So many things I almost did,
So many roads I almost took,
Then something, someone came along
To save me from myself.
I think of the almost times
When I almost said something hurtful
and risked losing a friend,
When I walked into the road without looking
and almost got knocked down,
When I almost went out and left the milk pan boiling
Or the lights blazing or the tap running,
Luck – or my guardian angel –
held me back from the brink and all the things I almost did.
Today I want to be extravagant
To do, to be, to experience something extra
something outside my usual dull round
Of daily dreary activities
Meaningless actions, getting nowhere, achieving nothing.
Today I will break free
And for once be extravagant.
Wandering outside my comfort zone
Trying new things, exploring new possibilities.
But what shall I do?
I know, I’ll buy a cream meringue and eat it with a double cappuccino!
John Milton wrote this sonnet “On His Blindness”. He had daughters to whom he dictated his poems – I sometimes wonder how they felt about spending their time acting as unpaid amanuensis to their father.
When I consider how my light is spent Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest he returning chide; “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?” I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o’er land and ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and wait.”
After I had a cataract removal operation I couldn’t resist wrting, not exactly a parody, but a sonnet in the style of Milton about my own experience. I had was plenty of friends telling me what an easy and painless operation it was . (I need larger print!)
On Her Cataract Op
When I consider how much time I’ve spent Of my allotted three score years and ten Waiting in hospitals and wondering when They’ll tell me the prognosis what it meant In words I understand, so I’m not sent Adrift in vagueness, neither screen nor pen Of use. When will I see things clear again? I ask in terror, life is brief and time but lent. “Fret not, they tell me, you’ll be find indeed. Relax, this surgeon is among the best. The op takes only minutes, there’s no wait Admittedly, at first it’s hard to read But soon your eyes will pass the hardest test Trust me, this new perspective’s really great!”
I am clumsy. I’ve only recently come to admit it, but I am clumsy. It’s partly age – after 65 you are bound to be less agile, less dexterous, less flexible – plain clumsy in other words.
Add to age-related clumsiness, arthritis and subsequent joint replacement operations, plus incipient cataract – my optician says I need it removed – “a mere twenty-minute procedure, a routine op. The eye surgeon does dozens of them every day.” Maybe he does but I don’t!
Once I could sew and knit – not brilliantly but adequately, now I struggle to thread a needle. Once I could write if not beautiful copperplate at least a legible hand. Now I am profoundly grateful for word processing and spellchecks. How would I have coped if I’d been born fifty years earlier?
I like to think I’ve reached the stage of “knowing my limitations” as our gym teacher used to say. I admire delicate things like Faberge eggs – but from a distance: I don’t pick them up lest I drop them. I’ve been called “ambi-sinister” the reverse of ambidexterous- and it’s probably correct.
I wish I were stylish I wish I had style Perfect taste, perfect dress sense I’d stand out a mile. Every head would turn When I entered a room Poised and composed Perfectly groomed. A true fashion icon Elegant, chic Moving with grace A delight when I speak. I suppose I should face it I’ll never be stylish Except in my writing Style’s clearly not my dish.