from Cues

By Sam Whited

The fiddle player sat upon the stage Surveying all she saw; The dancers pranced upon the floor As many more came through the door And walked on down the hall.

Beside the band the caller stood, He looked at his cards and frowned: Circles and squares raced through his head As the new dancers stood around in dread Or fell down on the ground.

The banjo was played by a drunken fool Who’s wits were drowned in booze; But even Ale couldn’t make him so daft That he would forget his banjo craft Or cause him his skill to lose.

Beside him sat a mandolin, His hands o’er the strings took flight He’d stamp and stomp in time to the beat While his fingers tried to keep up with his feat And his eyes watered with delight.

There also played a sweet guitar, Without a penny to his name, But he was rich in other things, Music and dance were his diamond rings And he loved them all the same.

Far upstage the drum stood tall But its player was fast asleep; He always woke before his cue And with the rest he’d pay his due And work to earn his keep.

The bandmaster glanced into the crowd, Then signaled the fiddler to start With a neck-breaking tune By the light of the moon To quicken the pace of every heart.

The banjo and guitar strummed madly away, With a squawk and a screech they played, In the key of G, To a veritable sea Of dancers well arrayed.

The fiddler started to quicken her pace And the dancers became a blur Of tapping feet and moves so neat That the caller ran off down the street, Forgetting just where they were.

No matter that the caller dropped out; His dancers now knew the drill. Each petronella and dosido They executed with much gusto, Never allowing their feet to still.

The mandolin made a mournful twang, As all its strings did snap; With a whoop and a holler he jumped from the stage And started to dance with a passion and rage Til his feet could no longer tap.

Faster and faster the band played on, The fiddle player kept the time, With a start and a yalp the drum player woke He thought the whole thing a mighty fine joke So he played without reason or rhyme.

As the next phrase started up again With a faster pace than before, The drum head broke with all the strain Of beating hands like falling rain, So he threw it right out the door!

The bandmaster knew their time had come They couldn’t keep up with the pace, So he threw up one hand To stop the band But only the guitar fell out of the race.

The fiddle and banjo still played on Paying no heed to the crowd With a yip and a yaw, and a mighty yee-haw They played both soft and loud.

Finally the banjo could endure no more His fingers had all gone wrong With one last strum And a bit of drop thumb He finished up his song.

Now only the fiddle player could still be heard She bowed with all her might Playing away, Till the slow break of day Gave her quite a sight!

Daylight crept into the hall, (The clock read half-past four) And though the dance was finished at last The dancers into sleep had passed And were lying on the floor!

A response to the National Poetry Month prompt

#Poetry #NationalPoetryMonth #NationalPoetryMonth2021


from zymotux

I'm not a very good environmentalist. Sure, I don't own a car – but that is as much an urban lifestyle choice as anything else. I recycle and compost – but the local council does the hard work there, giving me the bags and collecting it. We have re-useable nappies – but use them alongside disposable ones.

The list goes on:

  • When the world allows again we will once more take international flights to Canada to see relatives – we'll carbon offset them but that seems a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
  • I have cut down on meat eating but do still enjoy a good beef burger or spaghetti bolognese.
  • As much as I like the idea of the circular economy we buy quite a lot (but not all!) of our baby's clothes new – we are keeping the clothes to pass on afterwards... someone has to be at the start after all! True, I haven't bought any new clothes for myself since before the pandemic – but apart from a brief period in my teens, fashion isn't a passion of mine. I did get two pairs of shoes re-soled and re-heeled a year and a half ago, extending their lives and felt good about that – but one of the motivators was avoiding the rigmarole of buying new shoes!
  • I bought a refurbished smartphone rather than a new one – but this little Linux laptop I'm using was an unnecessary purchase from a household computing perspective (it is fun though!).
  • We don't use a “green” energy supplier. We could change but the landlady would prefer us to stay with a company she uses across her properties, and a good relationship with her is important!
  • We are back to shopping from standard supermarkets again with their vast amounts of packaging – but hope to use the local zero waste store when restrictions ease again.

Much of my career has had an environmental angle to it but my day-to-day actions have always been limited by a combination of time and pragmatism. Deep environmentalism is hard, requiring effort beyond that which is served up on a plate by the existing structures of society. Changing habits is also hard – I listened to a seminar by a Psychology Professor once who said (paraphrased badly by me!) that most people only really change their habits when something significant in their life forces them to re-engage with the habits they have i.e. buying a new house, starting a new job etc.

On the plus side, more choices are arriving to make it easier, such as my local zero waste shop. The information age also makes it more stressful though as the sheer amount of factors to consider are served up unrelentingly. Buy local but is it sustainably produced? Eat more veg but pay attention to the origin, which could come with significant environmental footprints of its own. What is the supply chain of those new jeans? Do any of the eco labels of the products actually mean anything? Can you trust the re-seller of that second-hand product you found via a phone app?

It is hard to get it “right” but not that hard to at least pause and consider the environmental angles and trade-offs before making choices and decisions. Yes, I'm a crappy environmentalist sometimes and could do better – but while society steadily embeds more sustainable choices into its fabric, we need everyone to be crappy environmentalists rather than having just a few perfect ones.

Entry 75 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!

2021-04-07 #100DaysToOffload #poetry #sustainability #TradeOffs

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from poetry

Nothing Gold Can Stay By Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.



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