July 13, 2007

Poetry Friday: A very sad sonnet

We're in the third day of what's supposed to be a five-day heat wave, with temperatures over 30 Celsius (in the 90s F). We don't have an air conditioner or even a ceiling fan, so the trick here is to close all the windows and pull the shades and curtains around 10 a.m. before the heat of the day comes wafting in. I open everything up around 8 pm, though the sun is still shining. Supper tonight will be vichyssoise (and no, the leeks aren't particularly local) and some more wild raspberries the kids discovered are ripe for the picking.

Tom is working just south of our house, on a house in the woods at the acreages, so the kids spend their days biking back and forth, helping Tom, filling his water jug, fetching popsicles from our freezer for the hot and sweaty builders.

A neighbor of ours had promised the kids a cat, but it wasn't until the kids were in the truck with the cat in their laps that the neighbor casually mentioned Kitty was pregnant. Davy renamed her Ann Miller, Laura named her Judy (Garland), and I suggested Judy Ann as, apparently, a not very good compromise. She's settling in nicely despite the name confusion. According to Davy, the kittens will be named, depending on sex, Frank (Sinatra), Gene (Kelly), Fred (Astaire), Ginger (Rogers), Debbie (Reynolds), etc. This from the kids who named some of this year's calves Roy (Rogers), Dale (Evans), Frank (Butler), and Annie (Oakley). Never a dull or modern moment around here.

Very Sad Sonnet
by Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943)

When as I count the many years I've risen
And bathed and brushed my teeth and
shaved and dressed,
How many years within this earthly prison
I've slaved and toiled, how many years
By social obligations, borne the numbing
Persistency of transcendental bores,
How many years I've bothered with the
The window-screens and countless household chores,
How many years, with problems to unravel,
I've faced all kinds of sorrow, pain and care --
The income tax return, the ills of travel,
The awful doubt of what one ought to wear --
Oh, then I think, befogged with dark misgiving,
How much I would have saved by never

* * *

Arthur Guiterman was an American poet and writer of light verse. He was born in Vienna, of American parents, in 1871. The family returned to the United States, where Guiterman graduated from the College of the City of New York (present-day City College) in 1891. He was a cofounder in 1910 of the Poetry Society of America, serving as its president in 1925-26.

Today's Lucky 13 Poetry Friday Round-up can be found at Chicken Spaghetti. Thanks Susan!

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