Occasional verse on dish washing
Ballad of the Dish Bitch, Caput II
From whence doth come that awful sound,
that screeches in my ear?
an angst-rid’n cry for miles around
is what one deaf could hear.
I travell’d up into a house
that had a bar of Oake;
a young chap cringed upon the porch:
his spirit burnt and broke.
“Lo!” I cried, as old men do,
“what causes this dismay?”
“I woke up from the night before,
and I’m ‘DISH BITCH’ today!”
“How now, you dog,” I then cried forth,
can such a thing be you?”
“I’ve not been ‘dish bitch’ for a week,
and now the worst is true.
“We draw our lots and time draws near
we lose us in her folds;
but when the hour for dishes comes
our incense turns to mold.”
“My God, young man, is it so bad,
that you appear as such?”
“Kind sir, the truth is I’ve seen worse,
and this is not so much.
Our weeks slashed by that fateful day
we’re fain to ‘void its pangs;
for whene’er it comes our way
we’re übercharged with angst.
The ‘bitch’ then wept a bitter tear,
and spoke a fiendish speech.
I know not whether to print it here
or keep it far from reach.
The danger of his words is such
that young ones should not hear;
such agèd wisdom in their minds
would turn their bliss to fear.
The “Bitch’s” Sonnet: “Of the Deceitful Brevity of Life”
(his translation of something by a certain Góngora)
“An arrow speeding toward its destined eye
never so sharply towards its target flew;
an agon-chariot over sands so mute
won not with more tranquility its prize,
than so swiftly runs, so clandestine
to its end our life. Doubted by whom?—
a savage lacking reason has a clue:
recurring suns are comets in the sky.
Carthage shows it well, we snub it now?
We’re tempting danger if we won’t abstain
from following shadows, lies in arms hold dear.
We won’t be pardoned by the fickle hours;
the hours that are bringing down the days,
the days that are devouring up the years.”
The ‘bitch’ had collapsed upon the ground
and sputtered in his rage;
such expletives he blurted out
I cannot put to page.
He did his awful duties, yes,
he did them many an hour;
he fed the demon dutifully
as was within his pow’r.
The ‘bitch’ was filled with utter dread,
upon the floor he laid his head,
and he nearly seemed one dead,
when genius came to me:
Something entered, something soothing,
something light and something moving,
fairy-like this thought perched in the nest that is my head;
a farewell to regret, I smiled, and this is what I said:
You, you ‘bitch,’ you have done well,
and that is very clear;
I trow that down the street a bit
there is a tavern near.
Let’s sally forth in my phaeton,
imbibe until our cares are gone,
ne’er remember what you’ve done
And have ourselves a beer!