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Some demon or dastardly Muse got hold of The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections for they got wind of the notion of giving “The State of the Union” address. They’ve decided to do one. I received via certified carrier raven a scroll filled up with Board-reflections. It’s hard to read; there are tell-tale signs it was written by several hands. Many of the runes have been crossed out and new ones written in on the sidelines.  Someone seems to have spilled ink or mead on the third page making the writing unreadable. I think in the next Board meeting I will introduce to them word processing – and the concept of editing.

Here are the highlights Spo-fans may find amusing.  I’ve eliminated the name-calling and dangling particples.*

Food entries get an A+. These entries bring in lots of traffic and comments, as do suggestive titles that lure in the naïf and curious and the wicked old screws.

TBDHSR seem unanimous they loath the categories “Wicked words” and “Walking the dog”, possibly as they can’t pronounce “W” words well. Entries titled

“Spo-reflections on ……” make them sit up to see if I am going to be maudlin or profound, which they consider ‘poison at the box-office”.

They enjoy entries with pretty pictures and photos, especially of people hitting each other. They do not like ones with half-clad gentleman but they grudgingly admit they bring in the hits so they are passing on this one.

I am told to cease and desist the following Spo-isms:

 Tewksbury rats.

References to people’s height.

Activities involving grass-hills.

Oh the (fill in the blank) !

They like the word ‘thems’ as it has an ersatz-Old English tone and it reminds them(s) of their youth.

There was a unanimous decision (based the thumbprints in blood) under no circumstances am I to post any more entries with poetry. This is a disappointment for I like a good poem.  Before they connect the dots here is a video. The contents are quite apropos for today’s USA paranoid politics – and the poem reminds me of the Board.  Enjoy.


* I will tell you one exception: apparently my sobriquet around the office is “Troll-breath”.  I am not certain if this is funny or sad.


Quick – is there a poet in the house? I am driven to distraction trying to remember the name of the author and/or title of a certain poem. I have only one line to connect me to it, something about mother telling me what matters at a funeral not what you said but that you showed – but I doubt I have the words right.  Oh the pain.  Using The Google isn’t any help for it is a case or garbage in gets garbage out.  Typing in the words “Poem” and “Mother taught me” generates a myriad of close-enough-no-cigar poems (most of poor quality, written on Mother’s day). I suppose I should let it go so when I least expect it the actual poet/title/lines will suddenly pop into my Gulliver.

My memory lapse also happens with bits of lyrics to songs, but this is usually not a problem for long. Someone easily identifies song bits for me, sometimes coming up with the title of the tune even as I struggle to explain what it is I am trying to remember. Opera arias and show tunes are conveniently covered by a coterie of consultants (curiously, most are named Will). Alas, I don’t know of any Spo-fans who are expertise in poetry.

When I was a boy it was considered clever if not high-class to have a handful of poems memorized for sudden recitals (upon request) but these requests never came and I’ve lost the key to safety deposit box in my brain labelled “Poems: memorized”. Even the poetry books on the office shelf are a challenge to remember what poems are in which tome.

I should start writing down Spo-poems and favorites in some sort of work document for easy retrieval. This exercise may jostle my memory to recall how to recite a few of them – other than Mr. Eliot’s Guide to Practical Cats poems.  Spo-fans are welcome to leave in the comment his or her ‘favorite poem’ title(s) for me to look up and read. Who knows, maybe someone knows the poem about “what mother taught me” (author begins with a “B”).


St. Valentine ’s Day is not celebrated in the House of Spo other than Urs Truly buying sweeties for the candy dish.

Someday I should write an entry on “Cupid and Psyche” which is one of my favorite myths. It is a great story how Eros marries Mind (after many ordeals) to produce conscious state of being.


As a Valentine I offer Spo-fans this poem; it is one of my favorites:

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart. I give you an onion. It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light like the careful undressing of love. Here. It will blind you with tears like a lover. It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief. I am trying to be truthful. Not a cute card or a kissogram. I give you an onion. Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips, possessive and faithful as we are, for as long as we are. Take it. Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring, if you like. Lethal. Its scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife.

Newer Spo-fans may not know I like a good poem. I will stop the blog from time to time to post one.  They don’t often get read or evoke comments. But I like them.

This one is from Spoon Rive Anthology. In this tome the dead of Spoon River, IL tell tales from their graves of how their lives really were and their regrets and loves. They advise the living.  Here is what Marie Bateson says:

Marie Bateson

You observe the carven head

With the index finger pointing heavenward.

That is the direction, no doubt.

But how shall one follow it?

It is well to abstain from murder and lust,

To forgive, do good to others, worship God

Without graven images.

But these are external means after all

By which you chiefly do good to yourself. 

The inner kernel is freedom,

It is light, purity –

I can no more,

Find the goal or lose it, according to your vision. 



All day long things pop into me gulliver: memories, characters out of books and scenes from movies, songs, and words of wisdom from long ago mentors. As a shrink pause to  wonder ‘why’ this item suddenly appeared and what triggered it and what does it tell me about my situation or self. Sometimes these pop-ups are worthwhile to share with patients to illustrate a point.

Today –  for no apparent reasons yet realized – this poem or lyric – appeared:

I still remember a summer gone by

Why was it over so fast

I still remember when we said good-by

Why can’t our summertimes last?

Do you remember me? once I called you my own

I’m sad as I can be for it’s no fun all alone

Why can’t a memory roll away like a tear?

Why do I go to my window 

Hoping you will appear?

Cause I need you

Cause I miss you

Cause I wish you were here.

Curious: I can hear the song clearly but I can’t remember the context. I think it was in a movie. *  Going just with the words, the it appears to be about someone longing for another now lost to him or her. In my process of expanded imagination (as a good Jungian does) I sense this isn’t about me longing for some past love but someone – or something longing for me to return to it. I am not sure. Certainly it is about longing for something or someone that is no more.

It makes me think what is it I am missing and longing to reconnect with?  I don’t believe this is a literal longing for some past love; it is something more esoteric and profound. Indeed I hear it recited in a female voice; this makes me think it is a symbolic representation of something and not of someone.  Some sort of Anima message.

It is a bit unsettling. It isn’t so much I can’t deduce what it is or why it is popping up all of a sudden from the recesses of my pumpkin. What is concerning is its ‘past’ element. There is a longing to go back and retrieve something lost and reconnect. I am usually suspicious of “going back” as it is not forward. Yet I don’t feel this is a siren song. It sounds lost.

There is something of which I am out of touch calling me to join her/it.

Certainly the emotions it evokes are pathos and sadness.  So what is it I have lost in myself? Why is it repairing now? And how to I find it?

I need not worry. Eventually it will manifest itself consciously either from more careful analysis or merely in time. Truth and archetypal energies will be heard; if they don’t succeed the first time they keep at it (through dreams or daydreams or synchronicity) until the person connects with it.

Meanwhile I feel the melancholy of not finding the path to it.  I am missing something and I need to find what it is.

* I would be most grateful if some Spo-fan can ‘name that tune’ for me. I think knowing some of its actual context would help me to solve the mystery.

Until I have some decent time to write a decent entry, here is one os my favorite poems, apropos for the day…..

Valentine – Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

I associate June with strawberries and 5AM sunrises. The month’s official soundtrack is Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. I am very fond of the music; I never tire of the play. Happily I get another serving this summer when we go to Stratford, Ontario.

I love going into the forest of Athens and be part of the comic mismatch. I have to be careful when I see MND, for I know the play by heart; I tend to move my lips like a priest as he says his prayers.  Like the rude mechanicals I want a part. But being ‘slow of study’ I prefer the lion’s part.  If I could I would be Oberon if only for the poetry. *

I never tire of it. It’s an old favorite yet it is being forever done in a different manner.  I enjoy seeing the different interpretations and settings.**  I wonder what Stratford will do this summer.  I wouldn’t mind a traditional setting complete with gossamer and fairy-wings.

I have a recording of MND I made from LPs from a college dorm library. It emphasizes the somnolence; the fairies are quiet and soothing, talking almost in whispers.  It is puts me asleep no matter what.


You spotted snakes with double tongue,

Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;

Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,

Come not near our fairy queen.

Philomel, with melody

Sing in our sweet lullaby;

Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:

Never harm,

Nor spell nor charm,

Come our lovely lady nigh;

So, good night, with lullaby.

Weaving spiders, come not here;

Hence, you long-legg’d spinners, hence!

Beetles black, approach not near;

Worm nor snail, do no offence.

Philomel, with melody

Sing in our sweet lullaby;

Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:

Never harm,

Nor spell nor charm,

Come our lovely lady nigh;

So, good night, with lullaby.


Good night from Spo-land  !



  • Some say I am more like Titania: a fairy queen in pursuit of a Bottom.

** Only once has a production fallen flat. Some know-it-all at the University of Chicago decided to cut out Act I to start with Act II with Oberon and Puck in a homosexual relationship.


Urs Truly likes to read poems. 


NPR recently sent a link to a collection of poems titled “Poems to make grown men cry”. There were ten of them. By the time I got to Poem #4 I was ready to write myself a prescription for Prozac with a Xanax chaser. They were indeed marvelous but ye gods!  Harry Potter’s Dementors could do no better at sucking out the joy of your life.**


I am not a profound reader of poetry.  I tend to enjoy them on a rather superficial level. Most poems I read make no impact; often I don’t ‘get them’. But once in a while I find one that makes me shiver and quake. I am continually reading poetry, hoping to find yet another ‘thumping good poem’ to add to “Poems to make Spo emotional”.  I have poems for ‘every occasion’. Some give me comfort; others invariably cheer me up (Shel Silverstein’s poems do a fine job here).


I like that poetry can move me so.  A love of Poetry came to me later in life. I don’t recall being moved by them in my youth. I suppose poetry appreciation is a sort of wisdom, something that requires age and experience.


Spo-fans might ask if I have ever written any poetry. I wrote only one. It was a sonnet composed for a lady-love in my medical school class.  She accepted it with thanks without conviction. I doubt she even read the damned thing.  Looking back it seems a ridiculous thing to have done. I had one and only inspiration to write a poem and it was wasted so. Alas, I don’t have the soul of a poet; I wouldn’t have a clue how to compose another one. Spo-poems I fear would rival those of the Volgons.


All the same, I am grateful for poetry, including the ten lugubrious ditties I mentioned. They go into my ghost-bag of Thumping Good Poems.


Who needs Prozac or Xanax when I have Yeats and Mary Oliver?


** If you want a taste, read this one.  Or this one. 

This entry is one of bereavement, eulogy, and a bit of a cry….


I discovered through blog-land Big Ruby’s Guesthouse in Key West Florida has closed. This makes me sad.

I first went there in 1990; I was young and anything was possible. I returned nearly every year. As a consequence I have accumulated so many memories. I’ve met most of my long time friends there. It is in Key West I was inspired to make shirts. Some of my best memories with The Best Friend are from these trips.

And of course, this is where I met Someone. If we were to marry, Big Ruby’s would be my first choice.


Like a lot of places with so much joy, I wanted it to stay still and unaltered, waiting for me when I next needed it. And now it is no more. I doubt I will ever go back to Key West. It feels closed.

It touches upon the real issue, which is the passage of time. Big Ruby’s wasn’t a merely a resort, it was a symbol. It contained youth, love, life’s potentials, and so much more. Its demise is another shake up things fade and do no last. I am growing old. Friends I met there are also aged and disappearing on me. And there is nothing at present that has this magic.

After some bereavement I will focus back onto the present and move on. I will try to carry Big Ruby’s with me as I try to live life as well as I can.


I will end this with Mr. Gilbert’s poem “The Lost Hotels of Paris”


The Lord gives everything and charges by taking it back. What a bargain. 

Like being young for a while. We are
allowed to visit hearts of women,
to go into their bodies so we feel
no longer alone. We are permitted
romantic love with it’s bounty and half-life
of two years. It is right to mourn
for the small hotels of Paris that used to be
when we used to be. My mansard looking
down on Notre Dame every morning is gone,
and me listening to the bell at night.
Venice is no more. The best Greek Islands
have drowned in acceleration. But it’s the having
not the keeping that is the treasure.
Ginsberg came to my house one afternoon
and said he was giving up poetry
because it told lies, that language distorts.
I agreed, but asked what we have
that gets it right even that much.
We look up at the stars and they are
not there. We see the memory
of when they were, once upon a time.
And that too is more than enough.


In these recent weeks WordPress has sent several announcements new people are following my blog. This is a marvelous thing and I am honored so. It does make me  feel some pressure to “put out” something deep, insightful or at least humorous. I am more likely to success with the later.  Being a clown is easy; at an early age I realized people were laughing at me so I figured the least I could do was to try to be funny.

Alas, nothing profound nor doggerel is leaping out of the recesses of my pumpkin. All I have today is dust thoughts.  Apparently this is not the first time dust has evoked my ire.  For no good reason I’ve been preoccupied again with the stuff.  I’ve discovered dust accumulates on the tops of all the picture frames. Even the light switches are surmounted by a thin gray film. There is a mild satisfaction to wetting a rag or paper towel and making a quick sweep across a frame and coming away with a grimy gray spot, knowing the world is just a little more clean from my sublimated OCD.

Like a lot of ‘hobbies’ when I find amusement in something I tend to go with it. I am flitting around the house looking for dusty tops such as found on the back of chairs or the tops of bed knobs. Jolly good fun. “Give Alice two pencils and she will be amused for hours” goes the expression.

No doubt this zany past time will peak and dissipate when I grow bored or there are no more unswiped surfaces or Someone takes away my Windex or I am finally medicated.

Dust – Sydney King Russell

Agatha Morley 

All her life 

Complained of dust 

like a good wife.

Dust on the table,

Dust on the chair.

Dust on the mantel 

she could not bear.

She forgave faults 

In man and child

But a dusty shelf 

Would set her wild.

She bore with sin 

Without protest,

But dust thoughts preyed

Upon her rest.

Agatha Morley

Is sleeping sounds

Six feet under 

The mouldy ground.

Six feet under

The earth she lies

With dust at her feet

And dust in her eyes.

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