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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

30 June 2002

At home. How exciting.

After three temper tantrums and over £150 later, I've managed to get this old, knackered git of a computer online in the new flat. Hoorah. I now have to empty my email account from the 100 mails I've not answered since leaving the old flat.

I've also been really ill for the last week. Feel very sorry for me, please.

20 June 2002

Hey Kids!

I’m kind of nearly back, a bit. I haven’t managed to sort out an internet connection in my new flat, but have installed a phone. I can’t work out how to use my new grill or turn on the hot water, but I do know how to lock the doors and windows. I have learned how to use the oven, and also the shower. I have bought a TV licence and found out we don’t need one for the dog. I have managed to sleep in an empty flat on my own for four days in a row, but only with the help from my good friend Nitol. I’m currently typing this up at work, following an unsuccessful visit to the Royal Bank of Scotland, who informed me that I couldn’t open a second account with them without a passport, due to “September the 11th". I’ve made another appointment with them, and tomorrow will march in, with my out of date passport, which features a picture of me aged twelve with a different face than the one I currently have. If they refuse me again, I’ll scream.

I was very relieved to hear, via the plastic cat (who has now become my voice from home, since ireland.com started charging) that the whole country felt the same way I did on Monday morning, following our ‘dammit we didn’t lose’ departure from the World Cup. Sunday didn’t seem so bad – I was very much wrapped up in my own head, thanks to my cold, and the match was far too exciting for words. I couldn’t watch both of the penalties taken during the actual match – when we were awarded the second one, the pub cheered louder than it did when we actually scored it. I stopped breathing both times, and Olivia had to remind me to start again.

When extra time was over, I had to actually leave the pub – at that point, we were all packed closer together than battery hens and I couldn’t take it any more. Me and one other bloke – I think he was from Cork – stood outside the pub pacing up and down in our official strips (me wearing the white, him wearing the green) while one of the barmaids kept us up to date as to what was happening. The silences were more deafening than the roars. When Spain scored the last penalty, I started crying, as did Olivia. But then we had a drink or three and it all seemed a bit better – there was a lot of yelling that they’d done us proud, they’d never given in, they’d fought right to the end, we had deserved better, god bless and fair play. We felt a lot better.

Then on Monday morning, as the only Irish person working in our respective offices, we both began to receive sympathy and condolences from any and everyone that walked past the desk or spoke on the phone. It started to weigh down on us, as did the pictures on the front of all the national newspapers, of Irish fans in tears. As did reading details of the post-match interviews with Mick and the boys. As did the following day, when pictures of the homecoming in Phoenix Park were shown on the news. As still does any pictures of any dejected fans of any of the teams currently being knocked one by one out the tournament. This game isn’t fun any more.

Still. We’ve grown to love the game of dressing up, going to pubs in the middle of the day and yelling at television screens that Olivia and I have ordered GAA shirts for our respective counties (me = Dublin, Olivia = Westmeath), and will be down the pub on Sundays getting far too involved again.

15 June 2002

I'm off. I'm hungover, with a cold, have had about 5 hours sleep, have been putting the "final touches" to my packing since 9am, have only just finished the review of last night's show, am hot and sweaty and slightly nauseated, and the moving van is here in half an hour.

I don't know when I'll be back on line again, but I'll see you then. Take care now.

12 June 2002

Late breaking news: According to the Belief-O-Matic my true religious persuasion is:

1. Liberal Quakers (100%)
2. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (98%)
3. Unitarian Universalism (97%)
4. Neo-Pagan (89%)
5. New Age (81%)
6. Secular Humanism (78%)
7. Bahá'í Faith (73%)
8. Mahayana Buddhism (69%)
9. Theravada Buddhism (67%)
10. Reform Judaism (64%)
11. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (58%)
12. Taoism (58%)
13. New Thought (57%)
14. Nontheist (50%)
15. Orthodox Quaker (49%)
16. Jainism (48%)
17. Scientology (46%)
18. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (44%)
19. Sikhism (44%)
20. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (39%)
21. Hinduism (35%)
22. Jehovah's Witness (34%)
23. Orthodox Judaism (32%)
24. Islam (26%)
25. Seventh Day Adventist (23%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (13%)
27. Roman Catholic (13%)

…which is well weird. I wasn’t going to include the whole listing, but I thought it was really interesting that Roman Catholicism came out at the bottom, considering that’s how I was brought up. Even more interesting – for me – is the fact that the top two religions – Quaker and Protestant - are the two religions of my maternal grandparents.

Gutted. Possibly frightened off by my declaration of backing him all the way, Sandy escaped the boredom that was the England V Nigeria match, and scaled the walls of the Big Brother house this morning. Action man Sandy (43) climbed over the trellis to freedom, just after the kickoff of this morning’s tedious World Cup game.

Is he cool? Listen bud, he’s got radioactive blood

In other news, I’VE FILLED MY ROOM! Rocking. A lovely American girl has agreed to hand over some hard earned cash, and in exchange gets the pleasure of moving in literally seconds after I move out. Really. She’s going to be here when I leave in my rented van. Result.

Also, just for the sheer decoration of it, here is this:

God Bless our Gary

09 June 2002

That was a long day. I'm more or less packed up now, everything is off the walls, all my pictures are taken down and packed in boxes, and the room looks really bare. Less than a week to go, and I can't wait. It's odd how this has suddenly become more of a diary and less than just a journal in which to comment, but then again from next Friday, I don't know when I'm going to be back on line.

Still no word from anyone about the room, and I'm beginning to properly panic now. I can't possibly afford to pay rent here next month, but I can't think of anything more I can do. Three people came today altogether, three more are coming tomorrow, and after that... I might start ringing round and begging.

At this point too, I'd like to nail my allegiances to the flag, and say quite clearly -


No word back from any of the people that have seen the flat so far, but we've had two more visitors today. One was a girl whose nationality I have completely forgotten, and whose name I didn't know in the first place, who arrived twenty minutes after I had woken up in a panic. My room looks a complete shambles, due to the fact that I started packing last night and there are boxes and piles of things everywhere. I'm not sure she was sold on the place, so I don't expect to hear back from her.

The second girl was a Spanish girl, which was a nice change from all the Australians we've been meeting. She was very organised and asked so many more questions than anyone else has so far. Even so, I don't think she was all that interested. She took our house number and said she'd call back. I don't expect she will.

People are still ringing for the room, and we have at least three more people coming tomorrow night. My phone has keeps threatening to give up the ghost once more, but seems to spring back to life every now and again. I full expect that the next time it dies, it will be gone for good, so I've changed the message on the answering machine to include the house number. I'm going to miss that big brick of a phone. I don't want another one. Life just isn't fair.

Right. Back to packing.

08 June 2002

One last entry for today. I've been packing up my room, taking down my photos and posters, and trying to work out what the hell I'm going to do with all my videos and books, while I've had Big Brother on in the background, watching the house being divided between the "Haves" and "Have-Nots". It's hilarious how quickly they started bearing grudges against each other, and they haven't even seen the partitions yet.

Anyway. Michael Moore has just announced the opening of "MIKE'S OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY" . Please pay careful attention. Your lives may just depend on this.

We live in really, really, scary, scary times. BOO! See, you jumped, didn't you? I don't blame you. I did too, as I typed it! SCAAARRY TIMES!

Yes, there are thousands of evildoers who are working 24/7 to mess us up. Well, actually, it may only be a few hundred. OK, fine. I'll come clean: It's just three guys -- and they go by the names of bin Bush, al-Ashcroft and Abu Cheney.

Yes, these three have put us all in grave danger. Whether it was their inaction before September 11th, or their actions since September 11th, they have made this a less-safe country -- and they are doing their damnedest to destroy our constitution and our American way of life. They must be stopped. Or at least sent on a very long Carnival Cruise.

That is why today I am announcing the creation of MIKE'S OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY.

This Office will, each day, issue the necessary warnings to the American people (and to the other freaked-out inhabitants of this planet) about what precautions and action you and they will need to take. Though not yet a cabinet-level department (this would first require removing the squatters at 1600 Penn. Ave.), Mike's Office of Homeland Security will act as THE one-stop shopping and command center charged with monitoring the movements of the doers of true evil. This Office will dispatch the forces of the American Public (the vast majority of whom never elected a single damn one of the men who now "lead" us) to conquer evil wherever it may be, from DC to Wall Street to the Republic of Texas.

Let's face it, folks, it's not that these are simply bad men. It's just that now, with all the recent revelations, it has become sadly evident they are just plain stupid ("Mr.'President,' we think Osama is going to hijack planes and crash them into buildings!" Bush: "Hey, I'm on vacation -- send my aides a memo!"). When George W. promised last week to "securitize" the country, who among us felt really safe (or "safetized")? When General Ashcroft (as the Democratic senators on the "oversight" panel reverently addressed him recently) spends our money on expensive drapes to cover up the statue of Lady Justice at the Justice Department because he does note want to see a stone breast exposed, who among us feels the cover-up at Justice stops there? When Dick Cheney disappears for long periods of time, who among us doesn't scream, "PAR-TY!!"

So the CIA knew this, and the FBI knew that. And they did nothing. But THEY will not be part of Bush's new cabinet department for HIS Office of Homeland Security. No, of course not! Why have the two of them stinkin' up the room? And what do THEY have to do with making sure SICKOS DON'T KILL US??!! No, instead, W. is going to whip the Coast Guard and the fruitfly inspectors at Immigration into shape, those lazy bastards! No wonder our lives are still in jeopardy -- it's the out-of-control toll collectors at the Windsor Tunnel in Detroit! Thank God the FBI and the CIA will be allowed to continue on their own separate paths, kicking the crap outta each other, and answerable to no one. AS IT SHOULD BE!! I mean, where would we be today (and how many may have lived) had the FBI not siphoned off the resources of 200 full-time FBI agents who spent the better part of the late '90s on the Clinton-Lewinsky case -- investigating the national security crisis of how to get a stain out of a blue dress! What if they had been doing their REAL job -- like investigating dip-shit flight training schools in Florida and Texas and SAVING PEOPLE’S LIVES?! What a waste of time! And still, to this day, not a single apology from any Republicans for that costly misdirection of police protection. (You see, if I were to go call 9-1-1 right now and send the cops off to some stupid non-crime scene, I would be arrested. When the Republicans did it, they got the White House.)

Well, enough carpin' about these losers. Nothing they do will prevent the next attack, sad to say. So, at the very least, I can offer to help protect our constitution, our civil liberties, and our precious right to watch football, eat Tostitos, and NOT fall off the couch.

Plus, my Office of Homeland Security will give out prizes! All the Bush Office is doing is giving out secret warrants to arrest Americans, throw them in secret prisons and never charge them.

My color codes of various security levels will come in everything from CODE MAUVE to CODE PERIWINKLE. I will explain the day's "Crisis Situation" and give you "Your Mission." By turning to Mike's Office of Homeland Security you may not survive the next terrorist attack, but you will definitely make it to November 2, 2004. And wake up happy on November 3.

By what authority do I establish this Office? Well, I may not be the President, but they've just told me I've sold more books this year than Harry Potter -- and, dammit, that should bestow some sort of superpowers on me to protect the rest of us, right?

Thank you. Good night. And God Bless America Except Florida.

Michael Moore
Evildoer Doer


I'd like to point out that the time on blogger is wrong. She was late, it just doesn't look like it from the last post.

Contestant Number Three
... brought her boyfriend along for safety, which I always think is wise. She was also our first Scottish viewer, as everyone else has been from New Zealand or Australia. I don't understand why you'd want to move from somewhere sunny with beaches to someone freezing cold with rain, but Craig pointed out it might have something to do with the culture and the history. Yeah. But history doesn't keep you warm in the winter.

I digress. Contestant Number Three was very lovely, and very nice, but not at all interested in the slightest, and I think we're getting quite good at sensing this, although I'm always mislead by the people who give me horrible false hopes.

The cat has also now left, but I expect she will be back later.

That cat is still here. Another girl has rung to see the flat tomorrow, she's coming at 12pm. She sounds really nice.

The 4.30pm lady is late. I'm bored. I've finished writing the article for Comedy Lounge, and I'm trying to decide whether or not to get very very drunk tonight. I'll let you know my final decision.

Can you imagine a World Cup Final between England and Ireland? I’m not sure it bears thinking about.

Contestant Number One
...is a middle aged lady who sounded Russian. She was supposed to be here at 3pm, she arrived at 2.45pm while I was standing in my bedroom shouting 'woman like a man' by Damien Rice at the top of my voice to try and get myself into a positive frame of mind.

The Old Russian Lady (who had seen too much) didn't really speak much English, and didn't really seem too interested, although it was difficult to tell. She said she'd ring back on Monday, and although I've heard that before, I chose to believe her. I don't think she'd really fit in here though, and I wish her good luck in finding another flat.

Contestant Number Two
...followed the Old Russian Lady (10 shiny pounds to you if you can tell me where that quote is from) up the stairs, but I'm not sure she's going to be able to make the rent. It's actually the small grey cat that lives in the building next door, and she's still her after about 40 minutes. Currently, she's pummelling my teddy bear, and generally being very cute.

Right then. Second round of viewers starts at 3pm - that's in about twenty minutes, time fans - so I've decided on a new strategy that may or may not work out.

1. I have, in the words of someone who just emailed me, got my "wares" on display this morning. That is to say, the baps are out for the lads. That is in a pathetic attempt to possibly distract any potential male flatmates from the squalor of this flat by grabbing their attention elsewhere, as it were. I'm sure my mother is very proud.

2. I considered the possibility of baking a cake and brewing some coffee - a nice smell around the house is supposed to help viewers to associate the flat with a 'homely' feeling. However, I'm not able to bake, and we don't have any coffee. So instead I sprayed the bathroom with airfresher, and the kitchen smells like Jif. I'm hoping that works along the same principles.

3. I've hoovered, and moved all the crap that usually sits in the hallway in to Anna's bedroom, as she's in Glasgow for the weekend.

After that, there's nothing I can do. What I've decided to do though, to help pass the afternoon and to stop me from killing everyone that steps foot in here, is to blog everyone that comes in the door as soon as they walk back out of it. I'm sure that will make for interesting reading. In my head.

And it's all gone pants again. That girl rang back this morning and said she'd gotten a better offer, and so wouldn't be taking the room - my God, last night all she had to say was "I'll let you know tomorrow" or "I'm waiting to hear back from someone else", but instead she had to hedge her selfish little bets and string us along until she found something else. That's just so mean - now I'm right back at square one and praying that one of the sods that said they'd ring back actually do, and agree to take the room - it's only 7 days until I move out of here, and I need that money desperately, but more than that, I need the peace of mind that would come with knowing the room was filled and I wouldn't be paying rent on two flats next month...

07 June 2002

Hasn't tonight turned out to be lovely?

Firstly, one of the girls that came to look at the flat has decided that she quite likes it, and happily my two male flatmates quite liked the look of her too, and so she's coming round tomorrow with her cheque book - and as soon as she writes it out, the room is hers, and I can stop cleaning and showing complete strangers my personal belongings.

Also, Annoying Allison has been kicked out of the Big Brother house, allowing us at least another week to watch Alex's slow and torturous decline in to madness. How fabulous.

Oh my God, I hate this. Seven people have traipsed through the flat in the last two hours, asking about why I’m moving, and what goes with the room, and what we do for a living, and – most often – whether I liked living here. What am I going to say? “No, it’s been a living hell. I’ll be ridiculously happy if I never see any of these people again. I’m intending to wipe this whole traumatic experience out of my memory, using lazer surgery if necessary.” It’s a great flat, I lie with a massive grin sprawled across my face. They’re a great bunch of people. We all stand together in a little power circle, talking and joking with each other and pretending to be friendly, for the first and only time since I moved in nine months ago. It’s such a sad attempt at fraud and deception. I’m sure someone could sue us, if they could find the appropriate by-law. Geoffrey Archer went down for doing the same thing, didn’t he?

I really doubt other reviewers do this, you know.

I counted 11 of my quotes used in show blurbs, and more excitingly, 6 used on posters. That’s the bit I like best – walking around town and pointing and saying “I said that!” and looking smug.

Like I said, I really doubt other reviewers do this.

I’m currently sitting about at home, waiting for the six people who said they were coming over to view to flat to come over. Considering we made these arrangements just yesterday, and some today, it’s quite surprising that already two people haven’t shown up. It’s really irritating to have to show people your room, and have them all look down their noses at you and where you live. I had one very sniffy girl look around on Wednesday night, and would have cheerfully strangled her as she walked about with complete disdain painted all over her smug little face.

Anyway. Must remember I’m supposed to be selling this place. It’s lovely, everyone is really friendly, it’s a great area… yes, that’s why I’m moving out. Oh, the horror of lying to strangers.

06 June 2002

The Fringe Programme hit the streets of Edinburgh today, and I had the pleasure of running from my offices in the West End of town to the Royal Mile and back again in under an hour, while trying to read through the whole programme to Susan who stayed on the phone to me from London for the duration. Not many surprises in the comedy section, although there were one or two acts we didn't realise were coming up. Most of our time was spent looking through the music section - there are lots and lots there that I'm quite excited about, but particularly the appearances by The Reindeer Section, the apparently-not-split-up-at-all Divine Comedy, and Jack L.

And even more fun throughout the afternoon as I searched through the comedy section again, counting all the acts that had used quotes from reviews I wrote in the last two years. I'll tally up the final score tomorrow and let y'all know. I really must get to bed.

05 June 2002

One more thing. Another train crash. This time, along the line I used to get every weekend while I was in college, when I used to travel between Coleraine and Derry to stay with my sister. That's just terrifying, because I used to find that particular stretch of the line really frightening - along there, you're right by the sea, travelling incredibly quickly at the edge of some very high cliffs and ravines. I used to be quite nervous of rock falls on the line. I think someone's trying to tell me something.

It's finally happened. My stupid mobile has blinking died. The stinking screen on it doesn't work, so I can't tell if it's on unless I ring it. I can't read text messages. I can't see if it needs charging. I can't tell if it's in range. I can't tell if I've got a voice mail message if I didn't hear it ring. I can't get text messages. And all of my phone numbers are stored in it, so I can't bloody well ring anyone that's not programmed into the speed dial, because I don't know anyone's numbers. It makes me want to cry, just thinking about it.

I hate how dependent I am on stupid things like computers and mobile phones - if they collapse I am completely screwed, and have to spend tons trying to get it all fixed. I'm just coming up on the two year mark of owning my mobile, and have taken ridiculously good care of it, so I can only assume that they're built to just break for no reason so that you have to splash out and buy a new one every six months.

I'm quite annoyed. Can you tell?

Get in!

World Cup Fever has definitely settled in my veins. I'm spending an inordinate amount of time checking scores, reading statistics, keeping an eye on every match and generally being something of a bore to everyone who doesn't really care - and living in Scotland (whose team didn't qualify and who therefore have no interest), that's a lot of people.

However, since Scotland aren't playing, it was then left to the pubs and distilleries around the country to chose an alternative team to get behind, and most of the cannier publicans decided to get behind the Irish squad, due to the fact that, as a nation, we are known to be partial to a tipple or two.

Therefore on Saturday I got up earlier than I would on a weekday, and met my cousin Olivia on the corner of the street. She was still drunk from the night before, and I was already exhausted due to having to entertain a child of 5 for all of the previous day. We walked down to one of the nearest pubs that had decided to become Irish for the duration and were very pleased, but not particularly surprised, to see quite a few others dressed exactly the same as us.

Throughout the match, I kept up a three-way text conversation between my parents, who were watching the match at home in Dublin and my brother, who was watching it from a GAA club in Sydney. We screamed ourselves hoarse for most of the game, alternatively with abuse and praise for both our team and for the Cameroon side. When we finally equalised, I thought I'd go deaf. It was amazing. Also, drinking free cocktails of Guinness and Champagne at 7.30 in the morning added to the delight.

Today, I was slightly gutted to have had to miss the second match because of a heavy workload, thanks to our extended Jubilee weekend. Olivia works with flexi-time and so she was able to get back down to that pub, and we agreed that I would phone her every now and again, and in the meantime follow the match on ireland.com, as they have a minute by minute coverage of all the action on their site. 18 minutes in to the game, I was already bored of pressing refresh every 30 seconds, and so rang her. She answered the phone, and immediately Germany scored. She made me swear not to ring again. We're a very superstitious family.

I therefore held off from ringing until right at the end of extra time (although we kept texting each other at an alarming rate) and, having observed carefully the four minutes added injury time, I rang her phone again to commiserate for a rubbish game and a very disappointing score. She answered the phone, and then immediately the entire pub went mental. Robbie Keane had scored in the last seconds of the game. All I could do was giggle as I listened to the whole pub scream with delight again and again and again as the television replayed the goal from every angle.

Although I obviously have a very uncanny sense of timing, I'm not going through that suspense again. Next Tuesday, I'll be standing side by side with Olivia and screaming as loudly as my dying voice will allow me. My Aunty has sent me some lucky "Ireland 2002" socks from home, and they have to get some wear. Now all I have to do is persuade work to let me have the afternoon off...

03 June 2002
[For no reason, other than me and Deirdre just found this on the internet, and were reminded of just how wonderful it is, and also just to break the silence of this blog (upon which normal service will be resumed tomorrow), here is The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by T S Eliot.]

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.