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Poems and Cat Puke

The clouds have left the sky,
The wind hath left the sea,
The half-moon up on high
Shrinketh her face of dree

She lightens on the comb
Of leaden waves, that roar
And thrust their hurried foam
Up on the dusky shore.

Behind the western bars
The shrouded day retreats,
And unperceived the stars
Steal to their sovran seats.

And whiter grows the foam,
The small moon lightens more;
And as I turn me home,
My shadow walks before.
– Robert Bridges, Dusky Shore

There’s a moment when expectations meet reality. Certainly we all expected more out of 2020 than we got, and I can say the same about this morning’s blog. It started with a poem – Dusky Shore, as you see. It became cleanup in aisle 5.

I’ve toyed with Bridges’ famous poem for some time, undecided about whether to dance with the classic romantic lines, or leave well enough alone. It has all the ingredients sprinkled together just so – the moon and the sea, post sunset dusky bliss and a turn towards home… but it still misses the mark for me. And I’m not sure why.

I believe it’s in the way the words are stacked just so. It feels like he’s playing to the audience a bit to me, instead of mining his soul. But still the words are lovely in the way that a Thomas Kinkade painting is. Pretty, I suppose, but not really my style.

As I walked down the stairs contemplating this poem and whether to go there, I came across the apocalyptic mounds of yellowish cat puke on the area rug that announced my quaint dalliance with Dusky Shore was going to take a back seat for the moment. As the designated early bird in a house full of night owls, I’m faced with such moments more than I care to remember. You either pretend not to see it or grab the paper towels and deal with it. I’ve learned it’s best to tackle the demons head-on and get on with your life. There’s nothing more demonic than cat puke on an area rug.

I wonder about Robert Bridges, turning from the white foamy sea towards home, shadow walking before. As he opened the door to his humble home, what greeted him? For all the beauty of the prose, every now and then a little cat puke intrudes upon your Rosebud Cottage. It may be unwelcome, but it teaches you a bit about who you are when the moment of bliss is interrupted.

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