Given all that goes on in the world from moment to moment, I feel embarrassed for even having provided this information. I consider myself both fortunate and coddled to live during a time, and in a place, in which such miracles are available. I have nothing to complain about. And I do not for a second take anything for granted.
What a strange thing,
To be thus alive
Beneath the cherry blossoms!
Issa (translated by R. H. Blyth), in R. H. Blyth, Haiku, Volume 2: Spring (Hokuseido Press 1950), page 350.
Charles Ginner (1878-1952)
"Through a Cottage Window, Shipley, Sussex"
Everything is a matter of perspective. A hip replacement amounts to absolutely nothing in this world of ours, but it does provide an occasion for perspective.
I can only feebly echo Patrick Kavanagh, who was a trillion times more entitled than I to feel gratitude after having dodged death by lung cancer in 1955. Soon after, he wrote this:
A year ago I fell in love with the functional ward
Of a chest hospital: square cubicles in a row,
Plain concrete, wash basins -- an art lover's woe,
Not counting how the fellow in the next bed snored.
But nothing whatever is by love debarred,
The common and banal her heat can know.
The corridor led to a stairway and below
Was the inexhaustible adventure of a gravelled yard.
This is what love does to things: the Rialto Bridge,
The main gate that was bent by a heavy lorry,
The seat at the back of a shed that was a suntrap.
Naming these things is the love-act and its pledge;
For we must record love's mystery without claptrap,
Snatch out of time the passionate transitory.
Patrick Kavanagh, Come Dance with Kitty Stobling and Other Poems (Longmans 1960). Kavanagh was a patient at the Rialto Hospital in Dublin in March and April of 1955. The Rialto Bridge spans Dublin's Grand Canal, which Kavanagh walked along during his recovery period.
Charles Ginner, "Chrysanthemums" (1929)
As I have stated here in the past, I know nothing whatsoever about how to live. But, as one ages, certain key themes begin to emerge, however thick-headed one might be. This week, one word keeps returning to me: Gratitude.
That shining moon -- watched by that one faint star:
Sure now am I, beyond the fear of change,
The lovely in life is the familiar,
And only the lovelier for continuing strange.
Walter de la Mare, Memory and Other Poems (Constable 1938).
Charles Ginner, "Plymouth Pier from the Hoe" (1923)