27 March 2015
20 March 2015
One of the places where I release my idiom into he world of objects is in writing. As I sit here trying to make sense of what is above I am content. And when I read books (not just any books, however, only ones to which my idiom leads me—and that idiom comes from somewhere—I am at play.
10 March 2015
Mithridates, he died old
But Terence responds: If is good cheer you want, friends, there are sources more appropriate than poetry, and liquor seems to Terence the most effective antidote to depression and despair.
Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot/
To see the world as the world’s not.
Inebriated beyond consciousness, fallen drunk along the road, the world appears pleasant and hospitable until, alas, he awakens from his drunken stupor and realizes that the tale was all a lie: “The world, it was the old world yet,/I was I, my things were wet . . .” And so will begin another day. Some years later Samuel Beckett will have Pozzo pronounce something similar: “But¾but behind this veil of gentleness and peace night is charging and will burst upon us pop! Like that! just when we least expect it. That’s how it is on this bitch of an earth.”
Terence advises his friends that though the world has much good, it possesses, in fact, much less good than ill, and that they would do well to live their life expecting and preparing for that ill rather than hoping for and awaiting the good. Of his poetry he cautions his friends, that “Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale/Is not so brisk a brew as ale . . . If the smack is sour, The better for the embittered hour.” We toughen ourselves with small doses of the bitter that we be not destroyed by it when it inevitably assails us! There was a king in the East, Terence says, who knew how easy it was to poison the food upon which the king would feast, and so each day with each meal the king would add a small portion of “all that springs to birth/From the many-venomed earth.” And as “they” added arsenic to his meat and strychnine to his cup, his would-be assassins sat aghast at the failure of their poisons to effect any harm at all. Indeed, they “shook to see him drink it up.” The king had made himself immune to the poisons by imbibing a bit of them every day. “I will tell the tale I’m told,” Terence says, “Mithridates, he died old.”
I was sitting in my spin class this morning and Kathy was yelling at me to increase my pace by five RPMs and to raise my Watts by twenty percent, and was saying something about the lessons of adversity and pain, and I, weary and out of breath, spun my legs as fast (or as slow) as I could manage, and all I could think to say was that Mithridates, he died old. I pedaled harder, but only hard enough to inure me to the embitterment I would face outside. You see, I read the news today, oh boy!
05 March 2015
Hello, still, David.
02 March 2015
On Hate, Part One
In the classroom, then, do I hate my students, and do I teach my students to hate me?