Friday, July 06, 2007

Remove the Two By Four In Your Own Eye

Sorry about the hiatus, but I was a bit under the weather yesterday.

When I was in the 7th grade I was assigned to do a "book report" on Kipling's "The Ballad of East and West".

I didn't know dork about poetry then (and still don't know much), so, in desperation, I learned the damn thing by heart and recited it in class. When I was finished, I recieved the first round of applause in my life. Because of the method I used to memorise the poem, I can still recall the opening lines:
OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!
If I could wish, I would wish that I had learned other poems by heart -- not for content, but to burn their meter into my consciousness -- even today, a half century later, this form of iambic heptameter comes more easily to me than any other.

That said, you will have to do with this trifle from Ye Olde Poetry Bag:

When you close your eyes, what do you see on the back of your eyelids?
Do you see the kind of things that cheer you up and make you glad?
Or do you see sugarplums wickedly twisted out of shape?

Don't let these dreams of glory and pink clouds go to your head!
Don't let the snaggle-toothed monsters bring you down instead!

What you see is only You-Seeing-You, seeing you;
along with some half-digested videos from the evening news.
If only you could get to be real good friends with you,
these inflated dreams and porno flicks would shrink to normal size.

Don't be like the guy in "The Body Snatchers" who dared not close his eyes,
he thought that could keep the dreams and the stoopid pictures away!
The fact is, you'll see them pasted on the faces of the people you meet.
In the end, you'll see chimeras and monsters roaming city streets!

You'll run out to save the world for "jesus", "allah" or some nameless god
and end up doing nothing more than pissing in an empty pot!

When it all comes down to dust, you must become good friends with you!
The things you see and do must be the things you see and do!

Nothing more and nothing less, whether you're looking at your eyelids
or the man across the street -- that's what the Rebbe from Nazareth said.

Weeell, maybe not exactly, but it's close enough for folk music!

I use the term "Rebbe" instead of "Rabbi" to point out that the Magician from Galilee was considered a heretic, much as the blessed Israel ben Eliesher, aka the Baal Shem Tov, Master of the Good Name.

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