Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Sundries, 2

  • All the recent auto recalls make me think: Could the pressure for annual model changes be part of the problem? It's a dumb idea, really, having entirely new lines of cars every single year. Wouldn't you rather buy a model that had been several years in development and testing?
  • Last week I had one of those weird moments a lot of you have probably experienced: running into someone "live" with whom you've just interacted on Facebook? It's odd: the virtual friend/the real friend (both the same person) standing in front of you at Starbucks.
  • Humor is dangerous these days. You have to be careful what you say (and about whom), or your life can dramatically change. Shakespeare often made fun of ignorant, unintelligent people--could he get away with it now? Probably. He also made fun of the old at times, and since I'm now stepping boldly into that constituency, I'm more sensitive to it than I used to be. Comedians routinely make fun of the elderly--as if old age is a condition you can really do something about. I often see memes on Facebook that ridicule the looks of the elderly, their sexual appetites, etc. We're all sensitive about humor when it involves us. I wonder: Is it possible that today's comedians focus so much entirely on sex and potty humor because it's, oddly, about the only "safe" subject left?
  • Seems obvious to me: The problems in VA hospitals have got to be due--at least in part (large part?)--to a shortage of physicians? If, say, you've got 10 doctors and 1000 patients, that could create some scheduling delays?
  • I used to think that graduation ceremonies for little kids were silly. And then ... last week I went to my grandson's pre-school graduation, and I found myself, unexpectedly, very touched by it all. One light moment, too: One young man (5 years old), called to the front to receive his diploma (laminated certificate), strode to the front, took a look at it, and said, "I don't want that!" and returned to his seat. Lots of laughter--from the teachers and administrators, from the crowd.
  • A lovely moment last week: walking with Joyce down to the John Brown plaque just on the other side of Rt. 303 from our house. The rhododendrons were is glorious bloom. The company was unsurpassed.
  • A lucky discovery on Netflix streaming last week--a comedy/stand-up special by Mike Birbiglia called My Girlfriend's Boyfriend. Joyce and I were very touched and impressed. He's really a storyteller--a sensitive, self-effacing one. I'm going to look for more of his work.

  • Finally--yesterday, I posted Vol. 5 of my Daily Doggerel series; this volume comprises "poems" from March-May 2014. Below the image is the Foreword from the little volume, available now on Amazon/Kindle ( link to Amazon).


doggerel or dogrel  (daw-ger-uhhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pnghttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngl, dog-er-]

1. a. comic or burlesque, and usually loose or irregular in measure.
    b. rude; crude; poor.

2. doggerel verse.

— from dictionary.com

An old riddle (answer below):
Round and round and round it goes,
The source but not the birth of clothes,
Wench and warrior, child and crone,
Without it dressed near barer bone.
And so, once again, I spin out into the world another volume of Daily Doggerel, the fifth in a series we all hope will soon end. As the poor readers of the earlier volumes know, a couple of years ago (April 2012) I began the daily habit of posting on Facebook a bit of verse I hopefully called “Daily Doggerel.” I say “hopefully” because I’m not sure the posts always reach the exalted level of Doggerel. (As in previous volumes, I have cut some of the more egregious failures.) On the other hand, it was daily—and, unfortunately, I’ve not missed a day since that initial post. That’s dedication … or madness.
These bits of ephemera deal with a variety of subjects—animals, mental health (mine), physical health (ditto), travel, movies and plays, family, holidays, and so on. Of late, I’ve also been posting some poems I call collectively “I Sing the Body Eclectic”—a bad pun (is there such a thing as a good pun?) on Walt Whitman’s famous “I Sing the Body Electric.” Whitman’s is a long poem, so I won’t paste it all here—but I will offer the first two stanzas:
I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
Whitman goes on awhile—a long while—in this vein. Anyway, it’s probably not a good idea to include a Whitman poem along with your own verse—whether or not you advertise yours as “doggerel.” It’s a bit like a talentless finger-painter publishing his works—with copies of Van Gogh masterpieces in the foreword. Not a wise plan.
But “wise planning” is not really a phrase all that appropriate in a collection of doggerel, is it? By definition the pieces are not evidence of wisdom but of … what? Of too much idle time? That it probably was a good idea for me to retire from teaching when I did? That Kindle Direct might want to re-think its publishing policies?
Anyway—“The Body Eclectic” pieces. These are all based on our habit of using body  parts in metaphorical ways. The umpire gave me the thumb, they fingered me for the crime—that sort of thing. I’ve got only a few of them left, but the “series” did run for about three months, on and off.
These past three months, I also continued to post each day a little ditty about the word-of-the-day on my tear-off calendar. That’s kind of fun, too. And, finally, I’ve been going through the works of Shakespeare, writing couplets each day as I summarize each play—each requiring about a month. I spent nearly two months, though, on Romeo and Juliet.
So … I did have a lot of fun generating (notice I didn’t say “writing”) these pieces. I’ve never really felt that the daily deadline was anything too odious; in fact, I actually have a small backlog of pieces that I can use if the day ever comes when I can’t think of anything to write about—though I’m grateful that day has not yet arrived. (I can’t speak for my readers—or maybe I can?)
And so … here we go again—about 100 pages of assorted pieces, all proudly wearing their “I Am Doggerel” T-shirts.

Oh … and the riddle? A spinning wheel—a metaphor fitting, of course, for all the arts. Rough fiber into thread. And, later, thread into fabric. And, later, fabric into all sorts of creations—from baby clothing to shrouds. Words—lines—rhythm and rhyme—sense and nonsense—poetry and doggerel.

Daniel Dyer

May 31, 2014

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