Oh blessed perseverance of the donkey that turns the water-wheel! Always the same pace. Always the same circles. One day after another: everyday the same. Without that, there would be no ripeness in the fruit, nor blossom in the orchard, nor scent of flowers in the garden. Carry this thought to your interior life.–The Way, 998
Dear Sir, it seems you’ve taken what is mine And done exactly what I’d hope to do: You’ve trimmed the fat, added a stiffer spine, And made of him a better person who, Despite his countless shortcomings, reflects His Master’s good intentions and who can Both be and act himself. I pay respects To you who took a boy and made a man.
Annual Hayshers' Reunion Breakfast, 12-23-20For Kim (But not for Brian, who stood us up. Again.)
Old friends and eggs (and lox) --
Meaningful, meandering talks --
A year in the making,
is ever a pleasure for me.
Twenty-sevenish years ago, my friend Kim (a dude) watched idly from the sidelines as I debated a bevy of my mamby-pamby co-religionists in a heated debate that took place in the lobby of the Newman Center at the University of Arizona. Beleaguered by fools and appeasers who maintained that morality could not be legislated, I — like noble Aragorn fending off the Nazgûl on Weathertop– valiantly took on all comers. “Of course you can legislate morality! That’s what laws do! Or do you think murder is only illegal because it’s messy?” (For the record, I don’t think goodness can be legislated, but laws are always a reflection of a society’s morals.)
At the time, the Newman Center was located across the street from the Tri-Delta sorority house where Kim worked as a “hasher” (i.e. dishwasher / slop slinger). Kim was — and still is — a devout Evangelical, but he would frequently pop into the Newman Center to pray. (He’s cool like that.) Anyway, after I vanquished all those ninnies, he — like the mysterious Ranger Strider at the Prancing Pony in Bree — approached.
“I’m on your side,” he said.
“You have a funny way of showing it,” I didn’t.
“My name is Kim Brown. I’m impossibly cool. Wanna be friends? And, yeah, you heard right: I’m a dude named Kim.”
“Absolutely,” I said.
And that, more or less, is how Kim and I became friends. Eventually, he recruited me to work with him at the sorority and that’s where the picture above was taken. Most of the guys who signed up to work as hashers were undependable creeps / frat boys who just wanted to hit on the girls. They would inevitably bail, and when they did, Kim would propose one of his Christian friends as a replacement. The house mother always agreed to bring Kim’s friends on because we always (eventually) got our work done and never hit on the ladies. I forget where she was from, but she always called us “hayshers” instead of “hashers” and that’s what we’ve called ourselves ever since.
I don’t remember when we started meeting up for breakfast, but it’s been an annual tradition for a while now and it’s always a great time. Our hilarious friend and fellow haysher Brian joins us when he can, but he’s very responsible now that he’s no longer in a rock band with Kim. The cat’s in the cradle, Brian.
Many years and pounds ago, I kept a little blog called The Natalist Diaries. It was meant to be a field journal of my domestic safari. For some reason, I recently revisited it and found to my delight that I enjoyed what I had written. One of the things I used to do for fun on that site was compose short pieces of light verse for my own amusement (as a kind of adult recess) and post them. Reading them again, I found that some made me cringe and others were pretty charming. Anyway, that trip down memory lane (and Billy Collin’s MasterClass on poetry) has inspired me to resume my old habit of writing a Verse of the Day (V.O.T.D.) for my enjoyment and for any of my readers who have been waiting for me to post more stuff. (I’m working on it…)
I hope you enjoy. As I pointed out at my other site, these little poems are meant to be recess, not good poetry.
Please leave a comment, if only to say hello. I miss human interaction and I don’t spend much time on Facebook anymore. I will not miss this stupid pandemic when it’s over.
Verse of the Day for 12-21-20
Have long hair that'll
Impress you, if you've never seen it.
Still, I pity the ranch hand
In charge of their grooming --
It must be a hassle to clean it.
For the sake of keeping up momentum (and to reward Regina and Hans–howdy, y’all!), I’m posting something today even though it’s almost ten years old.
I mentioned this song in my previous post as an example of a poetic algorithm that I have been following to create poems and songs for a collection called “Paronomasia” that I hope to finish and publish some day. My poems “Cede” and “Block” are other works in the collection and, if you bother to follow the links, you’ll see that they are nothing at all like this song or this song. The only thing the pieces have in common are that they all meet the requirements I set for my algorithm: choose a one word title with more than one meaning and refer to the secondary meaning in the first line.
This particular song was inspired by a sign I saw on the side of the road on my way to work one day. It read, “Piano Lessens.” The person who placed the sign was no doubt trying to make a little money in the gig economy, but, being the remorseless grammar nazi that I am, I immediately shifted into attack mode, shrieking, “Vhat does ze piano lessen, dummkopf? Ze length auf ze mortgage? Ze weltschmerz? Vhat? Vhere in ze vorld is your direct object, you linguistic untermensch?!?”
I eventually got over it, but I had to write this song to do so. Anyway, I’m grateful for the dummkopf who put the sign out. Without him, this song wouldn’t exist. I’m also quite pleased with paronomasia in this song. It shouldn’t be too hard to catch the allusions (<–another word derived from the Latin word lūdere!) to John the Baptist.
I have made an exceedingly excrementitious recording of this song, but I’m loath to put it out for public consumption. If you’re desperate to hear me abuse the bass strings on my guitar and almost hit the high notes / remember all the lyrics of my own song, let me know and we can figure something out…
by Rob Drapeau
Verse 1: I have learned to let Love lead me Though I did not want to go Down the path that it had chosen as my road. But surrendering has freed me And I’ve found no better way to go, on my own.
Refrain 1: And I must decrease Like the sun in the winter sky giving way to the lengthening night ‘cause the dawn is stronger when the night is longer, And I am consumed by the love I know Like a candle burning low. As the flame gets brighter I’m growing lighter, oh.
Verse 2: For a time, I was so certain Of my wisdom. In my eyes, I could see no need for guidance. Oh, the pride! But my wisdom left me hurting. Tell me: what did I really know Of the way to go?
Refrain 1, then Bridge
Bridge: And I will rise. I will soar the skies. I lift my eyes And see it’s You, it’s You, it’s You…
Refrain 2: Who must increase Like the sun in the summer sky, Setting shadows all to flight ‘cause the Light is stronger and the night no longer. And I am consumed by the Love I know. Like a candle burning low, As the flame gets brighter, I’m growing lighter, oh. I’m growing lighter, oh.