Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday Rerun: I'm Private Practical, not Capt. Bringdown

Last summer, Peggy and I were going to visit a friend at a hospital located outside of Ellicott City, MD, which is one of those towns that just oozes quaintness and tiny stores and coffee shops and "divine" bakeries.  Off the main street (Main Street) we turned left and went up a hill, on serpentine roads around a wistful vista that wound back and forth and went all over the place, much like John Boehner's tax reduction policies.  There were dozens of houses located up there along the road leading to the hospital, and Peggy was so taken with the picturesque setting and the wonderfulness of being so close to the old mill town.  In a word, she was enchanted with the area.

Not to be Captain Bringdown, but I had to point out that residents along that long and winding road would be well-served to follow a strict program of fire prevention, because I think the local fire company would really play hell getting a ladder truck up that path, not to mention how hard it would be getting in or out of that neighborhood following a big blizzard like the one we had two of last winter.

Maybe that's why Peggy and I blend so well.  She sees the pure beauty of people feeding birds and squirrels; I envision the squirrel's second cousins, the rats and mice, chowing down at a public trough.  She sees someone's lovely front yard full of maples and oaks in a gracefully sloping sylvan wonderland; I wonder how long it takes to plow the long curving 45° angle driveway.  And my heavens, how my wonderful Peggy loves seeing deer along the road or in a distant field!  I see deer as large heavy objects that are always running out of the woods, crashing into cars and trucks. 

Peggy sees the lilting, tedious melodies of Enya and Yanni as the pinnacle of musical accomplishment, and yet she can't understand my devotion to Frank Zappa's songs.  And her favorite poems usually read like this:

The Swan  by Mary Oliver

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air -
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds -
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

Whereas, my kind of poetry reads and looks like a poem, instead of an unpunctuated essay:

The Boy and His Nuts  by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The boy stood on the burning deck,
Eating peanuts by the peck.
His mother called; he would not go,
because he loved those peanuts so.

No one is right or wrong, and I love the differences.  But if you had to guess which one of us giggles and guffaws over words such as, say, "Wadsworth" and "Longfellow,"  whom would you pick?


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