Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 24: Lazy Sunday, Water Park Again, Classic Saint Marty

It was a lazy Sunday.  Woke up at 9 a.m.  That's late.  For me, anyway.  I took a shower and then had breakfast al fresco once more.  Oatmeal and blueberries.  The morning was not quite so humid.  It was overcast, and there was a breeze.

I sat outside, said my prayers.  Some mornings, I don't always allow myself enough time to read my devotions and say my prayers.  When I don't, I feel as if my whole day is a little off.  I wasn't off today.

We spent most of the day at the water park.  My daughter decided to be a typical 15-year-old girl.  She went on a couple water slides, spent a great deal of time in the hot tub, texting on her iPhone.  After 40 minutes, she announced that she wanted to return to our room to take a shower.  That would have meant that we spent about $5 per minute for her to be at the water park.  I informed her that she needed to spend a little more time being social with real people.  She begrudgingly stuck around for another hour-and-a-half.

That was the only bump in the road today.  Didn't have to rush anywhere.  We had a leisurely dinner.  I had a chocolate martini and a French dip sandwich.  Then, I made a couple of s'mores for my kids.  It is now a little after ten o'clock at night.  The hot tub is open.

I am not looking forward to the end of this weekend.  I don't know when I'm going to get another vacation.  Maybe in another five or six months.  That thought depresses me a little bit.  But I'm not going to get all melancholy.  Instead, I'm going to enjoy these last few hours in this lovely place in the woods.

Two years ago, I was contemplating hell, thanks to poet Billy Collins. 

July 24, 2014:  "Hell," Billy Collins, Bed

I'm looking forward to going to bed tonight.  The cool covers and pillows.  The fan blowing across us like some lost Alberta clipper.  Darkness, and the warmth of my wife's hand on my arm or shoulder.  That sounds like paradise to me right now.

Which explains why the poem below appealed to me tonight.  It's a hell of a poem (incredibly labored pun intended), and it touches upon many of Billy Collins' favorite subjects--the collision of poetry with life and love and the ridiculous.  And it has that breathless moment at the end when the poem opens up like a chrysalis.

Saint Marty would kill to write a poem like this.


by:  Billy Collins

I have a feeling that it is much worse
than shopping for a mattress at a mall,

of greater duration without question,
and there is no random pitchforking here,
no licking flames to fear,
only this cavernous store with its maze of bedding.

Yet wandering past the jovial kings,
the more sensible queens,
and the cheerless singles
no scarlet sheet will ever cover,

I am thinking of a passage from the Inferno,
which I could fully bring to mind
and recite in English or even Italian

if the salesman who has been following us--
a crumpled pack of Newports
visible in the pocket of his short sleeve shirt--
would stop insisting for a moment
that we test this one, then this softer one,

which we do by lying down side by side,
arms rigid, figures on a tomb,
powerless to imagine what it would be like

to sleep or love this way
under the punishing rows of fluorescent lights,
which Dante might have included
had he been able to lie on his back between us here today.

What fresh hell is this?

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