Monday, April 03, 2006

The other side

Having written my "accomplishments" post (and yes, I could add to it, but I feel I should wait longer and come up with a completely new second list) I now want to, perversely, do the complete opposite and write a list of things i can't do -- NOT the traumatic, ego-destroying failures that would make it a "beat-myself-up" exercise, but the silly, quirky things that are not me, that help define what I am by naming some of the things i am not (and in some cases don't even want to be or do) a kind of "Donkey's Delight" celebration of simply being human
(and, for anyone who isn't familiar with it, I've included underneath a copy of C S Lewis' poem "Donkey's delight" an old favourite of mine which I think is self-explanatory -- th humility which sets us free has to involve that quality of affectionate laughter -- remember that saint francis called the body "Brother Ass"
Herewith, the Pickle's can't list:

wiggle my ears
have a sense of direction (ok, yeah, it might be handy!!)
naturally curly hair
any kind of athleticism
dancing (with grace or rhythm)
sleep well
do jigsaws (I'll stick to crosswords thanks)
any kind of craft
programme the VCR (can anyone over 30?)
handy(wo)man skills (I do know which end of a hammer is the handle, but after that it's all theoretical)
change a tyre, or the oil in my car
keep a straight face
do cartwheels
remember phone numbers (too busy remembering poetry, and hopefully Hebrew verbs)
read my husband's writing
drive long distances (back problems)
curl my tongue
eat cabbage, or other yucky veggies
control my very visual imagination
dig the garden (again, my back)
anything that involves salesmanship or promotion
say no to anyone with sad eyes
remember where I put my glasses ... (yeah, I know)

Donkey's Delight - cs lewis
Ten mortal months i courteda girl with bright hair,
unswerving in my service
as the old lovers were
almost she had learned to call me
her dear love. but then,
one moment changed the omens,
she was cold again
for carelessly, unfairly,
with one glance of his eyes
a gay, light-hearted sailor
bore away the prize,
unbought, which i had sought with
many gifts and sighs

In stern disdain i turned to
the Muses' service then,
To seek how the unspeakable
could be fixed by a pen,
Not to flinch though the ink that
I must use, they said,
was my dearest blood, nearest
my heart, the richest red.
I obeyed them, i made them
many a costly lay,
Til carelessly, unfairly,
A boy passed that way
Who set ringing with his singing
All the fields and lanes;
They gave him their favour,
lost were all my pains.

Then I passed to a master
who is higher in repute,
Trusting to find justice
at the world's root.
With rigid fast and vigil,
silence, and shirt of hair,
the narrow way to paridise
I walked with care.
But carelessly, unfairly,
at the eleventh hour there came,
reckless and feckless,without a single claim,
a dare-devil, a ne'er do-well
who smelled of shag and gin;
Before me (and far warmer
was his welcome) he went in.

I stood still in the chill
of the Great Morning,
Aghast. Then at last
--Oh, I was late in learning--
I repented, I entered
Into the excellent joke,
The absurdity. My burden
Rolled off as I broke
Into laughter; and soon after
I had found my own level;
With Balaam's ass daily
Out at grass I revel,
Now playing, now braying
Over the meadows of light,
Our soaring, creaking gloria,
Our donkey's delight.

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