Dawn Reader

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I Forget ...

Sure, I've forgotten things throughout my life. Boyhood, of course, is Pure Forgetfulness ... though maybe that's not the right phrase. When I was a kid, it was not so much that I forgot my parents' birthdays, anniversary, Father's Day, Mother's Day, etc.; it was that, well, it was my life that mattered, you know? They were adults. Free. What did they need from me?

How about respect? Love? Nah ...

I remember once asking my mother (when I was a boy): "There's a Mother's Day and a Father's Day--why isn't there a Children's Day?"  And Mom, ever quick, said, "Every day is Children's Day."

As I would subsequently learn.

Later on, I forgot other stuff. Homework (well, maybe not so much forgot as repressed or neglected). In our senior class play at Hiram High School on May 11, 1962--Ever Since Eve--I dropped a key line, walked over to the wings, mumbling, saw the canary cage standing there, a prop, and said--oh such a swift young man was I!--"Bird cage!" in a loud, ironic voice. And gestured wildly for the classmate waiting to come on. She was right in front of me. She whispered, "You haven't said your line." Accurate. I whispered in reply: "I don't know my line." Also accurate.

And on she came, saving my bacon, though it was already sizzling in the skillet of failure.

Oh, almost forgot: Another thing I could not remember. On one of our vocabulary quizzes in high school English (Mr. Brunelle!) I could not remember the definition of tacit. Tried every mnemonic trick there is. Nope. And so I subsequently placed it on my own vocab lists when I became a teacher--8th graders and 11th graders. And now I know: tacit means "silent or unspoken."

I think.

So ... throughout my life ... forgetfulness in one guise or another.

But this morning ... my All-Time Champion Act of Forgetfullness (so far?).

I walked over to Open Door Coffee Co. (as is my wont) about seven o'clock (a journey of about a quarter-mile), and when I got there and was unloading my stuff onto "my" table, I noticed that I seemed to have dropped one of my black gloves. Where?

I looked under the table. In my coat pockets (several times--an idiotic move, right? I mean, if it wasn't there the first time, why would it be there the 2nd, 3rd, 8th time?). On the coffee shop floor? Nope, nope, nope.

So ... outside I went. I looked down the sidewalk. No black glove. I retreated all the way down to the crosswalk (about 1/4 of the way home). Nope. Walking back (in a daze) to the shop, I heard a passing car honk at me. A few moments later I got a message via FB: A former student from long ago. (And, yes, dammit, I remembered her name!)

So ... I worked a couple of hours. Walked home. Saw the black glove lying on the table top where we keep our gloves.

Went upstairs. Asked Joyce about it. She'd found it on the floor by the table. Whew--don't have to buy some new gloves.

But here's the problem: I had walked all the way over to the coffee shop wearing only one glove. And did not notice I'd done so until I arrived!

I guess I'm like OJ Simpson, arriving home, missing a black glove.

Though I'm pretty sure I didn't kill anyone.

Or did I?

the damning evidence

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Immunotherapy: Session 5 of 6 (We Hope)

6:45 a.m.

In about a half-hour Joyce and I will head once again down to the Akron Red Cross to re-commence the procedure to withdraw my T-cells, which the Red Cross will then send a-winging  to Atlanta for a mid-week booster party (they will add the drug Provenge to help my T-cells wage a better war against this cancer that has been patiently gnawing away at me since December 2004 when I got the biopsy results).

On Friday morning we will go down to Seidman Cancer Center in University Circle to have those pumped-up T-cells returned to me. This morning's session will take only about two hours or so (thanks to the nettlesome catheter I now carry around, the one that features a tube that leads into my heart!); the blood return should take only about an hour.

Today's session takes longer because, like a very thirsty vampire, this machine withdraws all my blood during the process. (Unlike a very thirsty vampire, the machine then returns it to me, sans T-cells).

All of this, of course, is if All Goes Well--never a sure bet.

I will write later about how it all went ...

3:30 p.m.

It went pretty smoothly this morning--we got home, oh, about 11:15. The only little moment of worry was when, early in the process, the machine kept beeping, indicating that the flow in was not sufficient. So ... the nurse switched my lines: in became out; out became in. And all bubbled merrily along until I heard that final chirp and knew that this part of it all was over!

It's interesting how chilled I get while this is going on. I mean, it's not really surprising; Blood is flowing out of me; blood is warm; etc. But they pile heated blankets on me as well as a large heating pad about the size of a large pillowcase. Still, they have to replace the blankets about every forty-five minutes, the chattering of my teeth apparently an annoyance.

Joyce drove us back home to Hudson while I munched on a little bag of pretzels and a couple of granola bars (courtesy of the Red Cross). We got back about the time we ordinarily eat lunch, so eat lunch we did, and my stomach found no difficulty finding room in and among the ruins of pretzels and granola bars.

Afterward, I actually walked over to the coffee shop--read the local newspapers online, read some of Fools and Mortals, Bernard Cornwell's new novel about Richard Shakespeare (the Bard's brother, who also went to London and was an actor). Enjoying it. Getting some sly "in-jokes"--e.g., one character is an old priest named Brother Laurence .... remember Romeo & Juliet?

I did some other fussy work, chatted with my friend Chris (who was as surprised to see me as I was to be there).

Headed home. NAP! As I told Chris the other day, the only joy of this seemingly endless cycle of treatments is that I don't go to the health club in the afternoon to work out: The heart catheter can't get wet, etc. Awwww ... I so much miss the exercise bike! (And I'm sure it misses me!)

And so--if all goes well (never a certainty)--all of this will be over by Friday noon. Cross fingers.


Monday, February 26, 2018

Here Comes the Sun

Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, Ohio
February 26, 2018
I've always liked that Beatles song--"Here Comes the Sun"--which the Fab Four released in September 1969, a song, I see, written by George Harrison. It's got a buoyant, hopeful sound, doesn't it? (Link to the song on YouTube.) I would turn twenty-five that fall. Would marry in December.

Early in my middle-school teaching/play directing career, we used a recording of that song--on a 33 rpm!--as a musical transition between a couple of scenes in a play I'd written with some students & produced on May 15-16, 1970, a play we called The Lewis and Clark Expedition; or, Come with Me on the Swan Boats (clever title, eh?).*

We've had lousy weather the past couple of weeks here in northeastern Ohio: rain, freezing rain, snow, rain, freezing rain, snow, rain, freezing rain, snow, rain ...  Our (new) sump pump has been chugging away (in the dry basement!) about every ten minutes, and if it could speak, it would probably say, "I quit!"

The sun peeked out briefly yesterday afternoon--as if to say "Remember me?" I almost said, "No, I don't, actually." But before I could mutter the words, Sol exited, stage right.

But this morning?!?! Bright and powerful without a cloud to sully old Sol's face. The picture above I took this morning from my wonted perch at Open Door Coffee Company. I was happy to have Sol glaring in my face, a glare muted somewhat by the sun-curtains/shades they've recently installed. (Mercy can appear in the oddest guises, eh?) (The dark circle, by the way, is not a local eclipse but a large decal featuring the shop's logo.)

So ... this morning ... my dark mood lifted a little as Apollo began his diurnal ride across the sky, as I thought about the Beatles, as I remembered wonderful times with middle-school playwrights and actors who worked so hard to bring alive something that had never lived before and would never live again except in those bright, sunlit rooms of Memory.

*The early plays I wrote with kids always had an or and a subtitle; the kids would ask me each fall, "Are we doing an Or play this year?"

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday Sundries, 177

1. AOTW: I am dividing this week's award among all you tailgaters out there!

2. At the recommendation of someone I know well, I ordered and watched (Joyce did not join me) the Netflix DVD of John Wick (2014) with Keanu Reeves as a former Super Hitman, lethal and laconic (is there another type?), who wreaks his vengeance on the Russian mob when the scion of the family steals his Ford Mustang and kills his new puppy. (I am not making this up.) Scones of folks die, almost all shot by Wick, who never misses, of course, except when a miss will allow the plot to advance.

Bloody and horrifying, especially so in these grim days after another school shooting when the sound of rapid gunfire is a voice from hell.

No links or images today for this one.

And no excuse for me for watching it all (though it did take me four or five days). I will not be checking out the sequels.

3. We're delighted that Doc Martin is back, and we are streaming the latest season. Both of us love that series--and the motley mix of characters, the humor that is entertaining and painful at the same time.

4. I finished a couple of books this week ...

     - The first was in the series of novels I'm reading about Irish PI Jack Taylor (whom I met via the eponymous TV series)--Priest, a novel that features a grisly beheading of a priest, who, of course, turns out to have been a Bad Boy (with boys). Taylor--who battles with (and often loses to) alcohol--has a personal life that is darker than black. He's a former cop in Galway who now plays outside the system, administering vigilante justice when it's called for, and--in the last two novels, anyhow--suffering horrific end-of-the-novel experiences. Ken Bruen, author, is an excellent writer--literate and allusive (Taylor is a Big Reader)--but I'm gonna take a little break from the series, I think. Just reading about Taylor's Dark World makes my own sun dim.

     - The second is Manhattan Beach, the most recent novel by Jennifer Egan, whose works I began reading when I saw the glowing reviews of Beach when it first cam out in 2017. So, as is my wont, I got her earlier books (novels and a collection of stories) and read them in the order of their appearance--well, except for the story collection (Emerald City), her first book, which I read just before Beach.

The reviews of Beach indicated that it was more--what?--conventional than her earlier works, and this is somewhat true, I guess. I mean, there's a plot that involves the Mob in NYC. But it's hardly--pardon the pun--a Beach Read. She shifts points-of-view throughout (there are three major sets of eyeballs through which we look); she plays with Father Time (back and forth we go); she fools us (me) now and then.

It's World War II time--the home front--and our main character, Anna Kerrigan, a young woman, is growing up with a profoundly disabled sister (Lydia), a mom, missing (dead?) father (whom she has not seen since early girlhood).

She's working as kind of a Rosie-the-Riveter character on the waterfront, then decides she wants to become a diver (the kind with the full suit and metal globular head); she convinces the skeptical men in charge that she can do it, and ... well, don't want to spoil things.

The second p-o-v is her father's--earlier (when he was home) and later (when ... ain't tellin').

The third is a local Mob boss who employs her father and, later on, unwittingly, re-connects with Anna, now grown.

Egan artfully weaves all of these tales--lots of excitement, some Mob violence, some woman-convincing-dense-men segments. It's a novel about women, about abortion, about family, about war, about the desperation that can lead us all hither and yon.

Early in the novel, she writes about the beach and the sea--"an electric mixture of attraction and dread" (6). And this is true in so many other ways in this fine novel.

About the only complaint I have? (Nitpickery?) I felt her "dating" in the novel was a bit ... obtrusive. Mentions of films and music and cultural clues about what year it was--all seemed to me a little forced at times.

She's quite a talent, Jennifer Egan. Can't wait for the next one ...

5. Final Word--A word I liked this week from one of my various online word-of-the-day providers.

     - from dictionary.com

This one brought back a memory from the Hiram Schools--7th or 8th grade? 1956? 57? 58? We had a substitute Sunday school teacher, Aaron Kelker, the father of friend Johnny Kelker (who was a grade behind me), and the Admissions Director at Hiram College. He came to the class that Sunday morning at the Hiram Christian Church and spent the whole time telling us the story of Rasputin, of whom I'd never heard. And have never forgotten, thanks to Mr. Kelker's galvanizing story!

Rasputin [ra-spyoo-tin, -tn]
1. any person who exercises great but insidious influence.
2. Grigori Efimovich, 1871–1916, Siberian peasant monk who was very influential at the court of Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra.
... the dynamics of the situation do not permit him to be a Rasputin, whispering in Nixon's ear.
-- David Nevin, "Autocrat in the Action Arena," Life, September 5, 1969

Grigori Efimovich Rasputin (c1871-1916) was a Russian peasant and self-proclaimed mystic and holy man (he had no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church). By 1904 Rasputin was popular among the high society of St. Petersburg, and in 1906 he became the healer of Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, heir to the Russian throne and the hemophiliac son of Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and a carrier of hemophilia). In December 1916 Rasputin was murdered by Russian noblemen because of his influence over Czar Nicholas and the czarina.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Confirming What We Already Think

NOTE: I began this post a number of months ago (as you'll be able to tell), set it aside, and return to it here because of current events ...

Human transformations are pretty rare--so rare as to be remarkable. We remember Saul on the road to Damascus; we read James Joyce about epiphanies (changes are more common in youth, aren't they?).

Other changes can occur because of humiliation or fear. Corrupt politicians and death-row inmates find Jesus; straying spouses discover Fidelity and Sex Addiction Therapy; abusive, predatory men (caught in the web of #metoo), declare it's time to listen.

There are other reasons. Back in the 1970s when Firestone screwed over my father-in-law (he had worked for them his entire adult life), he transformed from a lifelong conservative to a political liberal, fiercely pro-union. He actually said to me something like this: "Those hippies on the TV have some good points." That is not something I would have heard from him before the company tried to finesse him out of his pension.

But most of us--barring some kind of Road-to-Damascus or other lightning-bolt-to-the-head experience--are fairly rigid in our thinking, especially in our political and religious thinking.

I was thinking about this recently while reading the book The Moral Arc (2015) by Michael Shermer. In that book (as I've mentioned here before?) he describes what psychologists have called the "confirmation bias." As Shermer puts it, "[W]e look for and find confirming evidence for what we already believe and we ignore or rationalize away disconfirming evidence" (386).

This is very easy to do in our highly polarized political world. As everyone knows, you can watch the news channel that spins things your way, read the newspapers that do the same, visit the websites, share the memes, etc. You can go all day without ever encountering--seriously--the views and evidence of the other side. (And even if you do, you can ignore it--or sniff in disdain and disgust.)

By the way, there's nothing new about this. I reviewed a book some years ago about 18th-century American newspapers. You talk about polarized.  Papers were openly partisan; you bought the one that made you comfortable and found comfort in its lies and distortions.

Anyway, I think--in a democracy--we have to fight this tendency in ourselves. We have to be skeptical. To look for evidence. To make sure our opinions are based on facts (or, at least, on the best available evidence) instead of on that turmoil boiling in our viscera--on those beliefs already lodged firmly in our minds.

Let me give you an example--with the warning that I am no saint in this regard. I don't really like hearing "the other side" any more than most other people do. But I try to try ...

Because of some recent shootings of policemen, there has been some concern about a War on Police. I find this horrifying. A beloved uncle was a lifelong cop. Early in his life, my father worked as a cop on the Portland (Ore.) waterfront. Some former students are involved in law enforcement. I'm especially friendly with a Hudson cop I often see in the coffee shop (no, he's not buying donuts). His wife's a teacher.

I need to say this, too: I have never lived in a dangerous place. I've felt safe my whole life. I'm a white male in America, and I know that the White Male Team has been in charge here since Jamestown. (Things are changing, of course--and this is good, but it makes many uneasy.) So I have no firsthand knowledge of the tensions between police and the poor, between police and nonwhites. I know only what I read. And what I read, of course, isn't good.

The other night we were watching via DVR an episode of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, a show with powerful lefty leanings (I'm a moderate lefty). On the show, he reported that the shootings of policemen are actually down during the Obama administration. (And the show ridiculed Fox News for its recent War on Police features.)

Is this true?

So I went to some neutral websites--the FBI and others--and checked. Take a look at the chart at the bottom of the page (assembled from FBI statistics and available on NPR's website). What's different now, I think, is the amount of attention the media give these horrible incidents. The numbers, however, clearly reflect a drop--though until the number reaches zero, no one should really feel good about it.

I see some problems, though. In the line of duty, the chart says. What about those who are off-duty, like Darren Goforth, the Texas sheriff's deputy, gunned down last year? Well, we need to look for other data.

The point I'm trying to make remains--we need to check, not simply share biased memes on Facebook and unfriend everyone who disagrees with us, leaving us lying in a warm bath of self-regard, muttering amid the bubbles about how awesomely right we are.

In recent days, of course, another school shooting--and gun debates are flaring again. On Facebook (my window into the world!) I see polarization sharpening. I see memes ridiculing kids (how dare they speak their stupid minds!) and gun-owners (how could they possibly think that more guns are the answer!). I read bizarre analogies, all, of course, tilted to confirm the firm beliefs of the one who's posting them.

And I grieve, again, for the division. Oh, I'm not naive: I know it's always been there--Left v. Right, etc. I was a young man in the turbulent 1960s, so I've seen it flare beyond even what we see now.

But there is no hope in division. Only despair. We must find the plateau where Reason dwells, and we must listen to those who struggle to journey there, too, even if their ideas don't precisely coincide with our own.

I think, for example, that almost everyone agrees that we will not be safer if everyone is walking around with a firearm (or two ... or five). It wasn't called the Wild West because it's alliterative! 

I don't want to live in the Wild West. I want to live in a place where people attend to Reason; where people work to eliminate, not increase, danger; where people adhere to fact, not preference; where people listen to one another; where ... Aw, hell, you know ...

Meanwhile, I can only watch in horror at how we're behaving and grieve for the world into which my grandsons are growing ...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Buh-bye to Whom?

I'll confess: Before I had to teach the difference between who and whom (and whoever and whomever--the differences are the same, by the way), I had a ... bit of a problem. My mother tried to help me when I was in high school, but that was not a good time for me to listen to Mom (I later learned what an idiot I'd been about that), but later on, having to teach the difference, I returned to Mom, who explained it to me so clearly--showed me so clearly--that I've never had a problem with it since.

Now, I have blogged here before about the difference (Oct. 26, 2016--here's a link to it), so I'll not repeat all of that.

But what got me thinking about it again is this: I read a lot of newer nonfiction books--not only to review for Kirkus Reviews (one a week) but also, well, just to read. And I've noticed in recent years that recent writers--and, of course, their editors and publishers--seem to be moving away from whom and whomever and just going with who and whoever.

I see constructions like this fairly frequently: She was the girl who I met back in middle school.

Now ... applying my trusty formula (see link to earlier blog), you would look at the entire clause that includes the who/whom choice (here, it's who/whom I met in middle school), and you determine what role that who/whom is playing only in its own clause. Ignore the rest of the sentence.

And here's where my mom's little trick helps: Replace who/whoever with he/she; replace whom/whomever with him/her.

So ... would you say Her I met back in middle school? Or She I met back in middle school? Sometimes it helps--as it does here--to move the word  in the clause: I met her back in middle school. So ... her is the obvious choice, so whom has to go there.

Simple, eh?

Anyway, one theory I'm considering here as I think about the evanescence of whom/whomever is that it sounds ... elitist. And in our resolutely egalitarian age, sounding elitist is a no-no.

And here's the odd thing: Perched atop my original post from 2016 is a cartoon that makes this exact point, and I'd entirely forgotten that cartoon until just now.

Anyway, in this era of whatever, whom/whomever is probably doomed.

I'm not all that upset about the language changing--it has always done that and always will (unless, like the Romans, we disappear, and our language dies with us). No, I guess what bothers me is the reason. This is a time when people--especially people in the public eye (politicians, etc.)--want to present an Everyman image and so are often reluctant to say that they have an advanced degree or went to a premier college or know the difference between who and whom.

So public figures tend to speak colloquially and keep their qualifications hidden. For the new synonym for educated is elitist.

And that, my friends, is pathetic, whoever/whomever (?) you are.*

Meanwhile, I will continue to observe the difference--and thank my mom, now 98, from who/whom I learned the distinction.

*I've also noticed, by the way, instances of what's called hypercorrection (using a less common word and thinking, by doing so, you are being more correct) with who/whom. I've heard people use whom incorrectly in a sentence in public because, I believe, they think it sounds ... better. More correct. It's like those uses of between you and I when the correct grammatical construction is between you and me.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Riper Diaper?

a stack of cloth diapers
I started thinking about diapers yesterday--and not, mind you, because I am nearing the Era of Depends. (I am not even considering them, by the way). Okay, I did wear some Depends in the aftermath of my prostate surgery in June 2005.* But that was temporary, Yo, and lasted only a few (endless) weeks.

But during those weeks, I must say, I was more than a bit worried that, oh, a car would strike me in the crosswalk, and the EMT on the scene would cry out, "Dude, this guy's wearing a diaper!"

Anyway, I was thinking about diapers because I saw a TV ad for them last night, and it made me think about how much this whole diaper-thing has changed since Joyce and I became parents on July 16, 1972.

Pampers and the like were available then (though not at all in the vast varieties of today), but they weren't cheap. And we were. (We were living on the salary of a 7th grade teacher (me) and a grad assistant (her), and money was tighter than my pants when I eat too much pizza.)

So, we subscribed to a diaper service. The company (whose name I can't recall) gave us a plastic container for the dirty ones (and there were a lot of those--and I will not comment about the pleasant aroma greeting us at the end of the week when we lifted that lid), and once a week they would come by and pick up the foul ones and gives us a week's supply of fresh ones. (By the way, I just checked Google and discovered there's still at least one service still in the area--Baby Bottoms Diaper Service in Stow, only a few miles from us. So ... link to their site! This was not the service we used.)

Joyce and I quickly mastered the art of changing a cloth diaper: removing the fouled one (secured in place with safety pins), tossing it in the container, cleaning the guilty area(s) on our son, folding and arranging the fresh one (with safety pins). And then behaving as if hours would ensue before the next change ... hah!

And so--after a couple of years--after the successful "potty training"--we felt as if we'd been released from some Federal maximum security facility.

Oh, sure, there were "accidents" now and again, but--oh!--the great relief!

I'm sure it's a coincidence, but we seemed to receive more visitors after the training ... I'm sure it had nothing to do with the improved odor in the house?!?!

*I did not buy them locally but went over to Kent to get them ... embarrassed, you know?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Provenge Sequence: Treatment #4 of 6

Monday, February 19

In about an hour (about 10:30 a.m.) we'll head once again up to Seidman Cancer Center in University Circle, where I will lie on a comfortable sort of recliner, get hooked up to a plastic bag full of my own energized T-cells, which have spent the weekend in Atlanta getting high on a drug (Provenge), a drug that will empower those cells to do a better job of fighting my metastatic prostate cancer (bones now).

Of the two procedures--withdrawal, return--this (the return) is far more "pleasant"--though that's hardly an adequate word. I think it should go even more smoothly today because, as I wrote the other day, I now have a catheter near the right side of my neck (with a tube from it running right into my heart! like a lover!). Everyone (who knows) says that it will happen more quickly than it did the previous time when they used one of the veins in my right arm. I hope so.

Not that I mind lying on a comfortable recliner, mind you. (I am retired, you know!) But I want to get all of this over. When I finish the treatment today, I will have only one more pair to undergo: one more withdrawal (a week from Tuesday at the Akron Red Cross), one more infusion (a week from Friday back at Seidman). And when it is all over next Friday, I think I may have to celebrate. Maybe eat two apples before supper instead of one? Nah, that sounds a little too wild for me ...

Joyce, I am sure, will be thrilled, as well, to see the end of this. Since this has started, she has been my chauffeur (at times), my bath-assistant (ever since I got this catheter), the beating heart beside me while I go through all of this. Oh, and she's been the photographer, too--taking photos of the process (not that I would otherwise forget!). I want those pictures. Badly.

Anyway, I will add a bit more to this when I return later this afternoon ....


Tuesday, February 20

Well, the best-laid plans of mice and men ... Old Bobby Burns knew a thing or a thousand, didn't he? We left the house at 10:30 yesterday and got to Seidman in plenty of time for the scheduled infusion at 12 noon.

But ...

Two things were immediate problems:

  1. I learned that the type of catheter they inserted in me last week is good only for the Red Cross withdrawals; it's too big for the infusion. (There is another type of catheter they could have inserted that would have accommodated both procedures.) So ... stick a little, talk a little, stick a little talk a little, stick-stick-stick, talk a lot, pick a little more... (with apologies to Meredith Willson & The Music Man). So ... it actually took only two sticks to get a vein in my right arm to accommodate the infusion of my own pumped-up T-cells.
  2. The T-cells, scheduled to arrive about 12:30, did not appear until about 1:30. We were all beginning to wonder if they were going to show up at all. During the infusion I talked with J, ran through (silently) some of the poems I've memorized, worked on memorizing a new one (see note below).
And then I learned that after the infusion (which takes about an hour) we would celebrate by my receiving two major injections:
  1. Xgeva (pronounced x-JEE-vuh), a monthly injection I get to increase bone strength--for a couple of reasons ... 
    1. My cancer has metastasized into my bones.
    2. The next injection I get (see below) can weaken bones.
    3. I get this shot in my triceps area--and for some reason it invariably hurts like a bad word I won't write on this Family Site.
  2. Lupron (LOO-prawn), a quarterly injection (in a butt cheek). Lupron hates testosterone, kills it--a good thing: The prostate cancer cells love testosterone)--but a bad thing in just about every other way. (See earlier posts about this drug.)
Finally, it was all over. I had sticks and pricks in my right arm (for the blood withdrawal, for Xgeva), in my left butt cheek--and, of course, the catheter, which, by the way, the nurse cleaned and sanitized: can't take chances with a device with a tube leading directly into my heart ...  She also changed the dressing, peeling away a big piece of tape--also invariably fun, eh?

Anyway, Joyce (my hero) drove home in the pouring rain on the cusp of Rush Hour. (I will resist making a metaphorical weather point here.) We arrived a little after 4:30 and immediately began preparation for supper.

I had a grilled cheese and tomato soup (one of the meals I cannot remember ever not having now and then), and I used some Tillamook cheese that I'd bought at Heinen's on Sunday, the same cheese that reminds me of my father, the same cheese that occasioned a Facebook poem I posted on February 10 (see below), the same cheese that dampened my eyes with each bite last night as I thought of my father, of all that has fled.

Yesterday, getting my own T-cells back
through my right arm.
*In the picture above you can see in my left hand a 3x5 card on which are some lines from Millay's "Renascence," a long poem I'm trying to memorize. An appropriate title, eh?

Tears in Heinen’s
February 4, 2018

A grocery store is not the place
Where you’re supposed to cry.
You fill your cart, insert your card,
Go home with what you buy.

But here I stand, tears in my eyes,
Beside a counter where
They slice some turkey, slice some cheese,
Slice other kinds of fare.

I’m waiting here for Joyce, who’s back
In produce (favorite spot!).
She’s picking through the vegetables
To choose what must be bought.

My eyes drift to the counter where
I stop—a closer look.
I read the label on some cheese—
And I read “Tillamook.”

And that’s the word that brings the tears,
Makes me profoundly sad.
For “Tillamook” I cannot see
And not think of my dad.

He loved that cheese—loved Oregon,
Where he was born and raised,
Where he then went to live again,
Where he then sat and gazed

In his retirement at the sea,
At coastal mountains, too.
And Tillamook (the town) was near—
The Head was in his view.*

Each week he’d buy some Tillamook—
Consume it all week long.
And later—when they had to move—
He knew it would be wrong

If he then gave up Tillamook,
And so he never would.
In Massachusetts, where they went,
There was no likelihood

That I would visit, find him low
Of cheese from Tillamook.
He watched his football, ate the cheese
While Mom just read a book.

And then in 1999
My father passed away.
He’s left me fatherless until
My own last dying day.

I think about him all the time—
And often with a sigh—
So seeing “Tillamook” today?
My only choice—to cry.

*Tillamook Head; Cannon Beach, OR 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Sundries, 176

1. AOTW: No one particularly stands out this week--oh, there were some folks who turned left right tn my face (sans signal), but this has become so commonplace that I can hardly dignify it with the AOTW Award, can I?

2. Some of you know that I've been reading aloud to Joyce (most nights) the complete poems of A. E. Housman. Until you read them all in a row, by the way, you have no real clue about how dark they are: youth dying, war, the loss of this and that ... Anyway, the other night, I read a stanza whose final word ended the reading. The reason? I had no idea what it meant. Here is the quatrain in question:

Their arms the rust hath eaten,
   Their statues none regard:
Arabia shall not sweeten
   Their dust, with all her nard.

Nard? WTH?

So, I grabbed my phone, checked Merriam-Webster, found this:

spike·nard noun \ˈspīkˌnärd, -ˌnȧd, -nə(r)d\
called also nard
1 a :  a costly ointment with a musky odor valued as a perfume in ancient times —
b :  an East Indian aromatic plant (Nardostachys jatamansi) of the family Valerianaceae from the dried roots and young stems of which the ointment spikenard is believed to have been derived

I will not say (because it's kind of gross) that it takes some nads to use nard in a rhyming slot in a poem.

This poem, by the way, is number III in Houseman's posthumous collection cleverly called More Poems (1936--the year he died).

3. This week (last night!) I finally finished Wilkie Collins' 1866 novel, Armadale, which I really loved. It's got some great characters, the most memorable of whom is a "Miss Gwylt," a scheming, angry, vengeful young woman (also very attractive--which matters here) who sets into motion a plot to murder Alan Armadale and take over his (considerable) property. The last thirty pages are about as exciting as any I've read in a Victorian novel.

But this is also a novel about friendship, about seduction (Miss Gwylt has no problem getting men to do things they shouldn't be doing--including a foolish old lawyer named Mr. Bashwood, who thinks he has a chance with her; he doesn't), about the transfer of property, about courtship, and a whole lot more.

I liked this sentence I read last night (in the Penguin Classics edition pictured above): It's in a letter written by an attorney (not Mr. Bashwood!) to his son: "We live, Augustus, in an age eminently favourable to the growth of all roguery which is careful enough to keep up appearances" (673).

I'm slowly making my way through all of Collins' novels. Next is Man and Wife (1870). It's on my nightstand right now!

4. We "enjoyed" streaming (Netflix) the new stand-up special by Chris Rock, Tambourine. I put enjoyed in quotation marks because a lot of it was painful--esp. the second half when he talked about his drug use, infidelity, divorce, child custody, etc. We have known Rock since he, a nervous very young man, first appeared on SNL a long, long time ago, and it was kind of tough to see him looking a bit worn from his life, a bit bitter, and sometimes even making generalizations about men and women that--in my experience, anyhow--just didn't ring true. But a talent--no question. (Link to trailer for the special.)

5. We're about to finish streaming (Acorn) Season 3 of Line of Duty, which grows ever more intense. I've come to care very much for some of the characters, and when they get in trouble, well, my heart goes pitter-patter!

6. Last Word: A word I liked this week from one of my various online word-of-the-day providers:

    - from wordsmith.org--a word with horrible relevance this week ...

molochize (MOL-uh-kyz)
verb tr.: To sacrifice.
After Moloch, a Canaanite god of the Bible, associated with the practice of child sacrifice. Earliest documented use: 1825.

“Look to the skies, then to the river, strike
Their hearts, and hold their babies up to it.
I think that they would Molochize them too,
To have the heavens clear.”

Alfred Tennyson; Harold; 1876.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

And the beat goes on ...

So where have I been the past couple of days? Places I didn't want to be.

On Thursday, Joyce and I drove up to the Main Campus of University Hospitals (University Circle), where I underwent some minor surgery (local anesthetic only) to install in my upper chest, near my clavicle, what's called a "central venous catheter"--a device that will help me continue with my immunotherapy treatments. (Here's a link to what WebMD says about them.)

As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago I had a bad experience at the Akron Red Cross, where the nurses were simply unable to acquire an accommodating vein in my left arm, and by the time I went home, my left arm looked as if it had been used for a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. And because of that failure, I had to miss one of my immunotherapy sessions.

So ... my oncologist thought it would be prudent (!) to install this device, and yesterday (Friday) we drove to the Akron Red Cross again, where it took only about two hours (and zero hassles) to withdraw all my blood, remove some T-cells (the warrior cells), return my blood to me. Those T-cells are now in Atlanta being super-charged with Provenge, a drug that will increase their ability to deal with my metastatic prostate cancer (which now has moved into my bones).

don'tcha love the hat?
On Monday morning, Joyce and I will return to UH to have those cells re-infused--again, through the catheter that I now wear, a device, as I think of it, that kind of reminds me of Tony Stark's heart-like device--though, I confess, his is much cooler, sexier.

So, all of this has occasioned some ... change ... in my rowdy (!) lifestyle. No more showers, not until I get the thing removed in a couple of weeks. So, I sit in the bathtub, and Joyce washes my back and hair (while I hold a towel around my neck). No one's given me a bath--or helped me with one--since I was a Wee One, so this is ... strange.

But I do sit there in that warm water and marvel at my good fortune in the summer of 1969 to stumble into a Kent State classroom for a graduate course, to see a young woman sitting there, a young woman I had no chance of attracting (and so I didn't even try to "connect").

And then, one day--one magic day--she spoke to me ... and now, more than 48 years later, she gets to help me take a bath.

But anyway I keep wondering what on earth unloved people do when Mortality arrives and says, Yo, you are going down for a while!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Frankenstein at 200

1818 original title page

So ... it's the 200th anniversary of the original publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a book she published anonymously (at first); some revisions appeared in 1823 (arranged by her father, William Godwin) and in 1831--a major revision in which Mary toned down a few things. Most of us prefer the 1818 text.

This anniversary has not gone unnoticed. In the current New Yorker (Feb 12 & 19) is a retrospective piece by Jill Lepore ("It's Still Alive: Two Hundred Years of 'Frankenstein'"). (Link to it--the online version has a different title, as you'll see.) And a Facebook friend recently sent me a message that there was an NPR feature about it, as well. (Link to it.) And a bit of Googling will reveal any number of other pieces and tributes and whatever.

Of course, I have an intimate interest in all of this. Back in 2012 I published a YA biography of Mary Shelley on Kindle Direct (The Mother of the Monster: The Life and Times of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; link to it), and for the last ga-jillion years I've been working on a memoir about my fascination with Mary Shelley--Frankenstein Sundae: My Ten-Year Pursuit of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. On this site I serialized that book--a very, very very rough draft of it--a year or so ago, and I am currently still working on the final draft, which I hope to upload to Kindle Direct in the next few months.

What writers know is this: The subject doesn't sit still for you. New books keep coming out; new articles appear. I'm now reading a new book about the science behind Frankenstein (Making the Monster: The Science behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 2018, by Kathryn Harkup),  and another big book awaits me--Christopher Frayling's Frankenstein: The First 200 Years (Reel Art Press, 2017). It's endless, folks.

But I'm trying to read the key things, trying to keep up, though I know that the very moment I publish on Kindle Direct, much of it will soon be out of date. So it goes.

And there is one more odd connection between me and that story ...

Tomorrow I will go down to University Hospitals in Cleveland and have a device installed near my neck, a catheter that will allow physicians to infuse into me my own chemically enhanced (Frankensteined!) T-cells, empowering my body (we hope) to do a better job of fighting this silent cancer-killer that's been eating at me since late in 2004.

For a couple of weeks I will walk around with this medical device as part of my body.

And somewhere ... both Mary Shelley and Victor Frankenstein are smiling.

Oh, in the next couple of weeks, if you see me? Please--no open flames around me.* I can't be responsible for what will happen!

*Actually, this is not in the novel--just the films.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Update: Immunotherapy

Regular visitors here know that I have begun to undergo a series of six immunotherapy treatments designed to beef up my immune system to fight the cancer that doctors first detected in me in late 2004.

As most of you know, I've gone through surgery, radiation, hormone-deprivation therapy (all of which have delayed, not cured, my cancer). It began in my prostate (now gone: surgery) and has metastasized into my bones.

This latest therapy involves three pairs of sessions. For each pair I have T-cells withdrawn at the Akron Red Cross and then reinfused at Seidman Cancer Center (University Circle) a few days later--after those T-cells have been, well, beefed up down in Atlanta.

The first pair of sessions (a few weeks ago) went all right.

The second pair didn't. The nurses at the Red Cross could not access a vein in my left arm.* Eleven "sticks" brought nought but pain and bruises and frustration. And, okay, some anger. We aborted the session when my left arm, from hand to biceps, was, well, a mess. (That arm still looks as if it's been a torture site.)

So ... plans changed. Waiting. Waiting.

And I just got confirmation today about what's going to happen now. On Thursday morning Joyce and I will go down to Seidman, where I'll get a catheter installed near the right side of my neck, a procedure (and a device) that will allow easier access (to my blood!) and quicker sessions. On Friday I will go to the Red Cross for the second withdrawal session ... and on we go.

I'll have the catheter for a couple of weeks until all of this is over.

Which cannot be soon enough!

Anyway, if I do not post here all that regularly in the next couple of weeks, I've got an excuse that even a Mean Teacher Like Me would accept!

*I needed to have both left and right arms accessed: one for withdrawal, one for return after the T-cells have been removed. So ... it goes like this: blood out of one arm, blood into a machine to steal the T-cells, blood back in the other arm. Takes several hours.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Taxing Time

In about half an hour I'll head out for my annual Grim Visit. No, it's not an annual physical. It's my annual visit with our accountant to get ready for Taxing Time.

I spent quite a few hours over the weekend getting ready. Joyce and I both use Quicken, so we could easily print out our summary reports (aren't we virtuous?), but what takes time is getting all the receipts arranged.

I have learned, over the years, to categorize them as the months roll along. I have a little portable file box that sits right by my feet beneath my desk, and whenever a tax-related receipt or document comes in, I file it there in the relevant category (Utilities, Subscriptions, Donations, etc.). That helps.

But still ... I know that each February will feature some dreary hours during which I must remove those receipts and documents, put them in envelopes or file folders, label them, etc.

I'm getting depressed just describing this.

But ... 'tis done for this year!

And, as I said, I will soon head out to see our accountant; I will spend an hour or so with him; I will return to do something here that I forgot to do and that he reminded me I must do.

And I will wonder why it is that it always seems to be taxing time!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Sundries, 175

1. AOTW: Not hard this week. Coffee shop. Ten feet away. A woman (!) having a full-voice Skype call with another woman; iPad volume on HIGH. About ten minutes. And the entire conversation could be summarized like this: "How are you?" "I am fine."  Perhaps I'm being ... insensitive. Okay. So it goes in an Old Man's dotage!

2. On Friday night, Joyce and I went over to the Kent Cinemas to see Hostiles, a film whose run around here is just about over. (The only Kent showing the entire evening was at 6:20.) I had read some good reviews of it--and, having seen it, I understand. Just the cinematography alone is gorgeous and it all had a special effect on me because, you see, I love the West, the vistas, the mountains, the deserts, etc. I've driven across it all quite a few times--and I grew up during the age of the Western on TV and at the movies.

The actors were fine. And the story is about a crusty, anti-Indian U. S. Army captain (played well by Christian Bale), who is ordered to return to the Cheyenne reservation in Montana an older (sick) warrior (played by Wes Studi) and his family (he's been in custody for some years).

As I said, I loved the vistas--the shots that were clearly a tribute to John Ford, et al.

I thought, though, that it was a little PC, especially for a Western. Some characters transformed along the way, and you could see it coming from Minute One. Others were resolutely hateful and you knew they were not going to change (they didn't).

SPOILER ALERT ... I also thought the ending--the little Cheyenne child ending up with the white woman (Comanche had killed her husband and children), who's taking a train, post-adventure (and post-trauma) , to Chicago--was a little ... much. Why do all the Cheyenne--women and children (except for one) and men have to get killed ...? And the kid end up with Rosamund Pike? On a train to Chicago?

SPOILER ALERT OVER. (Link to film trailer.)

3. Joyce and I finished streaming the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge, based on the Elizabeth Strout novel and starring Frances McDormand (title role) and Richard Jenkins and, later, Bill Murray (!). Such a fine series. Both of us loved the book; both of us loved the series. Marriage. Parenthood. Friendships. All there. All the sorrow and the pain and disappointment that so many films avoid. (Link to series trailer.)

4. I finished two books since last I posted a "Sunday Sundries":

     - The first was the first book by Jennifer Egan, a collection of short stories called Emerald City, a 1996 volume that she first published in England in 1993. (I couldn't afford to buy one of those--a signed copy is going for about $500 today!).

I should explain that I'd never read Egan until I saw the fine reviews for her 2017 novel, Manhattan Beach (which I have begun now to read). I decided to read my way through Egan's previous novels--and did--but when I'd finished them, I wanted more, so I went with the story collection before launching into MB.

The stories are like her novels: fine, complex, shifting points of view. They deal with coming of age, loss, pain (sound like fun yet?). And sentences like this one: "The relief of being one step closer to something inevitable. The pleasure of ceasing to resist, of giving up" (137).

     - And I also finished the final novel I'd not yet read by William Faulkner, a journey I've been enjoying for about a year: The Reivers, 1962, published on June 4, barely a month before he died on July 6, 1962.

I had read Faulkner's most celebrated novels (The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!)--and I'd enjoyed teaching As I Lay Dying, which, by the way, was the first Faulkner novel I'd ever read: Hiram College, Dr. Abe C. Ravitz, 1965-ish.

Anyway, I started reading all the unread ones--in order--reading other things in between. (After a Faulkner you need a few breaths!) And now ... all gone. Sigh.

I saw the film of The Reivers: A Reminiscence, 1969 (with Steve McQueen, music by pre-Star Wars John Williams), released on Christmas Day; Joyce and I had been married five days. It must have been one of the first movies we saw as a married couple. I've got it ordered on Netflix DVD and will post something here once I've seen it.

It's a more frisky story than we normally associate with Faulkner--a "caper" story set in 1905. It involves a young boy, a stolen horse, a missing car, some horse races to retrieve the car, social class and human races, relationships with women, and even a stolen false tooth. Fun to read.

Near the end, the grandfather of Lucius (the boy) tells him: "Nothing is ever forgotten. Nothing is ever lost. It is too valuable" (Lib of Amer edition, 968). Well, I'm not so sure about that--but nice idea!

5. And some really good news: The fact that I even posted today is amazing because I meet with our accountant tomorrow (Monday) re: IRS, etc. And I'm ready! (Or at least I think I am: He generally sends me back for more homework!)

6. Final Word: A word I liked recently from one of my online word-of-the-day providers:

     - from dictionary.com

flakelet [fleyk-lit] noun
1. a small flake, as of snow.
I am amazed before a little flakelet of snow, at its loveliness, at the strangeness of its geometry, its combination of angles, at the marvellous chemistry which brought these curious atoms together.
-- Theodore Parker, Lessons from the World of Matter and the World of Man, 1865

Flakelet was first recorded in the 1880s.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Milestone; A Taxing Time

1. Just now I noticed on this site that yesterday's post was #2100 for DawnReader. That surely does not seem possible ... what human being has 2100 things to say about anything? I guess I must have, though I would not want to be incarcerated and forced to read them all through again. Isn't there something in the Constitution about "cruel and unusual punishment"? If not, there ought to be.

Anyway, I've had a lot of fun doing this and will keep rolling along, I guess, as long as I can.

I just checked my stats--as is my wont each 100 posts--and here's what I found:

429,758 total hits since I began--so that's ... [pause for arithmetic] ... almost 205 hits/per day. So ... not too bad, though (as I've observed before, my total hits probably equal about five minutes' worth of hits on some celebrity's site. So it goes in My Small World.

Anyway, here's a link to the very first post I did (also my wont on these anniversaries), a post whose title ("I Am Born") I stole from chapter one of Dickens' David Copperfield. Always good to steal from someone talened!
2. And as soon as I finish posting this, it will, indeed, be "taxing time"--time to start assembling and organizing all my tax information for our accountant, with whom I meet on Monday morning.

We have been going to the same accountant for decades now. We like him. He's local; his wife's a teacher (so he knows what our lives are like); he's amiable; he gave us the name of a good clock-repair guy whom we still use when tick-tock goes into sick-tock.

But it's a pain, isn't it, putting all this stuff together? My mom--who did the family taxes when I was growing up--would shut the door to their bedroom/study and stay there for hours. Dad would warn us to stay away from that door (though, after a bit, we needed no warning, believe me), and he would take us out for A&W Root Beer or some other generally rare delight. "Your mother's on the peck," he would sometimes say.

(On the peck--which, I assume, is an angry-bird allusion? Too lazy right now to look it up--but I will!)

Until Mom emerged, looking as if she'd just barely won a bout with the Kraken.

And now--time for me to see if I can survive with the Kraken this year ...*

*spell-check tried to change Kraken to Karen!

The Kraken, winning ...

Friday, February 9, 2018

Staring at a Bookshelf in Some Sadness

As I get older, I don't seem to have any problems thinking of things that make me sad. We will not even get into the physical decline, all right? Okay, just one little (?) thing: When I was a boy in Oklahoma I ran around all day--and I mean ran. The only time I slowed down was to eat a meal or go to bed--though I really slowed down when Mom told me it was time to clean my room.

And now? I cannot run at all. Yeah, I have protesting joints now, but the main reason is vertigo. I live now by a very simple formula: If you run, you will fall. And that pretty much keeps me from running!

Okay, I said I wasn't going to get into physical decline. It seems I lied.

And I will not get into the deaths of family and other loved ones, deaths that, of course, have accelerated as I've aged. One of my best friends from high school is gone, one ... NO! NO MORE OF THIS!

But what I was really thinking about was lunch and supper. Joyce and I usually eat in our family room--we sit on the couch and pull up the little coffee table that you see in the picture above. (I took the picture from my vantage point.) From where I sit I can easily see some of our bookshelves, and that, lately, has become the problem.

From my lunch-and-dinner seat I can read some of the books titles, some of the names of the authors; others I don't even need to read from a distance: I recognize the volume.

And so I see Jay Parini's biography of John Steinbeck (dead), his biography of William Faulkner (dead), books by and about John Cheever (dead), Robert Frost (dead), Norman Mailer (dead), Shakespeare (dead) ...

I bet you're getting the idea by now.

Sometimes, sitting on that couch, I look over at those shelves, see those books, think about all those now-silent voices, voices that still "live," in a way, in the pages of their wonderful books, but voices forever stilled, forever prevented from saying something new to me or anyone else ...

It's horrible. I've watched, one by one, the deaths of the writers I grew up reading and admiring. Even loving. Thomas Berger. Richard Wright. Saul Bellow. James Purdy. Iris Murdoch. Robert B. Parker. Ernest Hemingway. And on and on and on and on ... 

Maybe I need to eat somewhere else? Though maybe I could write a best-selling self-help book: The Crying  Man's Diet?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Bedtime Storie--uh, Poems

the book on my nightstand

I first heard of A. E. Housman (1859-1936) back at Hiram High School (R.I.P.), my senior year (1961-62), when our English teacher, Mrs. Davis, required us to memorize his "When I Was Young and Twenty" (see below). I don't remember how I did on the quiz, but, given my "study habits" at the time, I'm sure I got at least a C on it. (I do know it now--and cold.)

Anyway, when I got into my Latest Madness (memorizing scads of poems) a couple of decades ago, I tried to shove back into my memory some poems I had learned (more or less) earlier in my life, and so it was that I recovered "A Visit from St. Nicholas," "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," "If You Were Coming in the Fall," and "When I Was Young and Twenty" (and there were others).

I liked the poem, and so I bought the book you see pictured above (yes, that is our copy), paged through it, found some others I liked, too, and memorized them--"Loveliest of trees, the cherry now"and "Into my heart an air that kills."*

I  also recently read a great book about Housman and his world--Housman Country: Into the Heart of England (2017), by Peter Parker (no, not that Peter Parker!).

And then Joyce and I began a (fairly regular) just-before-lights-out routine: I read aloud to her a poem (or two) from the Housman collection. (We are now on p. 148 of 247 pp. of text.)

Some of the poems--surprise, surprise--are better than others. Many are sad, dealing with the deaths of youth. Dealing with war. Dealing with lost love. Lost time. The rural past glows on most of the pages. Sometimes, after a particularly grim poem, Joyce and I will look at each other and (silently) ask: Why are we doing this?

But then we'll come across one like the one I read to her last night, number XXXIX from Last Poems. (I've reproduced it below "When I Was Young and Twenty.")

And then we look at each other with different eyes. As we do the world the next morning ...

*the volume contains A Shropshire Lad (1896),  Last Poems (1922), More Poems (1936),, and two groups of uncollected
poems--"Additional Poems," and "Translations" (Housman was a classical scholar).


When I Was One-and-Twenty

When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
       But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
       But keep your fancy free.”
But I was one-and-twenty,
       No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
       I heard him say again,
“The heart out of the bosom
       Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
       And sold for endless rue.”
And I am two-and-twenty,
       And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

XXXIX (from Last Poems)

When summer's end is nighing
  And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
  And all the feats I vowed
  When I was young and proud.

The weathercock at sunset
  Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
  That looked to Wales away
  And saw the last of day.

From hill and cloud and heaven
  The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
  And hushed the countryside,
  But I had youth and pride.

And I with earth and nightfall
  In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
  And darkness hard at hand,
  And the eye lost the land.

The year might age, and cloudy
  The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
  Breathed from beyond the snows,
  And I had hope of those.

They came and were and are not
  And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
  That ever can ensue
  Must now be worse and few.

So here's an end of roaming
  On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
  For summer's parting sighs,
  And then the heart replies.