Life Stinks: An Early Spring Poem

Blogger’s Note: It’s a rare thing that I post twice in one day, but this has been percolating in my head for a few days now. Then earlier today, my friend at the Tales from the Domestic Church blog posted on Facebook that the spring air outside her office smelled “delicious.” We’re along way from flowers here, and though I appreciate the early (or earthy) signs of spring as much as anybody, decay doesn’t smell delicious. It smells like BRAAAAAINS!

Decease and Persist
Grey clouds spit chill drizzle on blackening snow;
Bare trees creak and clatter in scattering breeze.
Last leaves of past autumn tear, tumble, and blow —
And something undead stirs below.

The preening of songbirds begins in this cold.
Spring cleaning takes root in the richness of rot.
Aroma of flesh-fertile humus and mold —
Wet corpse-fed worm-fodder of old.

A fragrance of vagrants, impure and unclean;
Stiff leavings of winter now soften and spoil.
It rises but slowly, it’s smelt before seen;
The reek gives new meaning to green.

From ’neath this foul blackness we watch it arise;
Once-dead fingers scrabble from shadowy grave.
The zombie Earth lurches, blinks dirt from its eyes —
And stretches pale limbs toward the skies.

As swiftly the drifts turn to droplets and drown
What passes for life beneath Winter’s hard thumb,
With mindless persistence and sunblinded frown —
The dead rises up from the ground!

A Wee Bit Irish?

Blogger’s Note: The soundtrack to this post is above. You can about imagine a bare-knuckles brawl a la The Quiet Man, can’t you?

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which in the U.S. means wearing o’ the green and drinkin’ o’ the beer. (Unfortunately, too many folks are drinking green beer tonight, instead of the real deal: thick, black, and pleasantly bitter.)

I’ll confess that I’m wearing green today. Am I Irish? Depends on how you count. I’m half Polish (my mother’s side: Galubenskis and Koczwaras), and the rest is a mix. According to my late grandfather, Duane Thorp, we Thorps are English, French, Dutch, maybe a little bit American Indian, and Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish, which, according to at least one account I’ve read, means I’m descended from some really ornery Scotsmen whom the English settled in Ireland to drive out the Irish Catholics in the 1800s. Even in the 1950s, when my father was a boy in the Thumb of Michigan, he recalls an older relative — a bare-knuckles brawler of some repute — having a few drinks and going looking for Catholics to fight.*

So am I even a wee bit Irish? Well, tonight I won’t be drinking green beer, or black stout, or golden Irish whiskey, because it’s Lent, and I’ve given them up until Easter. Instead I’ll be celebrating with the beautiful Lorica of St.Patrick. These Thorps are Catholic now — and more Irish than ever!

*Of course, the Poles in the area — including the Galubenski family who lived next door to Dad, and their daughter, whom he married — were Catholic.