Pay Your Taxes, Cultivate Your Garden....and Being There With Chauncey Gardner ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pay Your Taxes, Cultivate Your Garden....and Being There With Chauncey Gardner

Most of us love the seasons. Winter turns to Spring. The blizzards are past,
the sun is now shining,
the sap is flowing, the flowers are blooming,
the birds are chirping and the bees are buzzing.
Tennyson said that,

"In the spring a young man's
fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love."

So, I have decided to put politics and government
aside for a bit and wax
poetic about Spring or rather, let the great
poets do it for me.
We begin with T.S. Eliot from the first lines of
“The Burial of the Dead” :

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering       
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

Dried tubers? Not what you were expecting? Winter may have
kept Eliot warm but I had to chop, stack and burn wood--
and go to Jamaica for a week to stay warm.
If that poem was not disturbing enough,
try Yeats’ “The Wheel”:

Through winter-time we call on spring,
And through the spring on summer call,
And when abounding hedges ring
Declare that winter's best of all;
And after that there s nothing good
Because the spring-time has not come -
Nor know that what disturbs our blood
Is but its longing for the tomb.

Ooooh. Our longing for the tomb? Curl up and read that and
you’ll stay warm for sure, especially if you light the book
on fire and sit on it.Perhaps readers are familiar with Gerard Manley Hopkins’

“Spring and Fall To A Young Child”.

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Ah, Poor Margaret. Poor us. Poor Hopkins. He died of
typhoid at age 45 by the way. Yeats and Eliot
reached a riper age but is wanwood leafmeal the stuff I bagged all weekend?

I think what these DWEMS (Dead White European Men) are telling us
is that Spring may not be as sweet as it’s cracked up to be.
Hope may spring eternal, but Spring is fleeting. Enjoy it while you can.
Make hay while the sun shines. Time and tide wait for no man.
Do not ask for whom the bell tolls (it tolls for thee), Carpe diem. Live each
day as if it is your last. Live each day as if you’ll last forever.

You may recall that Candide admonished us to cultivate our gardens.
Whether or not you believe that we live in the best of all possible
worlds, taxes are of course due tomorrow, as if you had forgotten,
and you know what they say about death and taxes. On this account,
April may be cruel, but it is the time to cultivate our gardens.

Unable to leave politics aside, I must mention Chance the Gardener, or
“Chauncey Gardner” [end quote] from the brilliant satirical book and movie
“Being There” [end quote], which starred Peter Sellers. Lest anyone mistake my
gobbledygook coming from the rice pudding behind my ears for brilliant philosophical
wit, you will also remember that Chance (or was it Chauncey?) told the president that,

“As long as the roots are not severed, all is well - and all will be well - in the garden”. The president listened and repeated it to the nation which was reassured.

April is cruel. Enjoy Spring. Rakes those leaves, for they are like the things
of man. Pay your taxes. Cultivate your garden.( And find the trailer online for Being There...)


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