Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The first marathon

See him running down the streeting,
Hear the beating of his feeting,
Beating, beating, beating, beating;

He runs slower down the streeting,
Hear the thudding of his feeting,
Thudding hard, miles defeating;

See him stumbling down the streeting,
Hear no more his feet beat, beating,
Breathing hard, his strength is fleeting;

Slowing, gasping, feet repeating,
Finish near, his run completing,
Carrying the victors' greeting.

In 490 b.c.e, an army from Athens and Sparta defeated the Persian invaders at the Battle of Marathon. Legend has it, that a soldier named Pheidippides, brought news of the victory, running from Marathon to Athens. When the modern Olympics were re-introduced in 1896, the great-grandfather of today's race was named Marathon, in honor of that victory. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

At a snail's pace

Consider how the lowly snail
At night, will always make a trail,
A shiny one, to leave his mark,
Where he has travelled in the dark.

The tiny mollusk has to put
Soft slimy stuff beneath his foot
For traction, as he glides about,
A habit he can't do without.

He dresses in a sturdy shell,
Which doubles as his home as well;
It shields him from the wind and rain,
An evolutionary gain.

One situation he'd repeal;
We're keen to eat him at a meal;
We treasure him as gourmet food,
A fact that he finds very rude.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pilgrimage long over

Sixty-one decades now have passed,
Since Geoffrey Chaucer breathed his last.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Packing it in at seventy-five

Dr. Ezekial Emmanuel, 57,  wants to pack it in when he turns seventy-five, according to a magazine article he wrote recently in The Atlantic.

If that's his choice, well, who am I to say he shouldn't do it? After all, the planet has limited resources. As Scrooge remarked in A Christmas Carol, why not decrease the surplus population?

It's very noble of him to be so concerned about his fellow man and generations yet unborn. Perhaps the Swedish Academy could come up with a new category for selflessness. Granting him a Nobel Prize would be a mere token to show our appreciation.

Lest you are worrying about impending legislation to make Dr. Emmanuel's suggestion a reality, creating death squads to drag you off to the Euthenasia Center in the middle of the night, his idea is only a suggestion.

He explains that he's not advocating draconian measures; if he's still breathing at seventy-five, he'll just refuse life-saving medical procedures. How nice of him not to waste the time of the medical community. By making that decision, he'll save time and money that would have been lost by extending what he considers will be a useless life.

Of course, the good doctor is well-intentioned; he's only telling us what he plans to do, just giving us something to think about. If we insist on selfishly sticking around, I guess we're just not as enlightened as him. It takes a visionary to work for the greater good, although he's too modest to count himself as such.

I still have nine-and-a-half months until my seventy-fifth birthday, and I have a lot of things to wrap up.

I guess I'd better get started now.

This old man

It's now my time for being old;
I know the ropes, it's all down cold.
In short, here's how I self-define;
I'm old, just like a classic wine.

Don't call me, "senior citizen";
I earned the title of old man.
Dumb slogans like, "The golden years,"
Were coined to sooth young people's fears.

Strangers sometimes call me "dearie";
It makes me mad, very weary.
No old man should have to accept
Belittlement from the inept.

I know my role within this play;
My life's just like what I now say;
I fit the part, as was the plan;
This act, I star as the old man.

Monday, October 13, 2014

On courting love

I courted Love, urged her to stay,
She laughed, and quickly slipped away,
And vanished like a morning's dew,
A springtime bloom, when love was new.

At the convenience store

When I stop in to spend my dough,
Don't greet me with, "Hey, Dude!," or "Bro'."
It's quite enough to say, "Hello,"
Or, "Hello, sir," to show respect,
That greeting's also quite correct;
It was, the last time that I checked.