Late-flowering Lust

28th of May, the day when the Lydians made peace with the Medes during the battle of Halys because the sun stopped in the sky.  Well, it was a solar eclipse.  More importantly it was an eclipse that was predicted by the philosopher Thales, one of the seven sages of ancient Greece.

The fact that there was a battle on May 28th is what interests me today.  The end of May is right in the heart of the battle season.  Spring planting is well done.  The grass is growing well to feed the cavalry mounts, and harvest is a long way away.

Not in Ireland.  Non in 2013. Today we have lovely early April weather, at the end of May.  Everything is behind.  Apple blossoms are only flowering now.  Will there be time for a crop to ripen?  The plums haven’t bloomed yet.

Irish communities are taking to their knees, praying for some good weather.  If this goes on much longer they will backtrack through early Christianity and start to sacrifice virgins under oaks using bronze sickles.  Good luck finding those virgins!

Then, just to add insult to injury I have a stinking cold.  This is day 6 of viruswatch.  I have had enough.  I want to emigrate.  So I am looking for recommendations.  I want to move to a country where they speak English, with no biting insects, killer spiders, poisonous snakes or large predatory carnivores.  I want a first world income with third world cost of living.  I want a summer where temperatures don’t rise above 30C and winters where they seldom fall below freezing.  It should have a university in the world top 100, a decent and free healthcare system, the rule of law, a free market economy and a democratic government.  That can’t be too hard, can it?

Late-Flowering Lust by John Betjeman

My head is bald, my breath is bad,
Unshaven is my chin,
I have not now the joys I had
When I was young in sin.

I run my fingers down your dress
With brandy-certain aim
And you respond to my caress
And maybe feel the same.

But I’ve a picture of my own
On this reunion night,
Wherein two skeletons are shewn
To hold each other tight;

Dark sockets look on emptiness
Which once was loving-eyed,
The mouth that opens for a kiss
Has got no tongue inside.

I cling to you inflamed with fear
As now you cling to me,
I feel how frail you are my dear
And wonder what will be–

A week? or twenty years remain?
And then–what kind of death?
A losing fight with frightful pain
Or a gasping fight for breath?

Too long we let our bodies cling,
We cannot hide disgust
At all the thoughts that in us spring
From this late-flowering lust.

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One hour to live.

We played an interesting game over dinner tonight.  You have one hour left before you die.  What would you do?

There are no “tricks” allowed.  You can’t cheat death.  You can’t fly around the world (you will be dead before you reach the airport).  You don’t have millions to spend.  Here and now in real time, what will you do with one hour.

I said I would have to make one final posting on this blog 🙂

Aside from that….a loaf of bread, a glass of wine.  Very reminiscent of Omar Khayyam poetry actually.  Some sample quatrains give a flavour of what I mean.  They are a mixed bag from a variety of translations, since the original was written in Persian.  Also in no particular order, I think Omar would like that.

“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”

Some for the glories of this world; and some
Sigh for The Prophet’s Paradise to come;
Ah, take the cash and let the credit go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant drum

And much as Wine has played the Infidel
And robbed me of my robe of Honour, well …
I often wonder what the vintners buy
One half so precious as the stuff they sell

For some we loved, the loveliest and best
That from His rolling vintage Time has pressed,
Have drunk their glass a round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest

But helpless pieces in the game He plays
Upon this chequer-board of Nights and Days
He hither and thither moves, and checks … and slays
Then one by one, back in the Closet lays

“The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.

And do you think that unto such as you;
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew:
God gave the secret, and denied it me?–
Well, well, what matters it! Believe that, too.

“Did God set grapes a-growing, do you think,
And at the same time make it sin to drink?
Give thanks to Him who foreordained it thus–
Surely He loves to hear the glasses clink!”

The sphere upon which mortals come and go,
Has no end nor beginning that we know;
And none there is to tell us in plain truth:
Whence do we come and whither do we go.