Epistle To Hugh Parker
By Robert Burns
In this strange land, this uncouth clime,
A land unknown to prose or rhyme;
Where words ne'er cross't the Muse's heckles,
Nor limpit in poetic shackles:
A land that Prose did never view it,
Except when drunk he stacher't thro' it;
Here, ambush'd by the chimla cheek,
Hid in an atmosphere of reek,
I hear a wheel thrum i' the neuk,
I hear it--for in vain I leuk.
The red peat gleams, a fiery kernel,
Enhusked by a fog infernal:
Here, for my wonted rhyming raptures,
I sit and count my sins by chapters;
For life and spunk like ither Christians,
I'm dwindled down to mere existence,
Wi' nae converse but Gallowa' bodies,
Wi' nae kenn'd face but Jenny Geddes,
Jenny, my Pegasean pride!
Dowie she saunters down Nithside,
And aye a westlin leuk she throws,
While tears hap o'er her auld brown nose!
Was it for this, wi' cannie care,
Thou bure the Bard through many a shire?
At howes, or hillocks never stumbled,
And late or early never grumbled?--
O had I power like inclination,
I'd heeze thee up a constellation,
To canter with the Sagitarre,
Or loup the ecliptic like a bar;
Or turn the pole like any arrow;
Or, when auld Phoebus bids good-morrow,
Down the zodiac urge the race,
And cast dirt on his godship's face;
For I could lay my bread and kail
He'd ne'er cast saut upo' thy tail.--
Wi' a' this care and a' this grief,
And sma', sma' prospect of relief,
And nought but peat reek i' my head,
How can I write what ye can read?--
Tarbolton, twenty-fourth o' June,
Ye'll find me in a better tune;
But till we meet and weet our whistle,
Tak this excuse for nae epistle.
Another by Burns, who was born 250 years ago last Sunday and whose birthday is being celebrated all week in in Scotland.
Finally a day when the kids had school! Though it started two hours late, meaning, paradoxically, that I had to be up and moving early, since apaulled had an early morning phone conference and was not available for assisting with breakfast. But I did get to have lunch with cidercupcakes! We went to California Pizza Kitchen for hummus, soup (yeah, I know) and discussion of who should play Rod Blagojevich in the movie version of his life. By the time he had been kicked out of office, we had watched several episodes of Futurama, particularly "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" -- the Zoidberg pon farr episode with the awesome national anthem. Plus we had pumpkin spice tea.
I had been told that this place was a must-see due to the Pre-Raphaelite artwork, fairies, bubble machines and Renfaire garb...
...not to mention the full-sized pirate on the top floor.
I didn't even know that the store also had year-round Halloween merchandise and miniatures.
Plus such awesomeness as Elvis collectibles, Wizard of Oz collectibles, and these fabulous tropical parrots.
There are a huge variety of fairies and angels, the most I've ever seen in one place.
And the building itself -- a house from the late 1700s with a wall made from exposed bedrock -- has wonderfully decorated staircases and fireplaces.
You can even have your fortune told. (Whoops, I guess I wasn't supposed to be taking pictures but I didn't even notice that sign till I looked at this photo at home!)
In the evening we discovered that we had nothing viable in the house for a meal, plus an IHOP coupon that expired at the end of the month, so what could we do...we had brunch for dinner. Then we watched Smallville, which I despised in almost every way...the V for Vendetta plot, the Elektra plot, and it had such a promising opening with Clark remembering how much better off he was without Lana, only to have Chloe -- who very intelligently reminded him last week that he could have Lois -- turn on her own cousin and practically BEG Clark to go back to Lana, apparently to justify her own settling for Jimmy. And now Lana is super-girlfriend, which in principle should please me because I always wanted her to be more Clark's equal, except now I just want her to go away so Lois can be Clark's equal without needing super-speed! Blah!
Sad news this morning: The Washington Post is dropping Book World on Sundays. They're going to fold their book coverage into the Style section, which already runs book reviews on weekdays, and various other parts of the paper as publications warrant. They readily admit this is because publishers don't pay enough to advertise in Book World, but I am very worried that we may lose Poet's Choice -- always the first thing I read in the Sunday paper -- and other columns that I enjoy.