Saturday, October 13, 2007

Breakpoints

In five more minutes, I leave this hotel
this half-way house
for runners and failures
where anxiety, gentle yet disturbing
as a poem by Susan Musgrave
tightens heart
constricts chest



Every day has its turning points, its critical times that signal the end, or the beginning, or some other milestone that seems so important in the middle of an otherwise unremarkable day. There are always the checkpoints in the morning - far too early to be awake, too late to be starting the shower, late for the bus. And at the other end, the day is bookmarked with ten, eleven, twelve o'clock - bedtime's well past, and those morning worries are creeping up again, not so far off now. But during the day, well, there are always those other critical times, the ones that partition the day into manageable pieces, or if you like, fragment it into innings that are too short, or too rushed, or too crowded one into the other to let you really get things rolling.

10:00 AM - it's time to stop and think - what have I done so far? By ten-thirty, things had better be well underway, because when 11:00 rolls around, the morning is almost done, frittered away most likely and there's no hope of getting anything serious started and completed before lunch.

2:00 is the analogous time in the afternoon... either too late to be finishing lunch, far too late to be starting it, or, most likely, just about the time that I realize I'd better get my skates on if I want to complete a good chunk of work before the afternoon is over.

4:00 PM is a time when I begin to feel that gloomy late-afternoon feeling: the day is almost done, it's too late to get anything meaningful started and completed, in wintertime it's getting dark. I have to think about leaving on time to catch the bus. It's a depressing time of day, when the glorious, burnt-umber autumnal glow of three-something gives way to the gloom and wintry despair of 5:00.

And so home, that ever-present little shade of guilt at not having accomplished quite as much as I might have hoped. If only the day could be made to flow, streaming round those clockwork chicanes and streaking away to its end, all sail up the mast, afterburners on, sixth gear at the redline. Just think what could be achieved.

21 comments:

The Wrath of Dawn said...

And to think you said you wouldn't have anything to write in a blog. This may well be your best entry to date. Very excellent post!You've captured my daily struggles with the clock very eloquently.

Did you write the poem at the beginning? If so, my hat's off to you.

There's an artist's soul lurking under that lab coat, isn't there?

Ricardipus said...

*blush

Thanks.

Yes, and yes (I think). But certainly not a visual artist, as you will be able to tell by exploring my Flickr a bit...

#Debi said...

I must say, I have to agree with Dawn (she's got a chainsaw, you know).

Seriously, though, I think we see a whole 'nother side to you in this post--very well written.

zoe said...

i've had a taste of r'pus's poetry - this piece is better than the one he sent me proclaiming his love for me. i needed a bucket, y'know.

an amazing post - it's good to see that you can still tell the time.

Ricardipus said...

Thanks, all.

I have to have a little chat with Zoe about that pome I sent... ;)

Bob said...

I understand nothing about poems or time. My ankle hurts.

That is the end of my intelligent contribution to commenting.

tlltyyv - Russian version of a Haiku

bk said...

Who are you and what have you done with the real Ricardipus?

We don't want him back, we're just curious.

Ricardipus said...

*considers punishing bk by posting comments on his blog only in the style of ee cummings

bk said...

"popularly known as E. E. Cummings,"

That's it. Wikipedia is going *straight* to hell.

bk said...

And stop reading Musgrave. How utterly depressing.

john.g. said...

Like it R'Pus, great post! What have you been smoking? LOL!

Rik said...

There was an old chappie from Vaughan
Who found he couldn't get rid of his horn.
He tried an sharp knife,
He then tried his wife,
But found it went when he thought of Dawn.

(my attempt at poetry)

Dawn said...

*ahem!*

Dawn said...

Also, with my accent (and R'pus' for that matter), Vaughan and Dawn rhyme, but horn does not rhyme with them.

So there!

Also:

There was a young Welshman named Rik,
Whose humour was often quick sick,
He bad-mouthed a Canuck,
Really pushing his luck,
And she cut him up to little bits with a chainsaw and hid him behind the igloo and he was never seen again - ick.


lpschhsd - Welsh for "Watch it, buster!"

Bob said...

I was tackled in football training.

Well, actually, I was doing the tackling (I made some sort of an attmept) and got there a bit late and was kicked on my ankle as she booted the ball downfield.

I would write a poem about it, but it would be horrendously bad and blind anyone who tried to read it.

Ricardipus said...

Oh ye gods.

I think I'd better post something else to stop the comments and inevitable bloodshed here...

'fexrmn' - the man who fexes t'ings, obviously.

bk said...

There was a young lady from Bude
Who went for a swim in a lake
A man in a punt
Stuck his pole in her ear
And said "You can't swim here, it's private"


And just what the blazes is it with haiku? Why does everyone think they're so damn cool?

I came to write a haiku
but got bored
so I'm pissing off down the pub instead

Ricardipus said...

Right, that's it. Haiku next.

After today's MOST EXCELLENT joke, that is.

Alethea said...

Sorry if this comes up twice... please delete the duplicon if so.

I got worked up over Wikipedia for a moment there, but it seems they were not so off the wall after all:

http://www.gvsu.edu/english/cummings/caps.htm

and

http://www.gvsu.edu/english/cummings/caps2.html

[On making a preliminary tour through these letters, we found Jon preparing a French edition of his translations of Cummings' poetry, and on 27 February 1951 he wrote to the poet: "are you E.E.Cummings, ee cummings, or what?(so far as the title page is concerned)wd u like title page all in lowercase?"
The poet replied on 1 March 1951: "E.E.Cummings, unless your printer prefers E. E. Cummings/ titlepage up to you;but may it not be tricksy svp[.]" ]

Ricardipus said...

Hm - I bow to Alethea's l33t researching sk1llz.

Also known as "look somewhere more reputable than Wikipedia".

My copy of ViVa, which is a paperback edition from 1979, uses EE CUMMINGS on the cover, E.E. Cummings on the title page, and E. E. Cummings in the afterword.

Proving once again that my usage of ee cummings was totally wrong. Sigh.

bk said...

And what do the preferences of the dead poet have to do with it?

Bad Things Happen if there is capitalization involved. Mark my words.


srxcb: The deathly sound of e. e. cummings' ghostly sword unsheathing.