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!”
This was one I made earlier – much earlier – when I attended a creative writing class at Lancaster university.
Make your face up,
make up your eyes,
blend the colours,
paint the skies,
gild the lily until it dies.
Mask with mascara betraying eyes,
lengthen the lashes add to the lies,
brush on the blusher, don the disguise,
put on a brave face, a sage face and wise,
colour the lips but hide the eyes.
Make up stories make up lies
save your face, shut off your eyes.
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/learning-style/”>Learning Style</a>
What’s your learning style? Do you prefer learning in a group and in an interactive setting? Or one-on-one? Do you retain information best through lectures, or visuals, or simply by reading books?
I’ve always thought of myself as a words person rather than a pictures person. I prefer to have information written down, either by me or someone else such as a teacher/lecturer. I think this is partly due to my age. No, I don’t mean that because I am old I need to have written reminders even of everyday things like “buy potatoes, return library books, clean sinks” etc.
I grew up B.C. – before computers when it wasn’t easy to take a quick photo of anything and everything. No smart phones, no i-pad or tablets (other than those you swallowed) and definitely no Facebook. I enjoy reading books but find I can’t always retain what I have read – this doesn’t matter if it’s only the name of a character in a novel our reading group is reading, but if I am trying to learn, say, a foreign language it is more important.
The subject studied makes a difference of course. Practical hands-on subjects lend themselves more to group instruction and demonstration by the teacher and watching how other students are doing. I’m thinking of practical classes in areas like cookery, flower arranging or painting – whether you are painting pictures or walls!
I suppose writing classes come somewhere in between. You are given a topic or a prompt, you write something and then you read it to a group and discuss it with fellow-students. On the whole I think this is probably my favourite way of taking in information and getting new ideas from those around me.
New Year Resolutions
So why do we make them?
We’re certain to break them,
They are one of our worst institutions.
My New Year’s plea
and I think you’ll agree
Is to ban all New Year Resolutions.
So I wrote a year ago and I still feel more or less the same. There’s no real reason why a new year should be connected with promises to do all sorts of things that are good for you: giving up smoking; losing weight; exercising more; being kind to your elderly mum or dad – if you’ve got them; doing more for other people; helping in charity shops or the like. The list is (almost) endless.
But there’s no real reason why it should be connected with January 1st. You can just as easily start a diet or give up cigarettes on 14th June or 29th October. But there we are and once again I start thinking about what I want to improve in 2016.
I want to write more. OK. Shall I try for a blog a day? Not very likely to keep at it, certainly not after the end of January – even if I manage that long!
There’s also the nagging thought that brilliant pieces scattered randomly in my blog aren’t really acceptable for comp entries as “unpublished” stories/poems/articles. Stuck. Up against a brick wall.
Probably the best way is to try to write:
1. Something every day – however short or however silly
. 2. Blog entry at least twice a week – using Daily prompt if necessary
3. One larger project – story/play/new poem each month
4. say, half a dozen fillers/letters/bits and bobs each month
Might not achieve this but at least I have set a few goals,
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sorry-im-busy/”>Sorry, I’m Busy</a>
This is one I made earlier -several years ago. But the thoughts re interruptions when writing still apply!
Persons From Porlock
“Can you give me a hand with my homework?
You’ll do it much better than me
It’s taking me ages, I must write three pages
On ‘Betjeman’s thoughts on the Sea’.
Please can I have a few biscuits?
I’ve had nothing since well before three
And Mum, can I try just one more mince pie?
It won’t stop me eating my tea!”
“All right, but stop pestering me!
I’m writing just now, can’t you see?
“Hello dear, I see you’re not busy
Could you bash out a letter for me?
To this firm in Leeds an order for seeds
And be sure they are sent c.o.d.”
“But why should it always be me?
I’m writing just now, can’t you see?
There’s a half-finished story I’m drafting
A report for the local rag too
That I really must write and send off tonight
The deadline is long overdue.
I’ve a poem that needs some reworking
And one where I’m stuck for a rhyme
I’ve pieces emphatic and epigrammatic
On medieval theatre and mime
That I’d write if only I’d time
If only…if only…I’d time!”
Many places I’ve not been
Strange and lovely still unseen:
Rivendell, the Shire as well
The grey Havens by the sea
Jotunheim and Valhalla,
These names all call to me.
Alas! I’ll never vist them
They’re all in stories, see?