Sailing to Mesopotamia

hqdefaultI went to Starbucks and asked for Green Tea. The cute young barista with a ring in her nostril gave me iced green tea. What an unmitigated outrage. I hate when they do that. Like, if I order a martini and they give you a vodka martini. Martinis are gin, unless otherwise specified! The fact that vodka martinis are very popular and lots of people are drinking them doesn’t mean that you can change the definition of martinis! I don’t care what other people do, even if I am in an ever shrinking minority. Why can’t a basic thing like Green Tea mean what it has always meant since time immemorial? Confucius didn’t have to say that he meant hot Green Tea when he asked for tea.

Why was I so shaken and stirred by this trivial event? I guess I was kind of feeling like the young were taking over, like this was no longer a country for old men–if it ever was. I remember when they had this new fangled thing called CDs. I went in a record store and didn’t see any vinyl records. I asked the clerk and he looked at me like: “Where you been, Rip Van Winkle?” I felt embarrassed and perhaps a little ashamed. I swear that I heard the theme song to The Flintstones and felt like Fred or Barney, wondering what happened to the device that spun the disks with the pterodactyl beak for a needle?

Still, that was no excuse for me to lose my temper. Starbucks, with their Italian names for sizes? Whatever happened to Small, Medium, and Large? I guess I will just have to adjust, when I ask for tea and whatnot. Don’t want to be that old man in a ratty bathrobe, waving his cane on the porch, ranting at the kids doing donuts on his lawn with their Stingrays. I remember telling Jade Blue Eclipse that I didn’t approve of the term, “props,” short for “proper respect,” because props already meant objects used in a theatrical production. Even as I said it I could see that it sounded lame. I was internally rolling my eyes at myself.

Sometimes “tea” means “T,” i.e., Truth. Dirt Alert! She’s about to spill the T. Dishing the dirt, with the rest of the goils. I guess this is certainly acceptable. It’s actually, in this sense, really good imagery as the picture of you all sitting around drinking tea while gossiping is reinforced. I’m not advocating that you should revoke poetic license for the young. After all, caught in that sensual music all neglect monuments of unageing intellect.

Sailing to Byzantium

W. B. Yeats, 1865 – 1939

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


3 comments on “Sailing to Mesopotamia

  1. Good column, didn’t read the Yeats, and it’s time to change that now-irrelevant graphic. Did you read my “Poetry Scrapbook”? Or is it “Poetry Notebook”? I keep waffling on the choice.

    Just sign me “Mocrates.”

    • Free blogs on WordPress only give you so much storage space for graphics so I recycle. The Yeats poem is the source of various references like No Country for Old Men, a title used by Cormac McCarthy. Both the poem and the graphic stay.

      Just sign me “Playtoy.”

  2. Rebekkah says:

    “Unmitigated outrage” is hysterical.

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