A Walk on Nietzsche’s Birthday

Western1

You may know of his most famous work – a philosophical novel called “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and you probably also know the music of the same name from “2001: A Space Odyssey”.  The composer, Richard Strauss, had read Nietzsche’s novel and created this strange, other-worldly musical fanfare used at the beginning and the end of the movie.

Without music, life would be a mistake.

Now, lest you be thinking I’m some kind of philosophy buff, let me divest you of that thought pronto. I discovered it was Nietzsche’s birthday because I was driving in the car early the morning of October 15 and a radio host shared this nugget and then played the music. Continue reading

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Words Never Fail Me

BotanicalGardenBench

Montreal Botanical Gardens – August 2018

Silky morning breeze
sidles
around my neck
murmurs through
sun-scrubbed leaves.

Startled by tranquility
I lift my coffee cup,
taste bitter
wrapped in bliss,
and discover
syzygy.*

___

*What the heck, Susanne, you say, is syzygy? Sub i for y and the word is pronounced siz-i-jee. In the context of this poem it means “any two related things, either alike or opposite”.

It also means inspiration because as I sat pondering a piece of personal non-fiction I’m struggling to get just right (and write) and nothing worked, I found this word accidentally on Dictionary.com. The other implacable draft dropped away and off I went on this poem. One word changed the morning from self-flagellating defeat to a small victory.

Words never fail to inspire me.

Magic word

Professor Margaret Miles-Cadman’s black academic gown created a soft breeze as she entered the class and addressed students in her Introduction to Old English class in a hypnotizing, sibilant voice. Her page-boy cut hair was grey with brown shadows and her skin as pale as the pages of our textbook, An Anglo-Saxon Primer written by Henry Sweet and first published in 1887. Prof. Miles-Cadman looked like she may have known Mr. Sweet. I took her class in 1977. Continue reading

Stop the epidemic!

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Curated leaves

It’s time to stop the curation epidemic. We, the Ministry of Overused Words (MOW), the Word Protection Collective (WPC) and the Respect for the Oxford English Dictionary (ROED) – now known as the Anti-Curation Coalition (ACC) – demand a cure for the word curated – a curative dose, for the overdose, the rendering comatose of a perfectly reasonable word. Continue reading

Collywobbles

The pepper steak was a mad mistake
but so was the caribou stew.
Add to this the briefest bliss
of a tumultuous tiramisu,
plus cake and pop
and a generous glop
of whip cream and caramel goo
and I was done like dinner,
five pounds thinner.

Really, it was all worthwhile!
Despite being horrible,
despite being bad,
despite the pain and the trouble,
I learned a new word
one I’d never heard –
oh the collywobbles!

Knackered

It wasn’t the hijacker’s fault
or the meal of crackers
and warm water
or the cramped seat
and fear of DVT that made her
feel so knackered. It was
the flight attendant,
oxymoron,
who fled first, still dapper
after 36 hours, no chips
in her lacquer, crisp uniform
immaculate slacker sliding
down the chute perfect
shoes touching down.
Resisting the urge to
smack her was the reason.