Here in My Bosom…

And at Home…And at Home…And at Home…

It seems like I’m cheating, quoting poetry by a contemporary of Shakespeare to fill up a blog. But Ben Jonson’s poem “A Farewell to the World” seems so appropriate just now. The last three stanzas especially:

Else I my state should much mistake
To harbour a divided thought
From all my kind-that, for my sake,
There should a miracle be wrought.

No, I do know that I was born
To age, misfortune, sickness, grief:
But I will bear these with that scorn
As shall not need thy false relief.

Nor for my peace will I go far,
As wanderers do, that still do roam;
But make my strengths, such as they are,
Here in my bosom, and at home.

What a great poem! It actually rhymes. Every line has eight syllables. It’s got a beat, you can dance to it! I’m amazed some rap star hasn’t borrowed the lyric, thrown in a few ‘yo’s’ and plenty of profanity, and created a #1 on the Covid Hit Parade!

Ben Jonson: Pre-photography Poet

I don’t know about the ‘bosom’ part, and my strengths, especially riding my bike, seem to be not very strong at all these days. But Stoker and I have the ‘here at home’ part down pat.

The panicdemic is entering its 5th month. No eating out, no concerts, no group bike rides, no travel, no live sports, and (disastrously) no in person school classes. Wear a mask, social distance, wash you hands (like Lady Macbeth, muttering “Will these hands ne’er be clean?”). You all know the drill by now.

I just realized today that I have slept ‘In my bosom, and at home’ for 7 months. My last trip was with Stoker to North Carolina and Tennessee last December. We saw something like 10 live music shows in 7 days. I wonder what all those talented performers are doing now? Not playing for live audiences, that is certain.

Stoker went to Kenya in January, so she has only been at home for 6 straight months. She is welcome to share the strengths I keep ‘Here in my bosom’ anytime she wants, as long as I am allowed to reciprocate.

And unless “There should a miracle be wrought” we are likely to be at home for many months yet. I’ll save my ‘scorn’ for those who deserve it, and not be placated by their ‘false relief’. Thank you Ben: your dismal words which simultaneously express resignation and defiance in the face of “Age, misfortune, sickness, grief” have made me feel a bit better. They should get me through to Cote du Rhone time at least.

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