I am content, I do not care

Once more, I have been lazy and allowed my blog to go completely dormant over the last month. Did you miss me? Perhaps you did, perhaps you didn’t — today, I am content not to care.

Now, now — don’t be offended. That sounds far more harsh than I actually mean it to. I’m just playing with words from a poem I’ve just discovered that is not only excellent, but will perhaps become my life’s mantra from this point, onward: Careless Content by John Byrom.

I must confess that, before this afternoon, I had no idea who John Byrom was, and would still be unaware of him now had I not been forced by considerable boredom to poke around my bookshelves looking for something to read. In scanning my shelves, my eye landed on an anthology I’d bought a few years ago (very cheaply, might I add) at a MESS book sale: The New Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse (sounds exhilarating, does it not?). I dusted it off and flung it on my bed, “Why not?” I thought.

And so, while waiting on my supper to cook, I started to flip through. I found some hilarious poems, some boring ones, and some that were too terribly long and tried my patience. I also, however, found this one poem — Careless Content — that I have now read ten times over I love it so much. It’s funny how pieces of literature, art, or music find their way into your life just as you need them, and this one fell into my life at so perfect a time that I am once again a little weirded out by the rule of serendipity that seems to reign my life.

Of course, I couldn’t help but share. Here it is:

I am content, I do not care,
Wag as it will the world for me;
When fuss and fret was all my fare,
It got no ground, as I could see:
So, when away my caring went,
I counted cost, and was content.
With more of thanks, and less of thought,
I strive to make my matters meet;
To seek, what ancient sages sought,
Physic and food in sour and sweet;
To take what passes in good part,
And keep the hiccups from the heart.
With good and gentle-humour’d hearts
I choose to chat where’er I come,
Whate’er the subject be that starts;
But if I get among the glum,
I hold my tongue to tell the troth,
And keep my breath to cool my broth.
For chance or change, of peace or pain,
For Fortune’s favour, or her frown,
For lack or glut, for loss or gain,
I never dodge, nor up nor down;
But swing what way the ship shall swim,
Or tack about, with equal trim.
I suit not where I shall not speed,
Nor trace the turn of ev’ry tide;
If simple sense will not succeed,
I make no bustling, but abide:
For shining wealth, or scaring woe,
I force no friend, I fear no foe.
Of Ups and Downs, of Ins and Outs,
Of “they’re i’ th’ wrong,” and “we’re i’ th’ right,”
I shun the rancours, and the routs;
And, wishing well to every wight,
Whatever turn the matter takes,
I deem it all but ducks and drakes.
With whom I feast I do not fawn,
Nor if the folks should flout me, faint;
If wonted welcome be withdrawn,
I cook no kind of a complaint,—
With none dispos’d to disagree;
But like them best, who best like me.
Not that I rate myself the rule
How all my betters should behave;
But fame shall find me no man’s fool,
Nor to a set of men a slave;
I love a friendship free and frank,
And hate to hang upon a hank.
Fond of a true and trusty tie,
I never loose where’er I link;
Tho’, if a bus’ness budges by,
I talk thereon just as I think:
My word, my work, my heart, my hand,
Still on a side together stand.
If names or notions make a noise,
Whatever hap the question hath,
The point impartially I poise,
And read or write, but without wrath:
For, should I burn or break my brains,
Pray, who will pay me for my pains?
I love my neighbour as myself,
Myself like him too, by his leave;
Nor to his pleasure, pow’r or pelf,
Come I to crouch, as I conceive;
Dame nature doubtless has design’d
A man the monarch of his mind.
Now taste and try this temper, sirs,
Mood it and brood it in your breast;
Or, if ye ween, for worldly stirs
That man does right to mar his rest,
Let me be deft and debonair:
I am content, I do not care.

We are connected to everything

Tonight, I find myself having a quiet night in with the kids (not mine — my cousin’s, but they’re closer to my heart than any others).

While having a blast blowing bubbles on the deck, the eldest of the two (she’s 7) comes up to me and says, “Hey Sara, did you know that I’m touching everything in the world?”

I reply, “That’s pretty amazing. How do you figure that?”

“Well, if I’m standing on the deck, the deck is touching the ground, and the ground touches everything else, then I must be touching everything!” she declared, proudly.

“Why, I believe you’re right!” I said, pretending I hadn’t known that to begin with.

“Yeah!” she said, smiling, and danced away to blow more bubbles.

In truth, her simple reminder that we do touch everything brought me a huge smile. This is why I find children to be positively enlightening company — they’ll brighten your day without ever knowing they’re doing it.

Yeah, what she said!

Completely agreeing with someone else’s opinion is a rare thing. I agree with poet Alice Fulton and what she recently said about poetry in an interview with The New Yorker’s Book Bench though.

Funny that I find so many things to love on The Book Bench.

Anyway, what Fulton says about poetry is right in line with how I see it, being a bit of a poet myself. And here it is, for all to see!

How do you define poetry? What distinguishes it from prose?

Poetry emphasizes music, rhythm, reticence, multiplicity. These qualities, present in prose to varying degrees, are intensified in poetry, framed and underscored by the poetic line. The language of poetry is more distilled and oblique than the language of prose, which tends to be purposeful. A newspaper, for instance, is written to convey information efficiently. We don’t linger over news stories, reveling in the language, mesmerized by the unsaid. A poem, on the other hand, invites readers to fill in the blanks. It lives in the space between words. Like a joke or a koan, a poem can’t be explained. It has meaning, but it doesn’t have a “message;” its stratas are too vast and complex to be neatly summarized. There are unspoken implications at every turn; you have to intuit it, “get it.” It’s recursive, an infinite regress.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2010/07/our-poets-on-their-poetry-alice-fulton.html#ixzz0v7mIHsw1

And that, my friends, is what she said.

Because I haven’t been home all day

Because I haven’t been home all day, I have had no time to blog — scandal! I’ve been doing really well at posting once every day though, which was a goal I decided to revisit, and so I don’t intend to not post just because I don’t have something terribly insightful or lengthy to write. Nope, you won’t be getting thoughts on anything big today, but you will be getting small, short thoughts on some pretty random things, instead.

And so, in no particular order, here are some thoughts on this and that — just because:

1. Those Facebook Recommended Pages sure do know how to share some penetrating wisdom! Many people who like Music, also like Friends; many people who like Love also like Life — gee, no shit, Sherlock.

2. There sure are a lot of songs on my iPod that include the word “one” in their title.

3. Sitting in a room with someone else, saying very little and being productive is a lovely way to spend time.

4. I have learned that the less walking I do, the less mentally stable I am; it’s done wonders for my figure and for my mind.

5. I bloody well love Helen Mirren.

6. I also love Paul Bettany.

7. I once read a romance novel: just one, and just once.

8. Writing with pen and paper is extremely satisfying.

9. Holding a live sea-urchin in your hand is truly amazing.

10. I aim not to underestimate those around me because, if you’re watching, you might just see the best show of your life.

The date: July 27th, 2010

The time: many different times

The place: my mind

The purpose: fun

The verdict: Sara’s to tired to be blogging, but she still loves you, she swears!

My love/hate relationship with Twitter

Sometime back in the boring-ness that was this winter, I decided that I would start using Twitter. Why not, right? There were all sorts of things one could discover while tweeting and following, including day-to-day nonsense from celebrities, the thoughts of politicians (as filtered through a specially selected Twit who has the time to tweet, unlike the actual people themselves), and what your friends are saying, doing, feeling and trending during the day. When you’ve got little to do, it’s certainly a great diversion.

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Happy Homesick Sunday all!

So, as anyone who knows me can attest, I am habitually homesick on Sundays. This has come to bother me less and less lately, which is nice, but I still miss my parents and my brother (annoying as he can be, I still love him dearly) a load. To cope with this yearning for home, I often get nostalgic and search for things from my younger years so I can conjure up the feeling of being home.

On today’s agenda:  TV shows. Two of my favourites, actually. I think Sundays are the days I most curse my decision to not own a television (a decision I feel I should revisit for the coming winter, as winter in Newfoundland can be unreasonably depressing without the loving glow of a television set). But anyway, back to business.

Who doesn’t love some trivia? I mean, really — it’s great fun, especially when you can sit on your couch, in your pajamas, excitedly guessing answers while not making a fool of yourself on national television when you get them wrong. This is exactly the reason why every kid should watch Jeopardy with their parents. That, and it’s great for learning random trivia facts with which to confuse one’s friends and family members (which is excellent fun). I suppose this means I’m a bit of a nerd, but if that’s the case, then I absolutely revel in it. Trivia = love.

As an addendum, I also totally love to play Trivial Pursuit. The way to my heart goes not only through the OED, but through the question cards from the Trivial Pursuit Genus Edition.

Speaking of an obscene amount of knowledge, the next TV show I have a significant attachment to (and a particular nostalgia for) is Frasier. My mother and I watched Frasier together all the time, as it used to come on NTV every night at 7:30. It’s slightly embarrassing for me to admit, but I had a crush on Frasier. Honest — I totally did. My mother had a thing for Niles, which I thought was too hilarious for words, but Kelsey Grammar as Frasier Crane made me unreasonably happy: he knew a lot and was a bit of a snob, but was just bumbling enough to make me laugh and make him more human. Last Christmas there was a Frasier marathon on TV Tropolis and you’d better believe I watched the entire thing from start to finish.

And this is why, my friends, I spent so very much time by myself as a kid: liking trivia and Frasier doesn’t make one incredibly hip now, does it? …and it probably still doesn’t! Ah well, I’ll be cooler in the next life.

I hope.

Can’t blog — writing poetry.

I admit that I am a little peeved at myself for not having written a post with significant length this week, but it’s been a long week and my brain is not only tired, but also screaming at me to write poetry. And when one’s brain “strongly encourages” that one should write poetry, it’s nigh-on undeniable.

So, instead of writing the lengthy post I had planned for this evening, I will leave you with one of my favourite bits of poetry (it’s Shakespeare, are you surprised?).

If music and sweet poetry agree,

As they must needs (the sister and the brother),

Then must the love be great ‘twixt thee and me,

Because thou lov’st the one and I the other.

Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch

Upon the lute doth ravish human sense;

Spenser to me, whose deep conceit is such

As passing all conceit, needs no defense.

Thou lov’st to hear the sweet melodious sound

That Phoebus’ lute, the queen of music, makes;

And I in deep delight am chiefly drown’d

When as himself to singing he betakes.

One god is god of both (as poets feign),

One knight loves both, and both in thee remain.

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