THE FOOL'S PRAYER
by: Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)
HE royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"
The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.
He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!
"No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!
"'T is not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'T is by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.
"These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.
"The ill-timed truth we might have kept--
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say--
Who knows how grandly it had rung!
"Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders -- oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.
"Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!"
The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
"Be merciful to me, a fool!"
"The Fool's Prayer" is reprinted from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse.
by Anne Higgins
Suddenly it is August again, so hot,
I sit on the ground
in the garden of Carmel,
picking ripe cherry tomatoes
and eating them.
They are so ripe that the skin is split,
so warm and sweet
from the attentions of the sun,
the juice bursts in my mouth,
an ecstatic taste,
and I feel that I am in the mouth of summer,
sloshing in the saliva of August.
Hummingbirds halo me there,
in the great green silence,
and my own bursting heart
splits me with life.
"Cherry Tomatoes" by Anne Higgins from At the Year's Elbow. © Mellen Poetry Press, 2000
A recurring dream last night
In the Odd Fellows, there are so many nooks and crannies through which bats can squeeze that it is not unbelievable that we have nocturnal winged visitors in the dark hours of night.
I have a hand tool for catching them when they circle overhead.
It was made to be a landing net for fish
and many have been the lunker and smaller species of piscatorians
that I've landed in this old net. There was one I never could catch,
already written about.
Catching bats in this net is easy
like swinging at a tennis ball
although bats will zig and zag by their nature.
A determined netter will snag the creature
whereupon he (or she) is taken outside and carefully released.
Still Fickle Bat
A bat I thought was you
Fluttered around my head
Last night after the lights
were turned off
I opened the door
To let you find your way out
But you stayed
Would not go
Winging around my sought repose
Nibbling my ear lobes
The way you used to do
I went out myself
And you followed me
Joining another bat
Zig-zagging in the darkness
Both of you exchanged squeaks
I lay awake a long time
Wondering if you’d be back
The only way to keep you
Is to set you free
This illustration is from an as yet unpublished Dr Seuss Book
to be entitled WHICH PET SHOULD I GET?
puts us in mind of the current election frenzy.
Which candidate should I pick?
Our choice is clear.
The book comes out soon according to the recent review
in the NYT Book Review section.
The story got lost in the Seuss closing-up shop shuffle, apparently.
The illustration makes a good screensaver.
See 'Make Up Your Mind' screensaver.
Note: wheel chair goes back to a former day and
retained as a reminder;
fits the height of the Singer Sewing Machine desk well.
Catch and release
She wouldn't hurt a fly
Our observation has Dee catching
in two days that have somehow entered
our Odd Fellows apartment
perhaps owing to ill-fitting screens
or otherwise via very small creature admittance to
the otherwise unpenetrable 1882 downtown building;
which is a fortress.
Our cat KD loves catching the bugs and EATING them!
"Don't worry about it, Mom. I'll take care of it." she says.
Fly-swatters are unknown here
Dee puts a glass over the fly, hornet or wasp,
slides a card under the intruder and
lets it free out an open window.
It is part of her 'ministry', the editor says.
She prefers to not have the Raccoon mention it.
TM Note: There must have been some kind of fly hatch
going on of late. Numbers rapidly dying down presently.
ATTN: Berg Mgmt and prospective Odd Fellow tenants -
this is NOT the norm. The bldg is 99.99% bug-free.
Cleanliness here is assiduously maintained by Berg staff people.
Mike works on sink drain the other day.
WE'RE NOT TALKING ROSE-COLORED GLASSES.
For a quick treat
- Dee taught us this -
After washing and drying some grapes
put them in a bag in the freezer
And get some out when you feel like
eating a refreshing,round, bite-sized
which will at first feel like an ice 'cube'
with no taste
but it thaws fast in your mouth
and then the skin splits
as you bite down on it
and the grape flavor is plainly
and exsquisitely there.
now in assisted living
at the Avalon
We met him recently in Youmans Park in front
near the Waukesha water monument fountain
where we caught some sunshine together.
With his electric chair he rolled down from
his apartment now on the 5th floor (see marked
site on photo)
which he reached handily and unassisted;
that would be his want.
From his place Wis has a wonderful view down at the well-flowered Rotunda.
And being a corner unit he also commands a view down Broadway toward the Five Points.
Wis reaches me waiting on one of the park benches
with my Russell -Mocced (Berlin WI) feet reposing on
my folding footstool cane
which I carry by the shoulder strap
for the time being,
pushing out my own radius.
For info on the Russell shoes...
maybe an ordinary cold roast beef on whole wheat bread,
no pickles or onion, keeping his shaky hands steady
by placing his forearms firm on the edge of the table
and using both hands, the left to hold the sandwich in place,
and the right to cut it surely, corner to corner,
observing his progress through glasses that moments before
he wiped with his napkin, and then to see him lift half
onto the extra plate that he had asked the server to bring,
and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife
while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon,
her knife and her fork in their proper places,
then smoothes the starched white napkin over her knees
and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him.
"Splitting an Order" by Ted Kooser from Splitting an Order. © Copper Canyon Press, 2014.