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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Lord Of The Dance

Chose dancing clothes and party hat
with care, and wear them well,
for this might be the outfit that
you soiree in, in hell.
It's no sin to hold dismay
at this state of affairs,
but better far to be quite gay,
not putting on false airs,
but meeting monsters with a smile
and wave and friendly "Hi!",
while you're knowing all the while
that you will never die,
but rise from this, the worst of graves,
dancing with the One who saves.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is KNOW. Yeah.

This week has SUCKED. So please forgive the attitude, but I will go down fighting, red in teeth and claw.

Know this clearly, all who hear,
know this, and avert your eyes,
know that there's a time for fear,
and know ye that somebody dies.
Know that there is nothing gentle,
know that there are guns and knives,
know this is the fundamental
way we're fighting for our lives.
Know there will be no surrender,
know so long as I have breath
that I shall be pleased to render
hate unto a cancer'd death,
and when on Heaven's streets I tread,
even God will bow His head.

And here are The Dubliners, with Lord Of The Dance.

Can you dance while eating ice cream?



 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Los Conquistadors

 You don't separate brothers.

Cocoa and Latte wound up at Animal Humane when their owner had to go to a care facility. They knew, I think, that they might be parted, or worse.

And then Barb showed up. "Two Chihuahuas? Sure, no problem!"

They enjoy their life, and so do we.


This is Cocoa. He likes to walk upright (remember, he's nine years old). Please pardon the background... we're cleaning!

Chihuahuas running to and fro,
Chihuahuas dancing hither, yon,
Chihuahuas always on the go,
Chihuahuas rise before the dawn
sounding like a car alarm,
"Let us out, we mean RIGHT NOW,
or we'll do your ears more harm,
leaving you to ask just how
two tiny dogs could come so fast
to rule what had been ordered place,
to upend first unto the last
and ensure you call it grace,
and thus by now it should be clear,
it's our world, you just live here."

When you look at the south end of a northbound Chihuahua, you'll see the Chihuahua Bounce, an insouciant hip-swingy prance.

It's catching. Daughtrie, our somewhat ancient Blue Heeler, now walks like that.

So does Barb.

With Chihuahuas, it's always Manic Monday.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is VISION. Easy.

The vision of Chihuahuas
is quite easy to see,
just give them enchiladas
and then please let them be,
for they have not been bred to share
their food, or of blessings bestowed,
and they truly do not care
what other canines think are owed.
Belle the Wolf has now been tamed,
The Killers are embarrassment,
for the Dogs Who Won't Be Named
are not in the least content
until they rewrite God's own laws
and the world is subject to their paws.

Three minutes, ChiChi supervision.

The Killers are twin sisters, Ridgeback-Pit mixes. They were the first to surrender to Cocoa and Latte, crawling, humiliatingly, on their bellies.

Sylvia's ice cream, though, won't be rushed.

Unless the Chichi's will have it.



 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Your Dying Spouse : The Loneliness

For a while, I called this blog Your Dying Spouse, with subtitles. But dying can take awhile, and I got bored.

Still, you may have a spouse or a mate or a neighbour who's for the high jump.

That individual is lonely beyond your wildest nightmares. (Now, this isn't my situation; I'm truly blessed, but I can see over the wall.)

It's loneliness born of a forced withdrawal from life. The river flows and you're on the beach with a plastic pail and shovel...and, yes, the childish image is intended, because well-meaning folk can confuse compassion and condescension, and make the experience infantilising. ("How are we doing today?"...ugh!)

DVDs and books can help, but they always seem to have a point, a lesson, and a satisfying ending.

As Gilda Radner put it..."Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end."

When life is like that, a person needs more... someone else nearby, who can share the reality, and help validate the rest of Ms. Radner's comment...

"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”

This can't be done alone. The perspective is too narrow, too personal.

If you want to help, what can you do?

You can do wonders by just showing interest, by being there, treating that person like a full adult.

Don't know what to say? You don't have to say much, beyond a sincere Howzit Going?, and What Have You Been Up To?

My God. Just to be asked by someone willing to listen, and care!

Maybe life has tightened to simple necessities and a bit of make-work...as mine has... but even those have to be somehow imbued with meaning, with value. If making one's own dinner comes at a cost, it's nice if someone recognizes it.

And stay awhile. Put in a couple of hours to watch Lord of the Rings, and turn a focused message into something that satisfies Delicious Ambiguity. Maybe more than a couple of hours, but escaping with a friend from The Sentence, even for a short time, is a pearl beyond price.

Maybe you will want to justify it by What Goes Around Comes Around. Fair enough.

But know this, that the good that goes around is appreciated far more than you'll ever realize.

Please ask me how it's going,
please ask, "What have you there?",
'cause when you do you're showing
that you really care.
Come by and watch a movie;
it won't take long to do,
and it would sure be groovy,
spending time with you,
for although I'm dying,
I still have much to give,
and I'm really, really trying,
dear God, I am, to live,
so please, dear heart, pick up the phone,
because I can't do this alone.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is BOTH.

It takes two to fix-trot
(or did you expect 'tango'),
which I would have said were it not
that its only rhyme is mango,
which is a taste that I enjoy
as additive or by itself,
and I'm glad Coke did employ
to place it on the groc'ry shelf,
or was it Pepsi? Could've been,
they sort of seem the same to me,
and I am not really keen
on studying to Nth degree
which is now ahead in stores
in the eternal cola wars.

Ok, five minutes. And yes, one of the cola giants does have mango flavouring. It's pretty good.

Music from the Foo Fighters, with Walk, from the movie Thor.

I'm never gonna die. Strong words, and untrue in the temporal, but my heart will go on, and that's a song for another time.

Sylvia's always up for LOTR, but she prefers Adam Sandler.



Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Good Loser

I am a sore loser. Bet that was a surprise, yeah?

I won't beat cancer in the long haul, but I can win ugly every day 'till then, by accomplishing most of my goals (say, writing sonnets as blog comments) even if I am on my knees at nightfall.

Even if my skivvies are soiled, and there's blood on the floor.

Anything for the win.

Show me a good loser,
and a loser's all I see,
a goody-two-shoes poser,
and that is not for me.
You've got to fight the good fight,
and if you fail, just smile
Then go out in the dead of night,
catch a small crocodile.
Drag it, snarling, back to camp
and set it in the winner's bath,
drain the oil from washroom lamp
and prepare to laugh
as you hear a scream and splash
before nude hundred-metre dash.

Here's a fitting clip from Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is FAST. I'll be quick 

Skittering across the floor,
pirate-shouts, Avast!
Chihuahuas racing out the door;
short legs, but they move fast,
barking others from their way
as they madly race
to see what on this brand-new day
they are going to face
with hearts aflame and eyes afire;
a monster, maybe or a dragon?
Whatever, dude, it will retire
from Chichi's onslaught, tails a-waggin'!
Behold, there! Under grim duress,
it's the man from UPS!

Four minutes, under Chihuahua supervision.

Sylvia says that victory is ice cream. Can't argue with that.


Thursday, April 21, 2022

He's Not Santa God

As for the telly, I only watch Trinity Broadcasting, bar the odd sporting event.

TBN has content that's quite good. Well, mostly.

There's still quite a bit of God repaying you in kind...give us money, and God will bless you with MORE money!

And...God wants you to be well. Illness isn't a physical problem, it's a SPIRITUAL problem (and for a love gift of $100, we'll show you how to activate your angels).

I can understand where these folks are coming from, and I do believe them to be sincere. But they are perilously close to turning God into a vending machine, or, worse, a kind of almighty Santa Claus.

The vending machine analogy makes God into something mechanical...put a penny in the slot, get your desire... but the St. Nick thing is way worse, because it implies that our actions can control God's behaviour.

I think that the reality is quite different.

We give to God, of our material wealth, or of our labour.

We receive strength and grace for the long journey home.

We want to be well, but wellness is not physical. It's peace with divine will, which purpose we know not, but which we choose to accept.

The metastasis in my left humerus has resulted in a fracture (don't ask how, I feel SO stupid!), and I have to move my left arm around with my right. As in, when I lays me down to sleep, I have to use the good arm to position the broken one on a supporting pillow.

But it's OK. The worse it hurts, the more I want to work hard, use my words as I can to soothe the pain in others.

Cancer has made me better than I thought I could ever be.

Cancer makes me want to hug the world.

And that, dear hearts, is recompense enough for all I have given, and lost.

Things may not be going well,
and life's fatally flawed,
but even at the gates of hell,
keep on praising God,
not like it's some mantra
that will help you escape,
rescued by a Santa
in a superhero cape.
Even as the flames lick high,
and you're marshmallow-on-a-stick,
do not pause to wonder why
God ain't like St. Nick...
just know and say before you fall,
"I am Yours, and You are all "

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is RUN. You're kidding, right, with pancreatic cancer? REALLY?

Ah, well.

Every day I got the runs,
and Imodium's my best friend,
for it isn't really fun,
what comes out the other end.
Diet sometimes seems to help
things from getting too darn runny,
but I then I'm giving out a yelp
and there I am, back in the dunny,
if, that is, I am in time
(no, I will not wear Depends!),
and thus the obligation's mine
to wash my briefs, as clean new friends,
and there is grateful thanks that's owed
that this is not a pay commode.

Three minutes. Must be my heart talking. Or something else.

Music from The Beach Boys, with Don't Worry Baby.

Sylvia's all for hugging the world in exchange for ice cream.



 


Thursday, April 14, 2022

God's Colouring Book

There's a scene in one of the Star Wars movies where our heroes are stuck in a watery trash compactor, and Luke Skywalker says that it could be worse.

There's a beast-bellow from the muck, and Han Solo says, "It's worse."

And then a slimy tentacle pulls Luke underwater, and the fun begins.

Yeah, it's worse. My voice is taken, and there's another metastasis, this one on my left humerus, which, when, you think about it, my being right-handed, is really kinda funny. Geddit?

Seriously, I can't raise my arm above waist level, and trying to put on a shirt is... interesting.

But I can still count it all joy. Yes, it hurts, yes, it's limiting, but there's something of a liberation in the pain, and in this durance vile. I can see beyond what used to be so important, so very solid... all of my ambitions and hopes and dreams.

I'm not denigrating them. They were worthwhile, but now I see that the good in them, good I will not see fulfilled in this life, is but the lines in a colouring book, to be filled in by God.

And meanwhile...

 Chihuahuas running this-a-way,
Chihuahuas running that,
with them there is hell to pay,
if you are a cat.
Chihuahuas running kitty down,
oh, kitty-cat is trapped!
And then they imitate the clown,
and kitty now is rapt
to see them bouncing in their play,
rolling, now, and once again,
and kitty cannot see the way
that their waggy tails remain
attached to them, the game all through,
and tries a grab on one or two.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is DENY. Yeah, ok.

I would rather set aside,
and in point of fact deny
that I want to run and hide
from knowing that I'm soon to die.
I lie awake because of pain
that really truly will not stop,
and wonder how my mortal brain
can handle going o'er top
of the bar do ably writ
by poet-friend, Lord Tennyson,
how to smile, and be quit
of an earthly benison,
and letting go my hard-gripped rope
cast my soul upon Christ's hope.

Four minutes fifteen seconds. Maybe there's something to this one.

In respect to the science fiction intro, here's the funniest scene from any SF movie (it's from the underrated 'Star Trek Beyond').

Sylvia counts ice cream as all joy. Me too.



 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

How Dry I Am

Ok, serious week. Two comas (defined as, "You were completely unresponsive.").

And huge setbacks in physical ability, like, hey, breathing.

So I won't be serious here. This is the time to get completely plastered, except that Josephus Daniels might not agree.

He was Secretary of the Navy from 1913 to 1921. He ordained that the Navy should be dry.

Yeah, well. Smuggle the booze past the Jimmy-legs, and let's go.

 Josephus Daniels, nasty man!
Josephus Daniels, why
did you have that evil plan
to keep the Navy dry?
A ship's a floating prison
inhabited by goats,
deserving the derision
of calling vessels 'boats',
and that's why the tradition
that Nelson understands
of granting kind permission
of tots to all the hands...
but, Josephus, you're a bum
for holding back our tot of rum!

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is EXPLORE. Let's explore that.

We have explored the question
of why the Navy's dry
at Daniels' cruel suggestion
that's echoed, my, oh, my
through a pair of global wars
and piping days of peace,
through each swabbie who ignores
this edict, to unease
of harassed division-head
responsible for conduct pure
of his men, but instead
of making double-sure
legality won't come a-cropper,
turns blind eye to the chain-locker.

Five minutes, and it is what it is.

Music from Jimmy Buffett, with Margaritaville.

Sylvia will have some rum-flavoured ice cream, thank you very much. So will I.







Thursday, March 31, 2022

For Those Worse Off

I was feeling sorry for myself. It was kind of a bad week. Lots of pain, fatigue, internal bleeding that hasn't stopped yet, and something like a coma on Tuesday.

Then I heard about Bruce Willis. He's been diagnosed with aphasia (a disorder that affects communication, the use of language, and memory), is having cognitive issues, and has retired from acting. There are therapies; there's no cure.

Now, I don't know Mr. Willis personally, but I do think that one sees something of the man in the characters an actor portrays, and it's consistent with what little I've read about him. He's been said to be hard to work with. That's been said about me.

Maybe I should be thinking about people in Ukraine, or about starving African orphans ("Eat your broccoli! There are kids in Sudan who would be thrilled to have your dinner!"). But I don't know them. They're an abstraction.

And I don't know anyone personally who's got cancer, or something like it.

So, an actor. There's an illusion of familiarity that perhaps bespeaks something deeper. I don't know what it is, and couldn't define it if I did. But it's something that's true.

And so, I'm really, really sorry. And I am humbled; yes, I have cancer, yes, I am exhausted, in pain, and incontinent, but there are worse things in life, and Bruce Willis' family is going through that right now.

I thank God for the blessings in my life, with all my heart. 

I know that it seems terrible,
and it's all unjust;
but, my friend, be careful,
for one day you must
stand before the Throne of Grace,
relive your whole life through,
and here you will come face to face
with those worse off than you,
and tell God what you did and thought;
did you help with gentle care?
All the times when you could not,
did you hold them up in prayer,
or did you leave love on the shelf
and feel sorry for yourself?

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is COFFEE. Oh, joy.

Coffee used to be my thing,
I would drink eighteen cups a day,
never knowing it would bring
a time when there'd be hell to pay,
when I had gone out on a stroll
(do not smile, this isn't funny!),
and as guts began to roll
I was too far from a dunny,
but I did not want to soil
my pants, and let alone my pride,
so I bent to task and toil
that with God's grace I might hide
the subsequent wild anal blast
from all those who might have passed.

Five minutes flat. Deal with it.

Here's one of Bruce Willis' best, and most understated scenes, from RED 2.

Sylvia would share her ice cream with Mr. Willis, if she could.



 






Thursday, March 24, 2022

Of This Life And The Next

I was watching Steven Furtik yesterday, and at one point he invited everyone who's afraid of snakes to raise a hand.

Then he said, "OK, now all of you with your hands raised, turn to your neighbour who didn't raise his hand, and ask him how it feels to be stupid."

Before cancer, I was afraid of it. Not so much of dying, because I lived an idiotically risky life, but of the pain, the weariness, the lost future, the shame of things like... sorry... incontinence.

Colour me stupid, but there was no reason for fear. The benefits have so far outweighed everything else!

I can touch the preciousness in each day, now, the clean scent of a fresh spring day, the magic white wonderland of a late snowfall, the songbird who picked up on the neighbour listening to "YMCA"...

And God is with me, in spirit and truth, through it all.

The joy, you see, comes from Him. Yes, there's pain and weariness and all that, but those are of this earth, this life. Temporal, and temporary.

It's not an "eyes fixed on Heaven" thing; it's a different quality of experience. And though the earthly experience still has the ability to hurt, it can't harm unless I allow it. The joy is deeper, richer, and while it doesn't banish the other, it makes what might have been intolerable something which can be borne.

 I am where the monsters are,
on mine own blood I choke.
It's all gone a bit to far,
it's beyond a joke,
and I should cower in dismay
in fear of what's ahead,
but somehow on this shattered day
I find something past dread,
for trial has given painful birth
to joy at last unflawed,
to show pain is of fallen earth,
but delight's been born in God,
and from this revelation's sprung
that laughter's Heaven's native tongue.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is SPRING, but since I have 'sprung' in the thirteenth line of the sonnet above, I will let it go like that. It says what I needed to say.

Oh, very well, a haiku.

He gave His life at winter's end
that spring might return to life
our Friend.

Have a good laugh, with Sylvia and the Village People. In The Navy! 



 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

It's Fishy

Humour keeps me young, or at least immature (Barb vigourously nods head).

I long to play a bass guitar,
it is my fondest wish,
but among my questions are
how do you tune a fish,
and when one is playing scales
where does one begin?
All the way back at the tail,
or right up by a fin?
Because the stage is very warm,
and one needs a solid bridge,
the sensible pre-concert form
is to keep it in the fridge.
In my art I'll build my skill
and one day play 'longside Vince Gill.

Music, of course, from Brad Paisley, with I'm Gonna Miss Her.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is EASY, and I am too ill to do more than say that the only easy day was yesterday.

But..how about a haiku?

Was it easy
to roll away the stone
and let in the scent of spring?

Fish and chips and ice cream... Sylvia says Yummy!




Thursday, March 10, 2022

The Blessing-Day

So it's been quite a week, with the new Chihuahuas as a very bright light. It really hurts too much to walk (and breathe!), but it's worth it to see those mad little clowns integrate themselves into a position of power.

An example... they ganged up on Labby this morning. Now, he's an immense black Lab, totally friendly but a bit forceful in his greetings. 

Labby apparently stepped on one of Cocoa's paws, which led the little guy to go "BEEP!", and Latte roared to the rescue, barking and snapping into Labby's face, quickly joined by Cocoa.

Three hours later, Labby's still traumatized, crawling up to the boys on his belly, asking forgiveness.

They brighten the days. The cancer thing is pretty bad.

 The things they do not tell you,
the things you do not see
for you'd not believe them true
for your destiny.
The blazing pain of morning;
so hard to pull on socks!
The sad old midnight yearning
for idle pillow-talks.
Yes, by cancer life is ruled
in its calculating way,
but no longer will my heart be fooled,
for 'tis a blessing-day
when the Christ who died at Calvary
is by my side, to walk with me.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is HEAVY. 

These days are quite a burden
of heaviness and sorrow,
and most good folk are certain
it will be worse tomorrow.
That's life when Creation's fallen
and the devil takes the wheel,
but you can still hear Jesus calling,
when you turn to what is real.
Don't look away from all the pain;
do your bit and play your part,
but don't in weightiness remain,
for you can keep a merry heart
when you look to God above
and know that He's eternal Love.

Four minutes!

Music from Joe Jackson, with Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Sylvia's ideal date is with an ice-cream cone.







Thursday, March 3, 2022

It's Their World, We Just Live In It

I should be writing about Ukraine, about unjust war and a suffering that could have been prevented.

Think I shall write of Chihuahuas, instead.

It's not that I don't care, but I am nearly bedridden now. Barb has let me set up my tools to where I can reach them, to work on things I hope are worthwhile in our life.

I can still help with the dogs; all of my mobility is spent there.

I can't keep up with the Chi's (they're FAST!), but Belle can, and I can watch.

But just sometimes, I CATCH 'em!

These are super-sized Chihuahuas. They weigh about 25 lbs each, and have the cheerily pugnacious stance of Corgis.




The house, it has been giver o'er
to Chihuahuas now;
we can just ask them whither go'er,
and when you get there, how
will Belle the Wolf ensure return
when you're 'neath the furniture,
or do you want that we might learn
that there truly is no cure
for the wild exploring minds
of these very smallest mutts
that no given moment finds
them sitting on their furry butts,
but rather charging, flag unfurled
through front door, look out, world!

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is CARRY; appropriate, given the picture above.

For Chi's they really weigh a lot
for they've been super-sized by God,
and what you see is what we've got,
but surely they're not flawed,
just blessed with maybe too much size
(not all can be the teacup kind),
but when you see their loving eyes,
you know that you won't mind
having legs go tingle-numb
when they sit in your lap,
for you happ'ly have become
caught within that tender trap
of love for which we always yearn
that dogs are best-placed to return.

Four minutes! Guess it was on my heart!

Music from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, with Tijuana Taxi.

Have you ever tried Mexican Vanilla ice cream? It's Syl's favourite.





Thursday, February 24, 2022

They Is Here

Well, God disposes, and Hazel's (the little stray who arrived last week and won our hearts) original family turned up, and she's gone home. They had been out of town, and didn't know that she'd gone missing.

And so... realizing that there's a place here for a small dog, Barb just adopted a pair of senior Chihuahuas.

It's been years since I've been able to go to Starbucks...and Barb brought me home a Cocoa Latte (their names).




 It's to laugh and it's to cry,
and sometimes it's to wonder
just exactly really why
your life's been torn asunder.
It's to hope and it's to pray
and to get up again
when knocked down, to rise and play
still in the games of men.
It's to joke and it's to smile,
in private hide the tears
for to mourn is out of style;
instead, let us get two more beers
and raise them foaming in the mugs
to drink to life and love and hugs.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is PEACE. Guess the world needs some, and always did.

And, until He comes again, always will.

All we are saying
is give peace a chance...
well, if so, start praying
for we're more than just plants;
we're agents of action,
and prayer is the tool
that can unite factions
and end ridicule
over our skin-shade,
and ways others speak.
By prayer can be remade
the world by the meek
with a weapon seems small
but 'tis greatest of all.

A shade under five minutes. I'll take it.

Music from Wall Of Voodoo, with, of course, Mexican Radio.

Syl prefers ice cream to beer. Sometimes.




 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Hazel Is Here

 So in a week of waning strength and vastly increased pain, God had an answer.

YOU NEED ANOTHER DOG.

On Sunday, on the way to church (it seems that God lacks subtlety), Barb ran across a tiny terrier, running panicked down a fast road, far from any houses. She'd clearly been dumped.

We did have her checked for a microchip... none... and there are no lost-dog signs posted. So she's home. In the photo below, she's sleeping by my pillow.


She began her ascendancy to Home Rule with Belle the Service Dog, who is mostly timber wolf. Here they are in the sorely-used mudroom...


Belle has recruited Hazel (she has hazel eyes) as an assistant...at night Hazel sleeps on my chest (YOU try moving her), and if I have trouble breathing she gets Belle to help me turn over for a clearer airway.

The interesting thing is that a few weeks ago I had a dream or vision, that Barb would find the tiniest of terriers.

Good work, God. Thanks!

I have come to dominate,
as regal as that sounds,
so just please accept your fate
from a dog that weighs four pounds.
T'was the Wolf I conquered first,
and then Roscoe the Pit,
but I saved my very worst
for the Labrador I bit.
He felt that he could stick his nose
anywhere he thought to smell,
and what, dear heart, do you suppose
to him I chose to tell?
"Go thee now, you oaf, and hide,
and next time sniff your OWN backside!"

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is STRETCH. Not hard.

She stretches out her tiny frame,
and sounds a quiet yawn.
Hazel (her eyes!) is her name,
and our whole pack is gone
in fine sappy soppy delight
for this canine bit of fluff
that wanders through the house at night
knowing that she's tough
enough to cope with Ridgeback-Pits
who quail when she walks by,
four pounds that could tear to bits
in the twinkling of an eye
the meanest junkyard dog of all,
then hang his head upon the wall.

Five minutes flat, and that's Hazel.

Music, of course, from Sister Hazel, with All For You.

Sylvia loves hazelnut ice cream.


 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Thinking Of Heaven

This week has been so hard. I try not to think about Heaven...my heart and duty are here... but sometimes I do.

It feels wrong, feels like I am trying to distract myself from the cancer fight.

I don't want to go, but it's getting really hard to stay.

This life's a hopeful journey
(should be, at any rate),
and when we reach Eternity
and pass through Heaven's gate
we'll see our friends' real faces,
and they'll see ours as well.
We'll speak of far wild places;
the stories that we'll tell!
The writers' paper children
play with welders' kids of steel,
and come, when they are bidden
to the table-bending meal,
raise beery mugs in noisy toasts
to the gracious Lord of Hosts.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is COMMIT. I'll try.

I'm committed to this road
that wanders through the dark wild wood,
and though now my back is bowed,
and I ain't feelin' good,
I will push on with strength that's left,
although I'm fading fast.
The painful warp and bleeding weft
of life belie my past
of health and joyous bonhomie,
where laughter never lacked;
was this a true part of me
or just an artifact
of easy days and sunny skies
that now, in this trial, quails and flies?

I'd like to think that the question in mirror of this sonnet doesn't reflect me, that even at the worst moments (of which this, as I write, is one), but as some Dead Greek Dude once said, the unexamined life is not worth living.

OK, I've examined it. Can I please go play now?

Five minutes and a few seconds. I'll take it.

Music from The Alan Parsons Project, with the hauntingly lovely Closer To Heaven.

Sylvia asks what the problem is... there's ICE CREAM in Heaven!



 






Thursday, February 3, 2022

Wealth

Cancer's pushing hard this week. Hard to breathe, and hard (and scary, because I'm very unsteady on my feet) to walk.

But life goes on, and so must I. Not out of defiance, or realistic hope for healing and a brighter tomorrow.

See, I promised.

It's that whole 'for richer, for poorer...in sickness and in health' thing.

It doesn't have to be easy.

It just has to be done.

There are days adrift in sorrow
and in heart-despairing pain,
but yesterday is not tomorrow
and the sun will shine again,
though your plans and dreams are shaken,
and although something loved is gone,
'less it's given what's not taken
is the will to carry on,
smiling while your heart is crying,
laughing when you'd rather weep,
choosing life though you are dying
for there are covenants to keep
that were promised in your health,
and are today your greatest wealth.

Music from The Carpenters, with Top Of The World.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is ACHIEVE, so here goes.

Achievement was what I had thought
that effort and great talent brings,
but in a life that cancer's wrought
I make do with smaller things,
like dishes washed and laundry done,
and dogs walked slowly 'round the yard,
but do not think I don't find fun,
for it's close by, and thus not hard
to discover bright surprise
and laughter in the canine play,
and in what I might devise
through the course of each new day
to give my wife and home a lift
that shows each day is still God's gift.

Achieved, in just under five minutes!

For Sylvia, ice cream is riches.






Thursday, January 27, 2022

Snow Dog

Huskies and snow, a match made in Heaven!

Well...

 First thing this morning there was snow,
and at the door Denali tarried
long enough to let me know
that Princess Husky must be carried.
Fellow huskies pull their sleds
and revel in the Arctic air,
snooze within their snow-cave beds,
but The Princess does not care
for anything not warm and soft
(clearly what a Princess needs!);
thus she must be held aloft,
above the snow, for outdoor deeds,
and I'm lucky she's not large
for it's clear that she's in charge.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is TRIAL. Over to Denali for her take...

Oh, REALLY, all that snow,
it's just so plain to see
that it truly has to go,
and I mean totally.
It makes me shiver from my paws,
and ice forms on my nose,
and I think that there should be laws
on where the cold wind blows!
So my human is commanded
to carry me (it's only right!)
to the yard when it's demanded;
daytime, or the dead of night,
and though this may sound quite the the trial,
every time, I see him smile.

Four minutes. Princess Denali just set a record, claws a-clicking on the Smart Phone.

Music from George Harrison, with Gone Troppo.

Sylvia likes Sno-cones, as well as ice cream.



 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Something Of Value

"If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them. "
~ Basuto proverb

This is a different kind of post, but maybe not.

We've been losing our history, by choice.

Everything now seems to come down to feelings and outrage, seen through a lens of current academic thinking, without context or grace. Washington and Jefferson are reviled, the Lincoln and FDR monuments are vandalized, Martin Luther King is dismissed as an Uncle Tom.

There's a movement, with support in the government, to dynamite Mount Rushmore.

Terrible for society, but worse when done to ourselves.

Here at a twilight that will not see another dawn in this world, I look back on the day.

I made mistakes
Lots of mistakes, some of which tempt me to brand that person I was as selfish, egotistical, and sometimes downright cruel.

Worthy of being cast into the outer dark, unloved, unwanted.

And yet... that person is a part of what I am now. The judge I am almost longing to become is a wounded hyena, snapping at his own entrails.

I can't afford that kind of self-destruction, not with my audience in the Throne Room so very near.

I have to offer grace, forgiveness for wrongs, and recognition for what was done right, or at least done to the best of my ability.

True for me.

True for America.


We live at end of history,
and little now remains
of Manifested Destiny
and The Plow That Broke The Plains.
Washington was racist,
and Lincoln, criminal,
San Juan Teddy fascist,
and JFK just dull
for his failure to admit
that the past's not real
and can blithely be rewrit
on lines of how we feel,
and MLK and Colonel Custer
stand side by side at final muster.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is POSSIBILITY.

Is there yet possibility
this land won't find its grave,
we'll turn back to civility,
and America be saved
from those who would tear, destroy
from their place within
with any tool they can employ;
but where do we begin?
There are no brazen charioteers
on rescue-ride down yonder hill;
no, if aid may still betide
if has to come from will
and from what we choose to do;
it's up to us, friend, me and you.

Well, five minutes minus a couple seconds, and on the same topic.

Like a pat of butter, I'm on a roll.

Music from Jesus Jones, with Right Here, Right Now. A song from a better time.

Sylvia values ice cream.



 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Answer

As I write this, it's 71 degrees in the house and I'm having bone-rattling chills, even wearing a heavy winter coat and a fur hat. Not... well, I was about to say 'cool', but maybe 'not fun' instead, yeah?

Anyway, there is an answer and antidote to cancer, at least for me. It's simply stated as just having fun, living each moment, even the shivering ones, the best way I can.

And it is a choice. First thing in the morning, I can either ask Barb about her night, or bewail my own. What I do sets the tone of the day...is it all about me, or is it about grace?

It's a choice through every waking moment, to keep things light. These days I need help bathing, to get into and out of the tub. A couple of nights ago Barb apologised that we'd run out of body wash, and that I'd have to use shampoo. "It's moisturizing," she said.

(Now, please bear in mind that I try to stay in some kind of shape, and still have a 50" chest and 22" biceps. If I were 6'4" it would be imposing. As I'm 5'9" I look like an amiable ape.)

"Well, golly," I replied, "it does make me feel soft and feminine! Makes me want to put on a tutu, and twirl down the street, channeling Bette Midler."

Barb rolled her eyes. I thought about what I'd said, and realized how wrong that was, on many levels. "No, not really. I'm more of a Cyndi Lauper kind of gal...Girls just wanna have fu-un..."

Barb, one of these days your eyes are gonna get stuck like that.

Humour may not be the answer for everyone, but I have been through a variant of Kubler-Ross' stages of dying... through denial and defiance... and I've landed here, with a Woody Woodpecker laugh.

Meet it with aggression,
fight past where hope is gone,
for hell is now in session,
so meet the foe head-on.
Laugh while you are bleeding,
dance when you can't sleep;
the devil won't be heeding
the salt tears that you weep,
but there's one thing to ensure
distress through all of hell,
and that is smiling to endure,
and live your days so well
that you put, if marked to die
a last sharp stick in Satan's eye.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is DETERMINE. Ok...

It's just lately I am learnin'
what I wish I'd known from birth,
and that's letting God determine
all my steps upon the earth.
For so long I really thought
I was smart, could find my way,
but all that pride had really bought
was a load of stable-hay,
food for cows and maybe horses,
beds for goats and maybe sheep,
but the stars up in their courses
showed me Company to keep
and led me to the Golden Door,
bade me kneel on Throne-Room floor.

Made it!

Music from The Cyrkle, with a blast from the past, Red Rubber Ball.

Sylvia's always up for a laugh, especially when it includes ice cream.