Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We Can Never Go Back to Manderley Now

Should I care if I get cancer
In this wretched, troubled, world
Where all seems swiftly headed towards the rocks?

Since we live with devolution,
 Marred and poisoned with pollution
Cancer grants us Absolution,
 Since our kids don’t care enough to wear their socks.

As towards The End we're whirling
With flaming batons twirling,
And last night's dinner hurling towards the rug

And no one seems to notice
As they take positions lotus
To escape the awful bother,
Despite demur from failing Father,
To remove the dreadful stench, at which they shrug

And each, emaciated limb
Grayish, pale, translucent, slim
 Flailing in St.Vitus' Dance
Keeps death watchers in a trance
As with dead, unseeing eyes they watch and long
With fading final song for their ultimate demise
I’d be grateful to have cancer
It has given me an Answer
In this wretched, troubled, world
Where my life now lies unfurled
Wherever I have travelled
All behind me has unravelled,
And backward glances give me naught but shocks.
As I see we’ve always headed towards the rocks.

~ FreeThinke (1/19/14)


  1. Rebecca is one of my favorite short works of fiction.

    Our Mandeley has rotting beams. The roof is falling in. Walls are not remaining upright.

    It is better to die before we see Manderley flat on the ground. The is a new Manderley on the other side.

    PS: Good poem, FT.

  2. Irish singer Enya has a more optimistic view of life I guess, even though she admired the same Manderley you wrote about. She bought an old Irish castle and renamed it Manderley Castle. She had to add some security features to protect herself from stalkers apparently.

  3. You've captured the death rattle of Western Christendom quite beautifully.

  4. There is likely not any individual anywhere whose life has not been touched by cancer, either personally, or close family and friends.

    However, don't expect any sympathy from the NYT and Bill Keller and his missus:

    "Writer Emma Gilbey Keller and her husband, former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, seem to have found this out over the past few days. In a successive pair of columns in different publications, the Kellers opined about the prodigious tweets of a woman named Lisa Bonchek Adams, a Stage IV breast cancer patient in New York — and both reaped a whirlwind of outrage in the process."


    Seems that if you follow the prescribed treatments of the American cancer—industry,slash, poison and burn—and end up on death's doorstep you will have the "compassionate Kellers" waiting to denigrate you and toss you into the grave.

    That should be enough to make the most pessimistic person hang to insult the Kellers and the NYT.

  5. Thersites! It's perceptive of you to see -- or is it feel -- the similarity to The Raven.

    I wrote this in a flash two days ago wrote at Western Hero as an oblique response to the item there, then decided it might be worth saving, so I did, refined it just a bit, and featured it here. I swear to you I only saw the poe-ish resemblance after it was finished, as I was fashioning it for these pages.

    The Unconscious -- or is it the Subconscious? -- is always at work.

    In this way everything that was -- is -- or will be --is undoubtedly related or interconnected.

    And, as I keep saying, every bit of it emanated from the same Source aeons and aeons ago.

  6. Thank you, AOW, and Miniver both for kind words about the poem. It's encouraging to see that you realize both "Manderley" and "Cancer" are used as SYMBOLS and not meat to be taken literally.

    Very rarely in poetry are things meant to be taken literally. Imagery that suggests moods or conditions, rhythmic inflections, pace, flow all work to heighten the experience, which can be transformative -- in other words awaken dormant awareness help you to see or feel something you might not have known otherwise.

  7. Waylon, I scanned one of the the articles cited on the Keller-Cancer brouhaha, and found all parties involved equally repugnant.

    I believe in freedom -- even the freedom to be distasteful, cold-hearted and unduly critical. I disagree with the Kellers' approach, but, as the saying goes, would "defend to the death" their right to publish whatever they want. Withdrawing the column was cowardly and against freedom of expression on the part of the British press.
    At the same time I think making averse criticisms of someone suffering the pangs of imminent death is ugly, insensitive, and revealing of deeply inhuman character.

    LET IT BE what it will be.

    The only thing I cannot tolerate -- and will not tolerate -- is out and out STUPIDITY expressed with malice aforethought. I'm sure you all know EXACTLY what I mean, right?

  8. Dolores Heinlein-PaineJanuary 21, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    I read the article you linked to. Typical progressive know-it-all-ism.

    Progressivism is fundamentally anti-life and anti-liberty, so long as the cognoscenti get their special privileges.

    Big news flash for the Kellers: You're no longer the information gatekeepers. The little people tweet and blog while the Old Gray Lady grows more senile and irrelevant every day.

  9. Yes, Dolores, and the death grip the corrupt figureheads Dan, Tom, and Peter had on the selection and dissemination of News and Information has been broken. Time Magazine is in the ropes, and so is the rest of print journalism.

    I have mixed feelings about it, because what we get here on the net is wildly undependable, and too much of it is calculated to appeal to one set of prejudices or another without much regard for the truth.

    Tarcomed Deraton

    Total freedom is almost as frightening as totalitarian control. The next enemy to be destroyed, I think, is the travesty called public education.

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  11. I know you consider me ungrateful, FT, but I try to pick my spots.

    You may enjoy this article on Emily

    Thought I'd point it out since poetry seems to be the current topic. So much better than politics.


  12. Thanks Ducky. I read the article with some interest, but very frankly I much prefer to read and experience poetry and literature for myself rather than read what others try to make of it. I feel very much the same about music as I do about "letters," however, were it not for the guidance of one or two wonderful mentors who captured my imagination early I might never have become involved in these things.  So, good teaching certainly has a most valuable place in our experience. Captious or overly punctilious scholarship motivated, one feels, to call attention more to the brilliance of the analyst or critic than to the virtue of the work in question, may not.

    Emily, herself, reveals her own feelings on the subject more than adequately, I think in this poem -- a longtime favorite of mine:

    Arcturus his other name,—
    I ’d rather call him star!
    It ’s so unkind of science
    To go and interfere!

    I pull a flower from the woods,—
    A monster with a glass
    Computes the stamens in a breath,
    And has her in a class.

    Whereas I took the butterfly
    Aforetime in my hat,
    He sits erect in cabinets,
    The clover-bells forgot.

    What once was heaven, is zenith now.
    Where I proposed to go
    When time’s brief masquerade was done,
    Is mapped, and charted too!

    What if the poles should frisk about
    And stand upon their heads!
    I hope I’m ready for the worst,
    Whatever prank betides!
    Perhaps the kingdom of Heaven’s changed!
    I hope the children there
    Won’t be new-fashioned when I come,
    And laugh at me, and stare!
    I hope the father in the skies
    Will lift his little girl,—
    Old-fashioned, naughty, everything,—
    Over the stile of pearl!

    ~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

  13. Ingenuvia de la Manorborne said

    FYI: Manderley once belonged to Maxim and Rebecca de Winter, then Rebecca got cancer and killed herself, but deliberately made it look as though Maxim had murdered her, because Rebecca was a hateful cunt. Then, on the cliffs overlooking Monte Carlo Maxim met ultimate shrinking violet Plain Joan Fontaine, Rebecca's polar opposite, plucked her from the clutches of a hideous old dragon who'd hired poor Joan as a paid companion, and took simpering Joan home from the Cote d'Azur as his new bride. Unfortunately, Mrs. Danvers, the finty-eyed, lesbian housekeeper who'd been having an affair with Rebecca, who in turn had been having affairs with everyone in the book except poor Maxim, got royally pissed off by Joan's arrival, did everything to sabotage the new bride's marriage, failed miserably after much sturm und drang, and wound up burning the house down -- and herself with it -- for sheer spite, mind you. Maxim and Joan are left homeless at the end but glad to be free at last of the spectre of Rebecca. Presumably they will spend the rest of their days as beachcombers.

  14. I doubt anything was consummated between Mrs. Danvers and Rebecca although in the terrific scene at the lingerie drawer we are made quite certain that Danny was quite dedicated to Rebecca.

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  16. Good morning, Ducky, I'd still like to know whether you got anything at all out of the explanation you were given of the role and functions of orchestral and choral conductors.

    When you ask a specific question of someone who presumably knows what he is talking about, and he makes an obvious effort to try to answer it honestly, it's only manners that oblige you to make some sort of response, even if just a simple acknowledgment.

    I wouldn't call you "ungrateful," but I suspect you were not very well brought up. Good etiquette is the grease that makes the engine of social intercourse run smoothly.

    I'm not peeved. It's what I have come to expect from you over time, but I still hope to build better relationships with you and others with whom I frequently disagree.

    1. Damn FreeThinke, and here I thought all along Astro Glide greased the engine of social intercourse :-)

  17. Frida Van der WienerJanuary 22, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    "...but I still hope to build better relationships with you ..."


    Good luck with that! Here's Ducky is a cad of the first order!

  18. As Christians we must never give up hope, Frida. Once we abandon hope for redemption, we are no longer Christians, butr cynics instead.


    By the way, Mlle. de la Manorborne, your ribald, mildly off-color précis of Daphne du Maarier's Rebecca was most amusing -- a perfect example of how merely factual accounts may be correct on the most basic level, but completely misrepresent the tone, nature, feeling, spirit, ethos and aesthetic of a work of art or literature.

  19. FT, I was about to respond until I read your bullshit about my not being well brought up.

    If you notice, any time someone tries to converse with you you immediately criticize their position and go right into this mode where you demonstrate your neurotic need to be seen as the authority.

    I may be a South Boston street kid but my upbringing was proper and you sir need to be a bit more circumspect.

  20. "I was about to respond until I read your bullshit about my not being well brought up."

    Boo hoo! What a burst of self-pitying sensitivity from such an insensitive clod.

  21. The one thing liberals can never seem to do, FT, is face the truth about themselves. They will never admit it when they have been wrong, never accept responsibility for their poor behavior. Instead they always try to turn it around and do their best to make it look as though the one who has been badly treated is at fault, and even stoop to using invective in the process.

    Your friend, the duck, has given a perfect example of this sort of thing right here.

    I can't pretend to understand it, but I can certainly recognize it when I see it. I suspect having no sense of humor is at the bottom of it, but who knows. And why should anyone care, really?

    Keep trying, FT, even though I think you may never get anywhere. At least you prove that you're a gentlemen, which, indeed, you are, when you attempt to bridge gaps.

    ------------> Katharine Heartburn



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