Dear cat

I brought home a kitten from a friend
So tiny yet so fierce he bit my hands
We could not find him when we came back home
He was tucked in with the sheet under the foam

We had no garden so we took him out
Wrapped in a wool cardigan,I think
He lay contented on my knee all day
Looking at the trees and coloured sky

When mature he roamed the night away
Sleeping in a rocking chair most days
Benjamin, we called him, was run down
In the rush hour by a speeding clown,

The amber eyes of Benjamin would glow
He gave us happiness,we loved him so

Don’t miss the flowers

Do we choose what we perceive each hour?
Or are we automata clothed in skin,
Wh see the thorns and then ignore the flower?

Can we, like grass, be grateful for a shower.
Or is our store of gratitude too thin?
Can we choose what we perceive each hour?

Can we choose to smile instead of cower?
Can we love the game played not to win?
Who sees sharp thorns but then ignores the flower?

Do we choose to love or to use power?
Can we choose the virtue, not the sin?
Do we choose what we perceive each hour?

As we struggle inside Babel’s tower
Ambivalence may torture some within
Most see the thorns and then ignore the flowers

With softened eyes ,we see the whole sweet bower
If we draw near, we see what is now dim
Can we choose what we perceive each hour?
Some see the thorns but then ignore the flowers.

Mary and the dogs

As Mary ate her topside with green peas,she gazed out of the front window where a police car was parked.They had gone to speak to her neighbours.Her neighbours had 23
dogs and a dead cat .all in the back garden for recreation and making holes in fences or other places
When Mary had come home from the delightful dentist she had been attacked by five of the dogs on her own patio
who were bored with their own garden so has made a hole in the fence as was their wont.
She sat silentky her mind brooding about animals,and their force, as she ate the last roast potato and wondered if she had a pudding
Suddenly a cold wind seemed to blow across the room as Annie her delightful neighbour
had run in without closing the back door firmly
Hello dear.Put the kettle on for me, Mary ordered Annie
I am sorry,Annie said,I have lost weight but even so the kettle won’t fit me
Why do you take things so literally,Mary asked?
I am trying to be funny, Annie muttered indecisively, her blood red lipstick melting down her chin and dripping onto the floor
Good grief, what a mess,Mary said.Hang on, your lips are bleeding
I keep biting them,Annie revealed.
Why?
To stop myself screaming at those people with the dogs.What will you do?
Her mascara from Mix Vector in dark brown began to melt and created streaks across her rose beige moisturising foundation from Bess of Ardent
Are you crying,Mary asked curiously
I must be.I have tears in my eyes.I am over-identifing with your feelings.
Empathy has its limits,Mary said sweetly>I phoned the police and they came here
They were amazed he has 23 dogs.They have gone to see him.
How can they afford to feed so many dogs?
Oh,I feel faint,ring 999
In ran Dave the bisexual, transvestment paramedic all dressed in tartan
Why are the police here, he asked anxiously
It’s about the dogs attacking Mary.
Shall I make some nice strong tea,Dave asked wisely
Good idea, said Annie
How is Emile taking this?
I’ve sent him to my sister’s for a break,But I miss him
Goodness me, what a terrible time we needyou are having
They all went into the lounge and sat down on the grey high backed armchairs
Here is the tea,Dave cried as he put the tray down on a low table.Don’t let it go cold~
Shall I give them some cake, he asked Mary?
Why not, she answered.See what you can find
It is very hard if neighbours attack you,Why, I’ve even read about murders at times like this,Dave cried.
Let’s see how it goes,Mary said quietly.They are not fools
I hope you are right,Dave said wisely
Rolling Stones never get mopped
Evert cloud has a silver lining~
When glum ,keep mum
Amen

The  grief of God, the  pity of his mind

Armageddon  comes and we don’t find
The time to stop and think and wonder at
The wrath of God, the thunder of his mind

Is he  the ground of   being undefined?
The earth where seeds are nurtured  by his  hands
Armageddon  comes and  we are blind

He is not  a sweet and compliant friend
Nor the lord of  rich and  fertile lands
His  the wrath  and his  the thunderous mind

As the storms washed men off Kentish sands
So God  hurls the energy he sends
Armageddon  comes and  we are blind

In these trials, whose hearts are refined?
Are  we open, can we each attend,
His  the sun and his  the mighty mind

As on the rocky path we wary stand
Below despair, we find the deep commands
Armageddon,  love and care are drained
The  grief of God, the  pity of his mind

I have studied  and I’ve got my last degree

I have studied and I’ve got my last degree
My heart has learned its lessons one by one.
I’m a graduate of the grief academy

I didn’t know how painful it would be
When the man you love is here and then is gone
I’ve been studied and I got the third degree

The tears I wept could wash out the Dead Sea
Remove the salt and scour the shore till done
I’m a graduate of the grief academy

I know now I must die,we cannot flee

We turn to dust and that is not much fun
I have studied and I’ve got my last degree

Ii is not News, not for the BBC.
Unless you’re Stephen Hawkings, that great man
We’re graduates of the grief academy

We can’t control life with a self made plan
God is gone though prayer might well begin
I have suffered till I got a new degree
I’m a graduate of the grief academy

Mary Adair 2 and the reading glasses

Instead of going to the pub to meet men,Mary went on FB and changed her name
Unfortunatly  her name was also changed on the Page where she was insulted  and every where she had been.
I have learned something useful, she said to Dave who had come because Emile had rung 999
Better if you had not visited their page,he told  her sensibly, then Emile would be happy
Yes, she said,each side is as bad as the other,You must either totally agree or be called a vicious Monster.There is no space for debate so why even try?
Just then the phone rang
Hello, it’s Noreen ,she heard
Mary, I am so happy you have changed your name
Are you,Mary asked in suprise
Yes,my grandparents were Scottish and  none of the relatives are left,
so as you are partly Scottish too it’s lovely you chose to emphasis that
Well, stone the crows,Mary thought.How unpredictable life is.And how one unexpected event  led to a   good talk with Noreen
Well, since Stan is not here,I’d better do some housework. she told Dave
On the other hand if Annie and  you,Dave, accept my untidiness, why  should i worry?
After all it’s wonderful finding books I had  forgotten I had.Not to mention 30 pairs of tights and my reading glasses
Emile looked at her turquoise glasses
Can I have some reading glasses Mother?
Why? demanded Mary angrily
Then they will read stories to me as they can already read
Mary wondered how to explain to a cat that  the lenses of humans’ eyes become less flexible with age like their minds, perhaps
Then she thought of Donald Trump who needs King Canute
to explain  that no human is omnipotent and that viruses are unable to distinguish between him and another  old person even Joe Biden
Why the family of the first virus might have relatives near Joe.
But how do viruses communicate?They  have no voices,eyes or hands
Might it be they live in another reality? Do they have minds withour having  brains?
Or brains without minds
Dave ran out of the house wondering how to help Mary
And so would all of us!

Mary meets her neighbours

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Sitting on the high backed,v Ercol sofa in the large sitting room of her new neighbours Tom an n jn n n nnnd Edina, Mary sipped at the PG Tips tea she had been given in a pseudo-art deco mug.The tea tasted pseudo as well!

Would you like some delicious cake,Mary? Edina asked her rather loudly
Mary jumped.
Oh excuse me, my nerves are all on edge, she cried.I’d love some home made cake
Edina took out a penknife and cut a slice of the large cake.Alas it was coffee flavoured and Mary was not fond of that.This was agony to her especially coffee flavoured butter cream filling as she liked all the other flavours..Suffering from this is a new psychiatric disorder called uncakeophilia disorder
Why are you using a penknife in here ,Tom asked his wife angrily.We have lots of kitchen knives and other silver ones
I found it on the floor,Edina said pensively
I don’t suppose you washed it, Tom answered wildly
Mary leaned back and shut her eyes for a moment.I hate noise, she thought.
No, dirt is good for the immune system, Edina murmured
What rubbish, you are so lazy I can’t believe it! her husband told her.
After 39 years you should be used to it,Edina told him sensibly.Who made all these new curtains and vacuumed the roof? she went on languidly
Did you vacuum the roof in your last house,Mary asked her?
We lived in a flat before so I never had to do it.
Well, it’s unnecessary,Mary said , why not learn Esperanto?
Where do people speak that?
I have no idea but it’s a language,Mary cried decisively
But can it really be a language if it’s not the native tongue of any country?,
Well Yiddish is a language yet few people speak it,Tom told them
It would be difficult for the dead to speak,Mary said in a sad voice
It used to be spoken by millions of people in Central and Eastern Europe.
Why didn’t Hitler teach them English,asked Edina?
You think he only hated their language,said Tom in surprise.I’ve never heard that before.
It is bloody ridiculous,Mary said in her soft yet vibrant voice…he didn’t kill them because of their language and they spoke German as well,Maybe even French,Polish and other tongues
Just then they heard a strange choking sound .It was Emile the talking tomcat trying to get out of Mary’s large plastic handbag
Good grief ,Tom shouted.Did we invite this cat? Does he drink tea from cups? Is he real?
Well, yes , I love tea, Emile mewed.And don’t shout at Mary like that!
I am not letting a cat order me about,Tom screamed like a lunatic
But it’s not nice for Mary.She is a highly sensitive person and I love her
Now, they tell us,Edina whispered.She is married to her cat
I didn’t hear you,Tom said,Is she harried ,did you say?
No I said married
But her husband is dead
Well, now she has taken the cat, for better or for worse.Edina said in a humorous yet angry manner.

For richer for poorer… a cat can’t earn a wage
Edina and Tom were shouting at each other not realising what impression they were making
Mary called out,
Why invite me to tea and shout like this?
Did you never shout at Stan?
No,I didn’t need to.He listened to me.
Well, you are very quiet, said Emile, so Stan had no fear you might shout
I might have shouted when I read Fermat’s Last Theorem.Mary admitted furtively
Was Fermat your teacher,Edina asked?
No he died a long while ago
Fancy dying and all you have to leave is a theorem
Well, it stops the family fighting,Mary said wisely
Suddenly the door opened and in flew Annie, the flame haired mistress of the late Stan
Why was I not invited to this tea party ,she asked rudely?Are we in Boston?
Sorry,dear,said Tom.Not many people like to come here because Edina has a bad temper
No I don’t she shouted.You have a bad temper
I get so tired of all these projective misperceptions,Emile said in his intelligent voice
My therapist was not a cat, but I kept projecting on to him and he looked just like a cat to me until he barked one day.He was in fact a dog.I realised
Was that the end of your therapy?
Yes, I stole all the money from Mary’s purse and there was none left.And I learned about projection, that was enough
Good heavens,Mary murmured.I thought Annie had taken the money
What!You thought I was a thief.Annie bawled What next?
Well, you’re more like a sister and I didn’t mind as I know it’s so demeaning to ask for money.
See, said Tom to Edina,I said you should not ask me for money after we make love
Why not, she enquired? I need some new art materials
Can’t you use the housekeeping money?
Well, if you are happy to starve,Edina said sarcastically
Don’t use sarcasm.Only prostitutes take money.,Tom added.I did say you can buy whatever you like in the way of clothes and so on on our credit card
How do you know it’s only whores? Many women do need the money as they may be single mothers trying to feel their family and not getting Universal Benefit on time,Edina told him But other women might demand jewellery, and expensive houses like Wallis Simpson
That’s a fair point,Tom muttered.It’s more complicated than I realised.
Money is a big problem in many marriages,Mary called
But I earned my own and Stan retired early and got a pension so I had no need to
beg him for money
But did he beg you,Edina asked?
No, we just kept in the bathroom under the soap.So it was clean.
I wonder if viruses can spread on money? Tom said
I feel sure it is possible but how would we test that out. his wife asked
Best to wear gloves but when you take them off the viruses might fly all over the place
I didn’t know they could fly, said Emile.Are they invisible?
Well, we don’t really know but people often get bad colds when they go on aeroplanes
Annie turned pale.
Are you ill, Annie? asked Tom
I am having a nervous breakdown.I’ve caught paranoia from a £5 note.
You can’t catch it,Mary said in her kind voice.It’s not a physical illness and they are plastic nowadays so they can be wiped down
Well where does madness come from? It is horrible feeling so anxious.
This is not much fun, said Edina.I thought it would be lovely meeting the neighbours but we go from tarts to paranoia and back.Is this wise?
They all sat looking glum,Then Annie revealed all
I am a Russian agent sent here by Putin.I befriended Mary on Putin’s orders
He must be stupid.Why spy on Knittingham?
Well, you will be surprised.Mary is an expert on differential operators
On bicycle chains, asked Tom?
How ignorant people are.Annie shouted.Did you never see anything odd about calculus and little things appearing and disappearing?
Well, to be frank, no!
I don’t believe we learned calculus said Edina
We learned quadratic quotations
Do you mean equations,Mary asked?
I don’t know what I mean,Edina said nervously
And neither do we, said the others
Calculus is a bit like the Mass.Important things happen but we can’t see them.Everything looks the same but it’s not
Then they heard a siren.In ran Dave, the heroic paramedic in his new pink dress. and coat
Don’t drop the bomb, he told Tom audaciously
I’m not President Trump,Tom informed him gravely
That’s what they all say,Dave said to Annie
Who can we trust
Just Emile,said Mary.And Annie.
Why don’t you trust me said Tom?
I am waiting to see how you behave,she replied
Like a kind of exam?
Yes, it’s called
Trust your neighbour and yourself? How to know the people who might be dangerous
to your life and mental health
There’s not much mental health in Britain now,said Tom.I’m a doctor!
Well, don’t shout at the patients, said Annie
I only shout at home,
That is horrible, surely those you love need kindness?
Tom burst into tears and Emile lent him his hanky
I don’t think we’ll meet any more of the neighbours Edina said
Enough is enough.Kindly go home
Pleased to meet you, said Dave.Do call me when you need coal bringing in or have a heart attack
No way,thought Tom as he drank a bottle of brandy in the bathroom
I feel we made a mistake… we will have to move as soon as we can

And so say all of us

NYTimes: The Case for Having a Hobby

The Case for Having a Hobby https://nyti.ms/2G2D0cG

In my garden.

Z

Isn’t it telling that you forgot?” said Brigid Schulte, author of “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” when I told her I had blanked on the word.

“That’s so indicative of where we are in our culture right now, that you can actually forget what it is to have something you like to do that’s not a) tied to work and b) productive,” Ms. Schulte said.

While researching her book Ms. Schulte realized how many “lifehacks” make hobbies out to be keys to productivity rather than activities just meant to be enjoyed, and she saw that it was difficult for people to get out of that way of thinking.

But eventually, she found that people responded to “neuroscience and research about how you need a space where you’re calm that leads to insight.” Yet even with that knowledge in hand, Ms. Schulte said, people still saw hobbies as means to improve their performance at work. “That’s the only way I can break through to people about why having leisure is important.”

Indeed, Americans’ difficult relationship with leisure is nothing new.

“People forget that when we were negotiating the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, there were three conditions people wanted: minimum wage, 40-hour workweek and mandatory two-week vacation,” Ms. Schulte said. We got two out of three, “and we’ve been stuck ever since.” One in four Americans has no access to paid time off, and those who do often don’t take all of their vacation time or they spend their vacations checking email. Many of us have been taught to hate not being productive, and we’ve structured our culture around work, not play.

The benefits of art

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/22/opinion/david-zwirner-museums-coronavirus.html

I would contend that art and culture are the most important vehicles by which we come to understand one another. They make us curious about that which is different or unfamiliar, and ultimately allow us to accept it, even embrace it. Isn’t it telling that those societies most afraid of “the other” — the Nazis, Stalin’s Soviet Union, the Chinese under Mao — were not able to bring forth any significant cultural artifacts? Yet an abundance of work created in resistance to such ideologies can still dominate our cultural discourse.