The film “All About Eve” skews our perception
Of understudies, shown as base connivers-
This melodrama is a misconception,
For understudies truly are survivors;
Eight shows a week they stand able and willing
To fill their usual role or jump into
The shoes of big names who receive top billing,
And will be met with sighs, not ballyhoos,
Which is the reason I am glad to see
The understudies give their parts their all
Be it in title role, or villainy,
On stage, or with us in the practice hall.
So may it be that lucky stars align
And understudies get the chance to shine.
It is a singular species of writer
Whose poems makes my sonnets seem loquacious,
And for their brevity shine all the brighter,
Each filled with wit intensely perspicacious.
For who needs fourteen lines when four express
Eternal wisdom on preparing toast,
Then followed by the key to artlessness,
And giving old folk proverbs a riposte?
The facile leaps from silly to profound
Are in the DNA of Piet Hein‘s grooks,
Which started in the Danish underground,
Now found online and in out-of-print books.
But like gems finely cut in color varied,
I think they’ll have a hard time staying buried.
This week has been the time for gratitude
That things like health and love I’ve never lacked,
But thankfulness for those does not exclude
Appreciation for things less abstract,
Like ample sleep and sunbeams prime for warming,
And wearing shorts while at Thanksgiving feasts
Prepared by those with whom I am performing,
Whilst quoting lines from gypsies, imps, and priests.
For breaking bread with cherished friends and new
While raising voice and glass with equal cheer
The body’s strength and spirit will renew,
Serenity will be your souvenir.
My expectations utterly exceeded;
Today was the Thanksgiving that I needed.
When thinking on inevitable ends,
It’s easy to neglect the new beginnings,
Just as a focus on one loss contends
With gratitude for one’s plentiful winnings.
While evolution doubt will predispose,
Through instinct and a bias negative
That makes us see the spot and not the nose,
We shall endure- we know what makes us live.
So welcome, Dot and Charlotte! Bienvenue
To Enid, Mia, Zoe, and to Thomas!
Shalom, Olivia and Sonia! To
Serena and Penny I will give this promise:
Though sorrow may be part of every day,
There always will be good news on the way.
Four flights to cross the country, none delayed
Except for one that minimized my wait-
The pros and cons, meticulously weighed
Stayed equal, as if part of an estate
That left behind good fortune during travel.
It seems a luxury, yet in this case,
One snag would make the complex trip unravel;
Thus serendipity I did embrace.
When needy, I was given company.
When sorrowed, I had ample space to cry.
When weary, I found rest and reverie.
Now grateful, I accept, not asking why.
Though windfalls pessimists surely unnerve,
I know not to desire what I deserve.
A celebrant quartet, three sects comprising,
United by their love for the deceased,
Sent offerings of ancient words arising,
In celebration of her life surceased.
A choir of friends, their voices raised in song,
Gave of their music, hallowed ministry,
While consecration with congregant tears
And laughter celebrated memory.
A heartfelt homily, solemn communion
Of which all hearts were welcome to partake,
Clasped hands, sang harmonies, joyful reunion,
And blessed by sudden sun through clouds opaque.
In lines of your experience I read
A life well lived- O Sainted Aunt, Godspeed!
Ten minutes prior to boarding did they say
That I would really, truly have a seat.
At last, my lengthy trip was underway:
Phase One I could potentially complete.
Phase One concluded in the pouring rain,
When hurried ambulation to the gate
Ensured that I could board the Phase Two plane,
Though once onboard we had hour’s wait.
And now I sit, three hours in advance
Of home until the blessed hour of four
At which the TSA won’t look askance
When I pass by as they had done before.
For sustenance and Phase Three wait beyond
The checkpoint ere the new day will have dawned.
It’s vexing when the body’s frailty,
Which cannot bear a paucity of slumber
Without succumbing to a malady,
Brings symptoms whose diversions will encumber.
For who has time to sleep when there is singing
Be it a Haydn mass or classic jazz,
Or musicals that leave the spirits ringing-
Experiencing fully what one has?
Alas, how easily one runs aground
When unexpected obstacles arise,
And habit makes one simple to confound
By those things more complex than realized.
If only my dismayed, exhausted stare
Could make frustrations vanish into air.
No Shakespeare text is wholly problem free,
For even Hamlet must be saved at sea
By too-convenient pirates at their pleasure-
A text is not a play by any measure.
A play’s comprised of choices beyond number
To smooth the moments that the words encumber,
Defining character, gestures explaining
In ways both truthful and yet entertaining.
And when the concept unifies instead
Of highlighting the broken story thread,
We understand how Pericles can be
A trial to read and yet a joy to see.
For thoughtful, clever work thus on display
belies the concept of a problem play.
A fearsome and delicious spirit, gin,
Which soothes the tongue and warms the weary head,
When mixed with quinine, makes a medicine
Whose thaumaturgy’s well-known and widespread.
At least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe,
Unwinding from tonight’s demanding show,
But from my writing I get no reprieve-
I cannot quit with just a month to go.
Though that remaining month is so congested
That dieties would have to intervene
To make me, midst the gigs, properly rested,
At least until we start twenty-fifteen.
I celebrate both couplet and the bottom
Of my fair drink, both transient as autumn.