with your coffee (or, looking at the clock, as a lunch-time dessert….), so I picked out the most relevant stanza I could find on short notice, and offer it here, as a contrast to the above pile of dung from Shakespeare….
From Part II of “Essay on Criticism”
The vulgar thus thro’ imitation err,
As oft the learn’d by being singular;
So much they scorn the crowd, that if the throng
By chance go right, they purposely go wrong.
So schismatics the plain believers quit,
And are but damn’d for having too much wit.
Some praise at morning what they blame at night,
But always think the last opinion right.
A Muse by these is like a mistress used,
This hour she’s idolized, the next abused;
While their weak heads, like towns unfortified,
‘Twixt sense and nonsense daily change their side.
Ask them the cause; they’re wiser still they say;
And still to-morrow’s wiser than to-day.
We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
Our wiser sons no doubt will think us so.
Once shool-divines this zealous isle o’erspread;
Who knew most sentences was deepest read.
Faith, Gospel, all seem’d made to be disputed,
And none has sense enough to be confuted.
Scotists and Thomists now in peace remain
Amidst their kindred cobwebs in Ducklane.
If Faith itself has diff’rent dresses worn,
What wonder modes in Wit should take their turn?
Oft, leaving what is natural and fit,
The current Folly proves the ready Wit;
And authors think their reputation safe,
Which lives as long as fools are pleas’d to laugh.
There you have it…. If you have the time, head on over to Poemhunter.com to read the entire piece. It’s well worth the time taken, in my not so humble opinion…. the address for the rest of the above poem is http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/an-essay-on-criticism/
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.
— Tao Teh Ching
Often in life, we find ourselves at a point where we feel frustrated with how reality is unfolding, and allow the weight of the world to sit on our shoulders. We grasp to our breasts the complaints and insults we have heard or expressed, holding on to all the wrong things that have happened, to justify our own irritability.
It is at these times that the Tao Teh Ching can be most helpful, especially to us Westerners. Our culture looks at stress differently, at least in terms of how to deal with it. In this case, I find the Eastern way of approaching this issue works much better, allowing one to overcome the stress that builds up, offering release from the headaches and tension that can come with such feelings….
The solution is extremely simple, once learned…. just let go…. No, not just say no…. Just let go…. Don’t hang on to those feelings of urgency because your work isn’t done…. just finish the work, and be done with it….. Don’t let money determine your feelings. Don’t let your worries fill your mind so you obsess and worry; allow them to pass through you, as all feelings eventually do, if we don’t hang on to them….
Just let go…. and find yourself already serene….
Well, that works, I think…. It will have to do, because I’m NOT doing it over…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.