Schooldays

Rugby

 

Walking Away: by Cecil Day Lewis

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.

 

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Dedication

Trappist

In 1664 in La Trappe Abbey, Normandy, France, a religious reform movement began.  Monks who were dismayed by the relaxation of rules formed the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance.  The went back to the original monastic rules of St. Benedict.

The 48th Rule of St Benedict states ‘for then are they monks in truth, if they live by the work of their hands’ and the OCSO set out early on to devote themselves to excellence in what they did.  They made goods for sale, including cheese, bread, clothing etc.  They hit the jackpot when they moved into brewing.  OCSO is a bit of a mouthful, and so is the beer they made.  They rebranded as “Trappists” and continue to make some of the best beers in the world.

Last night I nipped over to the barn and bottled up my latest brew.  12 litres of trappist style beer.  A mahogany coloured ale, rich and malty, thick and foamy already even though it needs in bottle fermentation to condition it.  I can’t wait till it’s ready.

There is a lot to be said for dedication to excellence in your work.  Then again there’s more to be said for drinking beer.

Some people think Trappists take a vow of silence.  This is not true.  They just don’t waste words.  It has all been said, but there is plenty left to drink.

 

Beer; by Charles Bukowski

I don’t know how many bottles of beer
I have consumed while waiting for things
to get better
I dont know how much wine and whisky
and beer
mostly beer
I have consumed after
splits with women-
waiting for the phone to ring
waiting for the sound of footsteps,
and the phone to ring
waiting for the sounds of footsteps,
and the phone never rings
until much later
and the footsteps never arrive
until much later
when my stomach is coming up
out of my mouth
they arrive as fresh as spring flowers:
“what the hell have you done to yourself?
it will be 3 days before you can fuck me!”

the female is durable
she lives seven and one half years longer
than the male, and she drinks very little beer
because she knows its bad for the figure.

while we are going mad
they are out
dancing and laughing
with horney cowboys.

well, there’s beer
sacks and sacks of empty beer bottles
and when you pick one up
the bottle fall through the wet bottom
of the paper sack
rolling
clanking
spilling gray wet ash
and stale beer,
or the sacks fall over at 4 a.m.
in the morning
making the only sound in your life.

beer
rivers and seas of beer
the radio singing love songs
as the phone remains silent
and the walls stand
straight up and down
and beer is all there is.

Proud

Boscoreale

Cup from Boscoreale Treasure

A Roman General who returned a conquering hero was, at the pinnacle of his career, celebrated with a Triumph.  He rode through the streets in a chariot displaying the proofs of his success, the captives and the plunder.  He dispensed gifts and wealth to the people, and they worshiped him as a God for a day.

At the same time the Republican Romans liked to remind the General  that he was just a man amongst men.  They didn’t like Generals who got ideas above their station.  They employed two strategies to ground the general triumphant.  Firstly a priest rode behind him on the chariot, reminding him from time to time with the words “remember you are mortal”.  On a lighter note the troops brought the general back to earth with their songs.  Like soldiers the world over they reveled in bawdy rhymes and the butt of most of their songs was their own general.  There were no sacred cows and the victor received a thorough roasting.

We can all do with being brought down to earth from time to time.

 

Pride is a deceiving sense
you are master of the world;
an all conquering hero,
attended for every word.

Plumed in self-importance
inflated with success
how did your endeavour
end in such a mess?

The higher that you rise
the further that you fall
and when fully deflated
you feel so very small.

Self worth comes from
climbing out of that hole;
overcoming adversity
reveals the true soul.

D. Clancy, Aug 2016