Last Poem

I know I’ve put up  Thanksgiving poems before,  and I know I’ve told you it’s my favorite holiday.  Was, I must learn to say. It is our quintessential American holiday, not  tethered to any religious or historical festival; once having cancelled  it, we will never get  it back.  Who needs it?  It was always just a celebration of colonialism and genocide  anyway.
In any event, mine will be drastically curtailed this year, with one family contingent of my longtime regular guests, one of whom has underlying health issues, having indicated, timidly, beseechingly,  that they would only feel safe if we all quarantined for 2 weeks before 11/26 and got a Sinos’ Infection  test  which came back negative before the feast.
No can do.   The week before the 3-4 day house party which  is (was)  Thanksgiving, i am out and about on myriad shopping trips. I cannot orchestrate and provision it remotely.   I reckon I’ve made it look easy all these years,  but it is a big, necessarily peripatetic  undertaking although the burden is light because: love.

Then there are the other attendees  and helpers whose pre- feast exposures  I cannot control .  Nuh uh, I cannot guarantee a sterile environment.  To our respective adult children (oxymoron alert!)  I’m getting the feeling I’m lookin’ like some illiterate Ol’ babushka who insists on decorating her Christmas tree with real wax candles.   Fitting coda to this absolute shi—-uh, manure matinée—that IS 2020.

If  Thanksgiving….1950  is not Edna St Vincent Millay’s last poem, it’s close.  She wrote it in September 1950, sent it off to The Saturday Evening Post,  and died in October 1950 by pitching headfirst downstairs.  I was going to recite parts of it this year; I always recite some poetry when I make my toast. (RecitED.)     This woulda been so perfect!  (I can’t figger out though, what “attack” on our country had occurred in late 1950 ..the Korean War, mebbe?).  I hope you’ll read the entire poem, just search her name and the title, you’ll find it.  And for sure, this will be the last poem I will be posting in our  doomed Mischief .  (Ok not for sure, but probably.)

“Hard, hard it is this anxious Autumn/To lift the heavy mind from its dark forebodings/To sit at this bright feast, and with ruddy cheer/Give thanks for the harvest of a troubled year.”

[Oh, dear Edna—you have NO idea…] 

“Ah, but is it right to feast in a time so solemn?/Should we not, rather, fast, and give the day to prayer?

Prayer, yes, but fasting, no.  Soldier and citizen alike, we are a marching column./ And how long the march may be, and over what terrain/We  fo not know./Nor how much of hardship, and hunger, how much of pain/We may be called on to endure. And fortitude/Takes muscle, and needs food.”

And here’s a part which would have been perfectly apt for this year when we face a generational political divide:

”Never more dear than in a thoughtful hour like this/Are the faces about the table;each stands out/More sharply, and is looked at with a longer glance./And smiles are deep, from behind the eyes, and somewhat quizzical/Lest they go too far in tenderness .”

[Tru dat, my sister, my bard! ]

”God bless the harvest of this haggard year!/Pity our hearts, that did so long for peace,/Deal with us kindly; there are many here/ Who love their fellow man, and may their tribe increase—/But cunning and guile persist, ferocity empowers/ The lifted arm of the aggressor: the times are bad./ Let us give thanks for the courage that was always ours/And pray for the wisdom which we never had.”

There follow other inspiring lines about our country’s defense, that stanza concluding:

“Strength we have, and courage; an acetylene will;/ A timorous vigilance, but a brave pride.”

[Oh,  if only that is still true! ‘Timorous vigilance”, definitely..but “acetylene will”?  Here’s hoping…oh but  BTW, how perfect, how poetically brilliant, bright as a blowtorch! is her use of “acetylene “!!]

The final lines:

“From the apprehensive present, from a future packed/With unknown dangers, monstrous, terrible and new—/ Let us turn for comfort to this simple fact:

We have been in trouble before……and we came through.”

[So mote it be.]

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9 thoughts on “Last Poem”

  1. Sorry to hear about your curtailed Thanksgiving celebration, Hypatia.  It is really sad how much fear and unhappiness our Betters have created with their CovidScam.  It is astonishing how little attention any of those Best & Brightest pay to the evidence — how little they follow the science, so to speak.  Reasonable people might wonder why?  Cui Bono?

    Here’s a link to a report on an interesting study run by the US Marines.

    Even a Military-Enforced Quarantine Can’t Stop the Virus, Study Reveals

    The Marines took 1,848 recruits and subjected them to very intense efforts to prevent the spread of the Dreaded Covid;  2.8% of them ended up testing positive for the virus.  In good scientific fashion, the Marines had a control group of 1,554 recruits who were not subjected to those intense preventative efforts;  only 1.7% of them ended up testing positive.

    No fatalities, of course, since Covid-19 presents only a trivial risk except to those who are very old and/or already sick — the small part of the population who in a rational world would be sheltered.  And this does not address the issue of what the somewhat dubious Polymerase Chain Reaction tests are actually showing.  But it does suggest that the Lock Downs and the high level of fear being promoted by the Usual Suspects are not effective in controlling the spread of this virus — although they are very effective in creating near-term distress to human beings and massive long-term economic damage from which we will all suffer.

    Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

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  2. Hypatia:
    It was always just a celebration of colonialism and genocide  anyway.

    GMF, Hyp but it sure doesn’t feel the same this year. If there were anywhere to run (I can’t afford Switzerland) and Austria is on major lockdown following yet another jihadist attack, I would but I think I’m stuck where I am.

    At least my husband and I had the fortuitous good luck to get out of the most crowded beach resort in Florida and move to a forest preserve.

    I suppose I will celebrate the holiday by thanking my obnoxious neighbors in our previous neighborhood for that!

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  3. Great choice for a poem for this year.

    We will also have a curtailed Thanksgiving.

    Nature Girl is hoping for good weather; if it is nice, we will ask our guests to bring hiking boots and will take a tour of the beaver works deep in the swamp.

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  4. MJBubba:
    Nature Girl is hoping for good weather; if it is nice, we will ask our guests to bring hiking boots and will take a tour of the beaver works deep in the swamp.

    Gee, I’m so sorry to be missing this. 🙂 🙂 With that said, I like beavers; they have an impressive work ethic and they’re one of my favorite exhibits at all zoos.

    BTW, MJB, I found a certain plant/seed mixture my doe and fawns like so I set up a snack bar for them right outside my office window. This way I can watch them frolic and keep an eye on the landscaping.

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  5. EThompson:
    BTW, MJB, I found a certain plant/seed mixture my doe and fawns like so I set up a snack bar for them right outside my office window. This way I can watch them frolic and keep an eye on the landscaping.

    That is sort of a dicey strategy.  It is great at first to put out an appetizing diversion for them so they will eat what you want them to eat and then do less grazing on the stuff you don’t want them to eat.  But the good salad bar you set out will keep them coming back, and then you will be part of the regular foraging route, so they will come around more often and thus do more snacking on the plants you had wanted to protect.

    So, you enlarge the salad bar.  Then they return, bringing their friends along.  Soon you have to enlarge the salad bar again, in order to keep up with increased demand while still aiming to divert them away from your pretty flowers.

    You will find yourself spending tons of time and money providing this new entitlement to the freeloaders.

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  6. MJBubba:
    You will find yourself spending tons of time and money providing this new entitlement to the freeloaders.

    Everyone has told me this; I am “starting a party” as my landscaper put it but I couldn’t help myself. 🙂

    I may have to get a Border Collie eventually to keep an eye out but I finally have the space to own one!

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