I am at a complete loss for a subject to write about this week, at least any that would make me smile…other than my grandchildren (or Barbara) of course. The world this week is in a state of perpetual “it sucks.” Not a bit of unqualified uplifting news (even for Tom Brady fans).
Life this week is committed to defying the basic parameters of civilized behavior. Intolerance, indifference, violence, and selfishness seem the watchwords of our times. There is no place to turn for peace of soul. Even the bucolic woods surrounding my farm have turned on me with their venomous poison ivy.
In such a mood where can one turn except to writing poetry. No, not my own—that would require far too much talent—but in parodying others. It relaxes me. I hope it has a similar affect upon you…though not so much as to put you to sleep.
So, with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe and any Raven fans out there, here goes:
Once upon a midday early, while I wandered, quick and surly,
Over many a quaint and curious meadow of neglected chore—
While I prodded, briskly clipping, suddenly there came an itching,
As if from some gentle scraping, scraping from elbow to fore.
“‘Tis some hairy vine,” I muttered, “scraping me elbow to fore—
Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was on the first September;
And each separate shining three-leaf wrought its oil upon me more.
Eagerly I wished the tractor;—I’d foolishly forgot to factor
Would shield my skin from oh such sorrow—sorrow for the itch and more—
From the red and recurring blisters even angels itch and more—
Shameless scratching evermore.
And the silken, sad, uncertain bandage of each purple keratin
Chilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“‘Tis some shining three-leaf entreating access from my elbow to fore—
Some new shining three-leaf entreating access from my elbow to fore;—
This it is and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Ivy,” said I, “or if Oak, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was clipping, and so gently you came scraping,
And so faintly you came scraping, scraping my elbow to fore,
That I scarce was sure I felt you”—here I opened wide the door;—
For Urushiol and more.
Deep into that toxin peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no scratcher ever dared to dream before;
But the blister was unbroken, though the swelling reached Hoboken,
And the only word heard spoken was the whispered “itch and more.”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, “and more!”—
Should you scratch there will be more.
Back onto the elbow turning, all my arm upon me burning,
Soon again I heard a scraping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
’Tis the vine and nothing more!”
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
Out there stood a hairy vine of the poisoned sort before;
Not the least obeisance made it; not a minute moved or stayed it;
But, with mien of Trump-like hair, seemed to search beyond my fore—
Searching for a rhyme of Pallas just below my itching fore—
Searched, and that, and nothing more.
Was this hairy vine beguiling my sad fancy into smiling?
So at the grave and stern decorum of the ivy I swore,
“Leaflets three, let it be craven,” for on that I’m a maven,
Ghastly grim and ancient ivy that has me itching every night and more—
Tell me if thy worldly cure is what Methylprednisolone’s for.”
Quoth the three-leaf, “Itch no more.”
I think I’ll stop now at a half parody (please feel free to hyphenate “half” into an appropriate adjective of your choice).
Not because I’m afraid of what all you Poe folks out there might want to do to me, but because it’s time to reach for the Calamine lotion and call it a night.
Next week I’ll be at Bloody Scotland. A land where everything is perfect all the time. I know that’s true because Caro lives there. Can’t wait.