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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Why Can't I Die?

People ask, with a dreadful diagnosis, and awful symptoms (I can see tumours in the mirror, for Pete's sake!)...why are you still here?

And I don't know. I'd ask my doctor, but I outlived him.

Maybe it's to help Barb with her life and with the dogs, maybe it's to write a few more sonnets... I just don't know, and sometimes I do wonder as to the point of it all.

It's gone on for far too long,
and I feel so alone,
and so far from being strong,
Lord, why can't I come home?
I have done that which You ask,
have tried to write and live in hope,
but I cannot fulfill this task,
and can no longer cope
with the blood and with the pain,
with what makes me weep at night;
why, oh, why must I remain
in this hopeless fight?
And God's answer never fails,
"Accept your Cross, and take the nails."

The real reason I'm staying, of course, is that I never went to a trade school that had surrender in the curriculum, and I see no point in learning it now.

Maybe you can decide to die, but I know that you can decide to live.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is TRUST.

Trust the Lord with all your might,
trust when it's all you can do.
Trust Him in the final fight,
and trust that He will carry you
across the blazing coals of hell,
across the raging storm-tossed seas,
'cross ruined lands you knew so well
where golden years were spent at ease.
Trust that there's a better place
that soon you'll see from His strong arms,
trust that there's a solid grace,
a wall between yourself and harms
that would leave you sore bereft;
trust with all the strength that's left!

Four minutes thirty. OK.

Music from Parsons Ghost, with Go Down Swinging.

Parsons Ghost's debut album is self-produced, and has real country roots; if you like them, support them through iTunes.

Sylvia suggests a simple reason for staying alive...ice cream!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Skydiving For Catholics

Just for a change of pace, here's an old Catholic joke, set to rhyme. (I'm Catholic, so I guess it's OK for me to tell?)

The canopy, it didn't open 
(and thus the rigger showed his worth),
and the jumper would be broken
upon that hard unyielding Earth.
"St. Francis, save me!" was his cry,
his face turned to onrushing land,
and in a twinkling he did lie
in a great and tender hand.
"Son, I must know you called on me
in truth; you see, I must be sure.
Did you call Frank of Assisi,
or Francis Xavier?"
And thus the moral here for you,
you'd best know who you're talking to.

Music from the Foo Fighters, with Learn To Fly.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is AWARE. I don't know...

I really thought I was aware
of life, and what I need,
and then I had an awful scare
when cows ate all my weed.
I'd put it out there in the sun
to get that crispy creme,
but then it all just came undone
and they came on the scene
and dipped their faces in the bowl,
and chewed, then showed pure bliss,
and in my heart it took a toll
that things came down to this,
that I knew not that the herd was nigh,
and now, alas, the steaks were high.

Four minutes, and hey, you were expecting Tennyson? And for the record, I don't use the stuff.

Sylvia knows who to talk to for ice cream, but while she's eating it, you can talk to the paw.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Hold On Tight

The author Steven Coonts once said that a young person should never whittle down dreams to fit into his or her hometown.

True for cancer, as well.

Dreams carry your heart into the future, and having given up on mine, I can now understand that its being a future you'll never see in this life is irrelevant.

The point is that when you keep the dream alive, you're already there.

When you let it die, the best part of you dies with it, and God weeps, for the killing of even an impossible hope is the biggest betrayal of His love.

Where, now, do I go from here,
when all's been left too late,
and circumstances make it clear
that my job's just to wait
for that fell knock on the door,
a cold hand on my shoulder;
I always thought there would be more.
I thought I might grow older.
I've fallen now to little things,
in hope of self-respect,
while shadows cover spreading wings
in dust of sad neglect,
and sometimes I wonder why
I have lost the will to try.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is GUESS. I guess I can do this.

Dude, I did not think I'd guess
so long ago, in glory days
that life would become a mess
and dreams would vanish in a haze
of pain and puke and things far worse
(humiliation in the dunny),
and that I must not choose to curse
the Lord my God, though it be funny
that I am felled from higher places
in which the learned looked up to me,
but in falling I've found graces
and a kind of victory
in smiling when most would blaspheme,
and, in smiling, live the dream.

Three minutes, and I'll stand by it 

Music from ELO, with Hold On Tight.

Sylvia is delighted to share her Ice Cream Dream.


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Smartest Dumb, Or Dumbest Smart?

The whole cancer thing's gotten so laughably awful (stand up, get lightheaded, and fall over... REALLY?) that I thought I would throw a question out there.

Would you rather be a dumb smart person, or a smart dumb person?

 Some folks learn by being told,
some from books upon a shelf,
but I will say that I ain't sold
'till I try it for myself.
Now I won't claim to have a lock
on smarts or wit or common sense,
and that is why I got a shock
by peeing on electric fence.
The spark, it moved from wire to me
with bright flash and almighty CRACK!,
and I was felled just like a tree
to rest a bit upon my back,
and wafting up into the air
was smoke from, yeah, you do know where.

Music from Smash Mouth, with All Star.

The Five Minute Friday prompt this week is stir. Challenging.

Did the angels stir the waters,
or was perhaps the boiling pool
lure for simple sons and daughters
who in hope would play the fool,
pushing to the sad line's head,
giving elbow to a chin
from a heart that went quite dead
in the hope that it might win
a path from the black despair,
from the generation-curse,
breathing foul miasmic air
with no shekel in the purse
of the soul condemned to rue
faith in magic shown untrue?

Three minutes, and that's probably obvious. Less Shakespeare than Oh, Dear.

Sylvia always knew dogs were smarter than people. She didn't need more evidence.


Thursday, June 2, 2022

Hijacked By A Fish

This post was originally supposed to be about the importance of a sense of purpose in one's life, but along the way it was waylaid by a punny fish.

The pain of cancer's really hard,
and time is like a tortoise,
so there's a pool in my backyard
for a senseless porpoise.
This is not what you might wish,
still less what you would ask,
but know, please, that this dotty fish
is well up for the task
of puncturing pomposity,
of soaking down the grave and grim
to banish faux-solemnity
with deluge from flapping fin
that leads into a back-flip path
which splash makes even Zealots laugh.

If you're interested in how these things get written, I came up with the first three quatrains in my head while taking care of the dogs. I figured that it would be easy to remember it, and so didn't write it down immediately.

Yeah, well...at that point I could only recall the first quatrain.

So I wrote the version shown below...and then recalled the original!

The pain of cancer's really hard,
and time is like a tortoise,
so there's a pool in my backyard
for a senseless porpoise.
He will soak the pompous
with joyful fins a-flapping,
infuriate the serious
(if they are caught napping)
with water from his blow-hole,
aimed with gleeful care
to wash the grim unsmiling soul
and let it breathe free air,
because there's not much we can do
but laugh, until this life is through.

Funny thing, though, this does kind of describe the Christian life, in which self-important solemnity is punctured (with, I think, a Holy glee) by rebirth in Christ, which restores the true and pure innocence of the soul, in which fun can take its deepest and most stable root. And the symbol early Christians used was...a fish!

Yeah, I know. A porpoise isn't a fish. Barb told me.

No accident, I think, that C. S. Lewis' autobiography is called 'Surprised By Joy'.

If you're with me so far, the Five Minute Friday prompt this week is DANGER. Oh, wow.

There's a danger upon waking,
there is danger when I sleep.
Jesus, do not be a stranger,
and please hold my soul to keep
if the ending comes in dream-time,
or it ends in sand outside;
either way I go in full prime
for the cancer just can't hide
a heart that jollies up the fear,
and guffaws at wracking pain,
letting loose of what's held dear
so that humour can remain,
and I'm gonna hit it big
in my Heaven stand-up gig.

Three minutes thirty. OK.

Music from Coldplay, with Life In Techicolour II.

Sylvia will investigate fishy happenings... after the ice cream.