Thursday, February 29, 2024

Leap Day

Today is the 29th of February, a day that only rolls around once every four years, or so.

As readers will know, I'm very interested in days, holidays, seasons, and so forth. But especially days. I've written about it in many posts. This one, for instance.

Leap Day is an interesting one because there's so little fuss about it. I think there should be. It's a day when the intersection between the day-to-day and the year-to-year-- different "streams of time", that is-- comes to the fore. A mysterious liminal space, like a crossroads or a lobby.

Perhaps it should be a day when we all look back on the last four years (or however long it's been since the last leap day). This could be the subject of articles, TV and radio shows, podcasts, etc.

Or perhaps we should have leaping competitions. Or leaping dances. Or eat salmon, which is well-known for leaping. (Vegetarians could have salmon-shaped pastries or chocolates, as indeed could non-vegetarians. Maybe we'll just leave the real fish be.)

I did hear some people talking about it in work today. One person suggested we should have an extra day's pay for an extra day's work. This caused some hilarity and was repeated from person to person.

Happy Leap Day!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Purple for Lent

Remember I used to turn the blog's background green for St. Patrick's Day? Today I decided to turn it purple for Lent!

A revived tradition is even better than a tradition, and an expanded tradition is even better than a revived tradition.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Ash Wednesday

For the day that's in it, a little poem I wrote two years ago:

Ash Wednesday

The priest rubs ashes on my head
And tells me to repent.
My sins are very far from dead,
My lusts are far from spent.

That ancient bonfire burns apace,
That blaze of sin and lust.
God send me hotter flames of grace
Before I fall to dust.

Today is also Valentine's Day. Here's a little poem taken from the novel Weaveworld by Clive Barker, which I think is very appropriate to today's double-bill, and is a pretty good poem. I hope Barker's people won't come after me for copyright violation, especially since it's freely available elsewhere on the 'net.

One part of love is innocence
One part of love is guilt
One part the milk, that in a sense
Is soured as soon as spilt
One part of love is sentiment
One part of love is lust
One part is the presentiment
Of our return to dust.

And, since that's all very grim, here's something that made me laugh yesterday. The full title of a joke-book from 1771, which I came across on my library's online catalogue:

The Complete London Jester, or, wit's companion: Containing all the fun and all the humour, all the learning and all the judgment, which have lately slowed from the two universities, from the two theatres, from White's Chocolate-house, from the Bedford Coffee-house; or, from the spouting clubs, and choice spirits clubs in London and Westminster. Including all the fashionable jests, epigrams, merry tales, humorous jokes, bon mots, conundrums, Irish bulls, comical humbugs, droll narrations, smart repartees, new adventures, funny epitaphs, and witticisms. Which will expel care, drown grief, banish the spleen, improve the wit, create mirth, entertain company, and give the reader a light heart, and a chearful countenance. The whole teaching the agreable art of story-telling, and furnishing pieces of wit, for the amusement and improvement of both sexes. The sixth edition. To which is added a genteel collection of the various toasts, sentiments, and Hob-Nobs, now in fashion

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Annus Mirabilis (by a Spirit of Vatican II Catholic)

This is just a bit of fun. I am very much a Vatican II Catholic myself-- and even a spirit of Vatican II Catholic (St. John Paul II actually appealed to the "spirit" of the Council on several occasions.) This poem isn't mocking Vatican II, or even its spirit, but those misguided Catholics who expected the Church was going to go full hippy.

It is, of course, a pastiche of a famous Philip Larkin poem which begins with the words "Sexual intercourse".

The real Catholic Church began
In 1963
(Which was just in time for me)
Before the contraceptive ban
And the second Pope J.P.

Up until then there'd only been
A lot of mumbling
And guilt and shame and bling
That started out with Constantine
And screwed up everything.

Then suddenly the Spirit spoke
And everyone felt the same.
Goodbye to guilt and shame;
God was a thoroughly decent bloke
Who'd been given a bad name.

So life was never better than
In 1963
(Still years before H.V.)
Before the contraceptive ban
And the second Pope J.P.