June 15th, 2004

A Sort of Battered Kettle at the Heel

You know Yeats' poem "The Tower"? I never used to get it. He summons up all these historical and legendary people and asks them their opinion of old age and they give him a funny look and he dismisses them.

Well I get it now.

I used to think the people he'd summoned at such length should actually say something. But what? What is there to say about old age? The body gets slack and painful and inefficient and eventually conks out. It happens to everyone and there's nothing that can be done about it. God save us from miserable old people who natter on and on about their aches and pains.

I must try not to become one myself. But it's hard. I had a bad night last night (fearful indigestion) and I was lying there raging against the body. I don't like being this tiresome old crock. I want to run and jump and climb trees and make love several times a day and sleep sweetly at night and wake up refreshed.

This is the paragraph that should contain the answer. It should suggest following a middle way between acceptance and revolt. The "wisdom of old age" might get a mention. Yeah, right....

All Together Now...

In a cavern, by a canyon,
Excavating for a mine,
Lived a miner, forty-niner,
And his daughter Clementine.

O my darling, o my darling,
O my darling Clementine,
Thou art lost and gone forever,
Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Light she was and like a fairy
And her shoes were number nine;
Herring-boxes without topses
Sandals were for Clementine.

Drove she ducklings to the water
Every morning just at nine,
Struck her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brime.

Rosy lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles mighty fine,
But alas I was no swimmer
So I lost my Clementine.

How I missed her, how I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine...
So I kissed her little sister
And forgot my Clementine.