Sonnet Writ in Trivial Pain at Easter
After great Pain, a formal Feeling comes – Emily Dickinson
He moans and groans at merest scars and slights
Who never felt the wound of love for real
Uncomprehending he, doth read of wights
Of old, when suffering meant verily “to feel”.
He whose Cross was redounded to our gain
Did suffer birth and joy at life’s own table
As also in Gesthamen garden pain
Himself to turn from the Cross unable…
For ’twas then that men, and women too
Had to endure so much more than us
Had to suck it up more than we do
And could not kick up much if any fuss.
But He did not like it any more than we:
Golgotha is Golgotha in any old key.
Chris Ayres is a British journalist who’s becoming a good writer for he learns as I do, from Folly. In War Reporting for Cowards Ayres describes his terror during a mercifully brief tenure as a war correspondent in Iraq with an honesty and modesty worthy of Harry Flashman.
In Death by Leisure, Ayres continues the saga into the 2005 boom and Los Angeles where he spent money he did not have. In a moment of clarity he remembers that his grandfather, a British soldier in a Polish POW camp for most of the War, came home only to be tossed in a tuberculosis ward for back then TB was a dread disease.
In Britain’s rationing you received as a single, older man like me one tinned slice of Spam per week. It was the size of a cell phone. Cigarettes were relatively cheap and they quelled hunger pangs (as they did for me when I was a student in the 1960s) by making you a little sick all the time.
But I insist on being able to run five miles at the age of 62 when in Britain of Ayres’ grandfather’s time, older men did not run save for the Clapham Omnibus, and, when they did run to catch the latter, they wheezed for fifteen minutes.
I cannot run owing to a back injury and this would make me impossible to live with as I moan and groan. But drawing and writing poetry alleviates this pain.
Our fathers and grandfathers did intend we should live more comfortable lives, for to paraphrase myself, they did die in April that we could live in May. And running has been very good to me. I am swimming only this week for I live near two beaches as a most fortunate man who has little money but some of the luck of the Irish.
Edward G. Nilges, “Ka Yan is young and her patronym is unknown! But even when she merely teaches maths and English, KaYan graciously admonishes, wise beyond wise!”, pencil on prelined notebook paper 9 April 2012.
All I know at this point about this drawing which came to me on the ferry is that when I drew it my back pain went completely away.