What’s it all about?


Seasons come and seasons go, fortunes rise and fall, the tide is a constant ebb and flow, what is up will soon be down and what is down will rise again.  Laugh loudly in your joy and celebrate before the good times wither.  Weep to the full while sadness reigns because that too is a season and soon will pass.  Give your all to the moment, live in the now, the past is done and the future will arrive like a juggernaut and will crush the unwary beneath its wheels.

The Darkling Thrush; by Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

The Anarchy


On this day in 1120 Henry 1 of England was departing from Barfleur (near Cherbourg) in Normandy to return to England.  The Captain of the White Ship, Thomas Fitzstephen, offered his vessel to the King.  Henry did not sail on the vessel, but he placed his only legitimate son, William Adelin on board.

William decided that a party was in order and broke out some barrels of wine for the crew and passengers.  Accounts say there were 300 on board when the ship sailed.  They hit a rock and the ship sank with the loss of all but two lives.

The result was a constitutional crisis in England.  Henry nominated his daughter Matilda as his successor.  But Stephen of Blois, a nephew of Henry, usurped her rule.  The result was 18 years of civil war from 1135 to 1153 and the devastation of the economy of southern England.

The son of Matilda and Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, Henry Curtmantle, went on to become Henry II of England, the first Plantagenet king.  He married the most powerful woman in Europe, Elanor of Aquitaine.

The moral of this story is simple:  Don’t drink and sail!

“Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk.” – Sir Francis Chichester

“To the question, “When were your spirits at the lowest ebb?” the obvious answer seemed to be, “When the gin gave out.” – Sir Francis Chichester

Missing the target


It was on this day in 1642 that Abel Tasman discovered the island that bears his name.  Tasman is an explorer that I feel sorry for.  He is not remembered as a ‘great’ explorer like Captain Cook.  In his own lifetime his employers, the Dutch East India Company, expressed their disappointment with his findings.  They thought that a more diligent explorer might have made a better fist of mapping and exploring the territories that he found.

On his first voyage of discovery he sailed right around Australia, and managed to miss it!  Quite a feat.

When you see his track in 1642 it does seem very much like a sail by and not a discovery trip.  And when he did hit Tasmania, was he not curious to see how far north he could map the land?  But bear in mind the sailing technology of the time!  He was doing his best with what he had.  It was a huge task for them to land at all in Tasmania.  One of his crew had to swim to shore in a storm to plant a flag.  He tried to sail north but was blown away by the weather.  Even today the Bass Strait has a bit of a reputation with sailors.

He found New Zealand and he did not discover the Cook Straight which divides the islands, he thought it was a long inlet.  But then he thought that he was on the west coast of South America.  Remember that the charts were not very accurate in those days.  Also, they were under constant attack by the Maori on the coast of New Zealand, and had to use their cannon more than once to defend themselves.

The East India Company were not interested in maps.  They were looking for trade goods to bring back to Europe or areas to exploit and colonize.  They were disappointed because he found neither.  Had the weather been more favourable Tasman might have stumbled upon Botany Bay 100 years before Cook.

It is easy to criticize the failings of past explorers when we have the complete map in front of us.  But given the Charts and directions that were available to Tasman would we do any better?  He had no way to calculate longitude, only dead reckoning.  And yet he rounded the Australian continent on his first voyage and found his way safely home.  On his second voyage he confirmed the existence of the fabled ‘Terra incognita australis’ and mapped most of its north coastline.  He filled in a lot of knowledge gaps and gave subsequent explorers a far better idea of where to look.

Discovery of the New World: By Carter Revard

The creatures that we met this morning
marveled at our green skins
and scarlet eyes.
They lack antennae
and can’t be made to grasp
your proclamation that they are
our lawful food and prey and slaves,
nor can they seem to learn
their body-space is needed to materialize
our oxygen absorbers –
which they conceive are breathing
and thinking creatures whom they implore
at first as angels or (later) as devils
when they are being snuffed out
by an absorber swelling
into their space.
Their history bled from one this morning
while we were tasting his brain
in holographic rainbows
which we assembled into quite an interesting
set of legends –
that’s all it came to, though
the colors were quite lovely before we
poured them into our time;
the blue shift bleached away
meaningless circumstance and they would not fit
any of our truth-matrices –
there was, however,
a curious visual echo in their history
of our own coming to their earth;
a certain General Sherman
had said concerning a group of them
exactly what we were saying to you
about these creatures:
it is our destiny to asterize this planet,
and they will not be asterized,
so they must be wiped out.
We need their space and oxygen
which they do not know how to use,
yet they will not give up their gas unforced,
and we feel sure,
whatever our “agreements” made this morning,
we’ll have to kill them all:
the more we cook this orbit,
the fewer next time around.
We’ve finished burning all their crops
and killed their cattle.
They’ll have to come into our pens
and then we’ll get to study
the way our heart attacks and cancers spread among them,
since they seem not immune to these.
If we didn’t have this mission it might be sad
to see such helpless creatures die,
but never fear,
the riches of this place are ours
and worth whatever pain others may have to feel.
We’ll soon have it cleared
as in fact it is already, at the poles.
Then we will be safe, and rich, and happy here forever.

Playing our part


Nov 23rd in 534 BC is the first documented instance of Acting.  According to Aristotle it was an Icarian by the name of Thespis who first took on the character of others as an actor, instead of simply narrating their story.  He used different masks for different characters, used different voices, and even had conversations with himself, acting the parts of multiple characters at the same time.

All of this was revolutionary at the time.

As an homage to the ‘father of tragedy’ we call those who tread the boards “thespians”.

The masks he used to portray characters have become a universal symbol for the theater.  They also entered our vocabulary of self-examination.  We will often speak of “wearing a mask” when we adopt a persona that may not be natural to us.  Effectively we are “playing a part” much as an actor does.  If my child fails an exam I may “adopt the mask” of the stern parent and give him a lecture on the need for study.

“All the world’s a stage”; from As You Like IT by William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

JFK – 3 Random Facts


On the anniversary of the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (I was almost 2 months old) I have prepared three lesser known facts about him.

1.  His favourite boat was “Victura” (pictured above).  She is a Wianno Senior, a 25 ft gaff rigged sloop given to John as a 15th birthday present by his father.

2.  The favourite part of his visit to Ireland was the military drill by the Irish Army Cadets at the graves of the heroes of 1916 in Arbor Hill Cemetery.  Kennedy wanted a similar drill to be performed for the fallen at Arlington.  When he died the Irish Government sent a squad of cadets to perform the drill at the burial of Kennedy.

3.  His favourite poem was “I have a rendezvous with death”.  Some people think he foresaw his own demise.  I like to think he remained grounded.

I Have a Rendezvous with Death ; by Alan Seeger

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air-
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath-
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Poetry Barn for sale

Billy Brennans Barn

Ask any Irish person over the age of 30 if they remember “Billy Brennan’s Barn” and they’ll start talking to you about bicycles going by in twos and threes and the half talk code and the wink-and-elbow language.

Well guess what guys, it’s for sale!  Yes, you could be the proud owner of a piece of poetry history.  I had a half thought of buying it myself.  It would be a good place to store my collection of the cloths of heaven, my Grecian urn, my two vast and trunkless legs of stone, my squat pen, the caged bird, a red red rose and a poison tree.  Where do I get all this stuff?

Anyway, for those who were not raised to the bard of the bog, here is the relevant poem.  A poet, like a philosopher, has no place in his own country.

Iniskeen Road – July Evening; by Patrick Kavanagh

The bicycles go by in twos and threes –
There’s a dance in Billy Brennan’s barn to-night,
And there’s the half-talk code of mysteries
And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.
Half-past eight and there is not a spot
Upon a mile of road, no shadow thrown
That might turn out a man or woman, not
A footfall tapping secrecies of stone.
I have what every poet hates in spite
Of all the solemn talk of contemplation.
Oh, Alexander Selkirk knew the plight
Of being king and government and nation.
A road, a mile of kingdom, I am king
Of banks and stones and every blooming thing.

An Irish Giant


Ireland is often called the ‘Isle of Saints and Scholars’.  The reason for this is Celtic Orthodoxy.  During the dark ages, and the 5th Century in particular, civil systems in Europe broke down.  The Roman Empire fragmented under the migrations of Goths, Vandals, Alans, Suebi, Burgundians, Franks, Huns, Lombards etc.  The Christian Church in the West lost cohesion and direction in this period.  Heresies flourished in the vacuum of central control.

Continental reformists tried to hold it together, the most famous being St Augustine (who resolved the Faith Vs Belief dichotomy and established the “City of God” as an ideal that could withstand the loss of place) and St Benedict (who gave the best known of the Monastic rules).  Benedict died in 543 AD, the year in which St Columbanus was born.

Columbanus is the monk who most represents what people mean when they talk of the isle of saints and scholars.  Columbanus brought Celtic Orthodoxy to Europe.  The Irish Monks began a pagan conversion mission with Germanic tribes that can be argued to have persisted in one form or another until the Eastern and Western Churches met in the Baltic States in the 14th Century Northern Crusades.

The story goes like this.  Christianity came to Ireland in the early 5th Century, when Europe was in turmoil.  A strong Celtic monastic tradition was founded and the monasteries were the dominant clerical force in Ireland.  The Irish Monasteries were insulated from the turmoil in Europe, and the invasions of pagan Angles, Saxons and Jutes experienced in England.  They acted as a reservoir for orthodox Christianity.  They also served as a well of education.  Nobles from all over Western Europe sent children to Irish Monasteries for an education in a safe environment.  Many of these children returned to their own lands as educated Christians.  They were a cohesive force for the development of Christian cooperation, and paved the way for the ascent of Christian kings in Europe such as Clovis and the Merovingian dynasty.

Arianism was more pervasive than Catholicism in the Frankish courts when Clovis came to power.  His alignment with Catholicism was controversial and may have lost him some military support.  Ultimately it gained him allies from non-Frankish races, such as the Britons and the remaining Gallo-Roman aristocracy.

Without Clovis we would not have had a unified Frankish kingdom in the West.  Without the Franks Charles Martell could not have risen to power.  The Armies of Islam could have smashed Europe unopposed in the 8th Century.  We would never have had Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire.  The Irish Monastic Education system was the little acorn from which the Holy Roman Empire grew.

From Ireland St Columba established missions to Britain from his Monastery in Iona in Scotland, seeking to convert the pagan Picts of Scotland and the Anglo-Saxon tribes of England.

At the same time St Columbanus took Irish missions to mainland Europe.   The significance of his mission might be suggested by the fact that he took 12 companions or ‘apostles’ with him.   Of these two Columbanus can be seen to have had the more significant effect on the wider stage.  In Europe he established Celtic monasteries in France and in Italy.  He challenged the emergence of heresies such as Arianism and Nestorianism.  In doing so he was criticizing Papal Authority, because he questioned why the Papacy was allowing the dilution of orthodoxy.  He established an Irish monastic tradition on the European mainland which demanded a response from Rome.

Many Celtic practices differed from those in Rome.  The rule of Columbanus was stricter than the rule of Benedict.  The tonsure was visibly different, the Celtic monks shaving the front of the head and the Romans shaving the crown.  The date of Easter was calculated differently also.  All of these things brought the Irish monks on a collision course with Rome.

Columbanus, by coincidence, was born in the year Benedict died, and died on this day in the year 615AD.   Over the following decades the Papacy rebuilt its influence and Roman practices replaced those of the Irish.  It was 50 years before the clash between the Celts and Rome was fully and finally resolved by the Synod of Whitby in the Jute Kingdom of Northumbria, in England.

The legend of Ireland, as an isle of Saints and Scholars, was attributable to actions that happened largely in a period of only 50 years but had impacts over thousands of years.

Marketing Disaster


On this day in 1959 the Ford Motor Company announced that it was discontinuing the Edsel.  It was the greatest disaster in US automobile history.  The Edsel did not even sell half the volume required to break even on the investment.

There are hundreds, and I mean literally hundreds, of theories as to why the line failed.  There is a lot of talk about styling, the horse-collar grille that was mocked at the time for looking like someone sucking a lemon, and was likened to a vulva.

Others contextualise the failure in terms of the late 1950’s economic downturn, which may have played a part.  The car market was contracting, not a great time to introduce a new marque.

There is a lot of material on the internal politics of the organisation, and how the divisions were competing with each other.  Also how Robert McNamara was a Ford purist, and disliked the proliferation of brands.  There is criticism that Henry Ford II was just not the man his father was.  Of course he wasn’t, Ford was now a public company, not a personal fiefdom!

For me the failure comes down to marketing, and to the most simple, basic aspects of marketing.


The company did not test the designs with real customers.  They promised an all new singing and dancing product, but built it on existing models.  When the public eventually saw the product they could see nothing new or special or unique about it.  If anything it looked dated.

They never got the positioning right.  In the customers mind there was no compelling reason why you should buy an Edsel.  These days the positioning of the product comes very early in the development process.  Positioning will determine price, which determines cost, which determines features and benefits.  For Fords the product positioning appeared to be an afterthought, after it failed.


The pricing strategy for Ford was to move the Lincoln Brand, and the Continental in particular, upmarket to compete with Cadillac.  This was the right strategy and proved itself over time.

They then needed to create space between the Mercury brand, in the more luxury mid-range, and the Ford brand in the value range, to make space for the Edsel.  They did not get this balance right.

For instance, a full spec Ford brand, with all bells and whistles, should have retailed at more than the most basic Edsel.  Instead it was cheaper, making the Edsel seem very expensive.

More damaging still was the fact that most of the Edsels were priced to compete with Mercury, so if Edsel was successful it ran the risk of caniballising the Mercury brand with a slightly cheaper model.  This set up tensions between the dealerships, and the internal product managers.

Customers did not know if the Edsel was supposed to be more or less premium than Mercury.  When customers doubt, they avoid.


Edsel initially sold through a network of less than 1,200 dealers, in a market where GM dominated with 16,000 and both Ford and Chrysler had 10,000.  When the car was not selling these Edsel dealers immediately took on extra marques, diluting the offering.


The search for the Name of the Edsel is symptomatic of the problems that were going on.  They tried to come up with a name internally, with no success.  Initally it was called the E car, for Experimental.  They hired an ad agency to generate a name.  Foote, Cone & Belding came up with 6,000 names.  Fords commented that they paid for a name, not for 6,000.  Edsel was not a front running name in the report!  At a board meeting (not the place to choose names) the name Edsel was chosen to honour the father of Henry Ford II and son of the great Henry Ford.  Henry Junior hated it (he was absent from the meeting).

The company promised something new and exciting.  The build-up advertising was a teaser campaign, which showed blurred shots of the car, or small detail shots.  The cars were delivered to dealerships wrapped in paper to conceal them until the last moment.  When they were unveiled it was to a sigh of disappointment.  All build up and no bang!

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

The 1960 Edsel Comet was quickly reworked and launched under the Mercury Brand as an entry level Mercury (where Edsel should have been).  The plant set up for Edsel was retooled to produce the Ford Falcon series of cars which proved to be a great success for the company.

One clear lesson

Begin with positioning.  Know your USP, the unique sales proposition, why anyone should choose this product over all the others in the market!  If you don’t have a USP, go back to the drawing board.

If you want examples, Honda have a brilliant strategy which focuses on the quality of the engine.  Toyota focus on reliability.  And here is an interesting notion from Subaru.  Clearly aimed at brand loyalists!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guIJphOyCLM

Identity : Depth Vs Breadth


We all have multiple identities.  Not personalities, this is not a disorder.  Having multiple personalities is a problem, having multiple identities is healthy.

If you only have one identity you are at risk.  If that identity comes under attack you have nothing left.  Take an example of someone who focuses only on their job.  They don’t get married or have kids, so they are not a father or husband.  Their parents pass on.  They keep no contact with childhood friends, don’t join sports clubs, don’t have a social outlet.  They have only one identity, the person who goes to work.  At age 65 they are forced to retire.  Their one identity is removed from them.  This is a person in danger.

On the other end of the scale we know people who dip in and out of thousands of identities, without tying themselves down to any one with conviction.  They have a breadth of interests, but no depth in any one.  They may be the absent husband and father, the worker who gives little to the job, the fair weather sports fan, an identity butterfly who flits about the world and is never taken seriously.

We have a choice in identity selection.  We can choose who we want to be, how many identities we want to have and how deeply we want to bind ourselves to any given identity.  As children we take much of our identity from our surroundings, our parents, siblings, teachers, peers and our environment.

In our late teens we begin to experiment with our own particular identities.  One example is in the way we decorate our bedrooms, how we identify the space in the family house that is particularly “me”.  For instance it may be through the poster on your wall:  http://www.pinterest.com/donalclancy/iconic-bedroom-posters/  but we also use films, books, music, clothes, friends, consumer products and a raft of other things to play with.

Teenagers pull on and cast off identities as easily as they try on outfits when they go shopping.  Over time they spend more and more time wearing the ones that feel most comfortable.  But even much later in life we take on new identities all the time.  When we change job, move house, on the birth of a child, when they marry, on the birth of a grandchild, when our parents become infirm.  All through life we take on new identities.  Always it is a choice.  Who am I today?

Valjean’s Soliloquy; from Les Misérables by Boublil, Natel (French) and Kretzmer (English)


What have I done?
Sweet Jesus, what have I done?
Become a thief in the night,
Become a dog on the run
Have I fallen so far,
And is the hour so late
That nothing remains but the cry of my hate,
The cries in the dark that nobody hears,
Here where I stand at the turning of the years?

If there’s another way to go
I missed it twenty long years ago
My life was a war that could never be won
They gave me a number and murdered Valjean
When they chained me and left me for dead
Just for stealing a mouthful of bread

Yet why did I allow that man
To touch my soul and teach me love?
He treated me like any other
He gave me his trust
He called me brother
My life he claims for God above
Can such things be?
For I had come to hate the world
This world that always hated me

Take an eye for an eye!
Turn your heart into stone!
This is all I have lived for!
This is all I have known!

One word from him and I’d be back
Beneath the lash, upon the rack
Instead he offers me my freedom
I feel my shame inside me like a knife
He told me that I have a soul,
How does he know?
What spirit comes to move my life?
Is there another way to go?

I am reaching, but I fall
And the night is closing in
And I stare into the void
To the whirlpool of my sin
I’ll escape now from the world
From the world of Jean Valjean
Jean Valjean is nothing now
Another story must begin!

Helicopter parenting


In very broad, and very blunt terms, in the advertising world there are two types of parents.  Protective parents and enabling parents.  The Dettol ad from India above is a perfect example of a communication directed at protective parents.  Look at them.  They form a perfect shield around the kid to prevent him being “infected” by outside influences.   The kid is so closeted by the parents that he has no room to grow.  In case you haven’t already guessed, protective parents just love killing 99% of germs….Dead!

Protective parents see their role in life as defending the sanitised bubble in which their child lives from the ugly and very real dangers lurking in the outside world.  There are germs, diseases, pedophiles on every street corner, pushers giving out free samples of drugs, bullies in school, head lice, foreign immigrants.  Every driver is asleep at the wheel, rivers are deathtraps, there are razor blades in Halloween fruits.  All around them is a world of fear.  They are an advertisers dream.  If you have a spray that kills 99% of anything, they will buy it.

Readybrek cereal is another product that appeals to the protective parent.  The ads show the cereal as giving the child a radiant glow, an aura which acts like a personal Van Allen Belt to shield the child from colds, flu and germs, especially during the cold winter weather.


In the normal course of events the stress of being a protective parent is not sustained far into teenage years.  Besides, normal kids rebel against this over-protective parenting style.  But some parents never let go.  We call these the Helicopter parents.  They hover over their kids like a police helicopter following a key suspect.  I have met a few of them in University.  They are a real problem for their kids.  They want to write their papers, sit their exams, and do the kids job interviews.  The kids just can’t seem to shake them off, and are unable to make a single decision in their lives without interference from the helicopter parents.


At the other end of the scale of parenting are “enabling” parents.  These are the ones who believe that kids can only grow up into adulthood if they are allowed to make their own decisions, and make a few mistakes along the way.  If little Johnny leaps off the roof and breaks his leg the enabling parent sees it as a learning experience, as opposed to bad parenting.  They will invite all his friends over to sign the plaster cast, and mark it down as a normal milestone.  The horrified protective parent makes a note never to leave their child in that house ever again.

Enabling parents are addressed by ads that show kids developing in the absence of adult supervision.  The “Dirt is Good” Persil campaigns are directed at these mothers.  They celebrate dirty clothes as a sign that your kids are challenging themselves properly, getting out in the world, experiencing life and literally getting “down and dirty”.

Just as protective parents have a negative extreme in Helicopter parenting, enabling parents have a negative extreme in absent parenting.  Parenting that is so “enabling” that it is non-existent.  There are no boundaries, there is no supervision, the parents are physically or mentally absent from the lives of the children.  The Persil ad is quite subtle in this regard.  Somebody is washing the clothes, and it isn’t the kids.  There is clearly a parent present in the lives of these happy and enabled children.  The parent is supervising, but not intrusively.  By contrast, ads directed at protective parents almost always show the parent as being present.

Now, here is a poem to strike fear into the hearts of parents, and make them worry about what happens in the cinema and beyond!  O’Hara references the world of advertising a lot in his poetry, and (factoid of the day) is Don Draper’s favourite poet in the TV series “Mad Men”.


Ave Maria; by Frank O’Hara

Mothers of America
let your kids go to the movies!
get them out of the house so they won’t know what you’re up to
it’s true that fresh air is good for the body
but what about the soul
that grows in darkness, embossed by silvery images
and when you grow old as grow old you must
they won’t hate you
they won’t criticize you they won’t know
they’ll be in some glamorous country
they first saw on a Saturday afternoon or playing hookey

they may even be grateful to you
for their first sexual experience
which only cost you a quarter
and didn’t upset the peaceful home
they will know where candy bars come from
and gratuitous bags of popcorn
as gratuitous as leaving the movie before it’s over
with a pleasant stranger whose apartment is in the Heaven on Earth Bldg
near the Williamsburg Bridge
oh mothers you will have made the little tykes
so happy because if nobody does pick them up in the movies
they won’t know the difference
and if somebody does it’ll be sheer gravy
and they’ll have been truly entertained either way
instead of hanging around the yard
or up in their room
hating you
prematurely since you won’t have done anything horribly mean yet
except keeping them from the darker joys
it’s unforgivable the latter
so don’t blame me if you won’t take this advice
and the family breaks up
and your children grow old and blind in front of a TV set
movies you wouldn’t let them see when they were young