Feel the Force, Luke


Luke, thinking Deep Thoughts.

I haven’t officially welcomed the newcomer to the household–Luke! He was adopted from a rescue group late last year. Let’s see what he has to say.

Donna: Any thoughts on the state of the arts? One of your predecessors, Toby, was something of a Rolling Stones fan. He particularly liked the song “Bitch” (although he was disappointed by the deceptive title) and the organ solo in “I’ve Got the Blues.”

Luke: I don’t pay much attention to music. But I do appreciate the fiber arts.

Donna: Oh, yes, the blanket. What do you find aesthetically pleasing about it?

Luke: When you first brought it home, rolled up, it was like a giant toy! It was huge! It was a real challenge to carry it around, but you know I am up for anything as long as it is play. No toy gets the better of me.

Donna: But its merits as a work of art…?

Luke: Well, when you unrolled it, I realized it was a blanket, but it still retained that play-with-me quality, which I love. It’s soft and cushy, yet strong, so I can pull it from one end of the couch to the other, over and over, without tearing it, even when I use paws and teeth. Best. Blanket. Ever.

Donna: What do you think of the neighborhood?

Luke: Great! …except for one thing….

Donna: What is that?

Luke: The storm drains. My previous humans didn’t take me exploring so I never realized how many of these truly frightening hazards are scattered about.

Donna: They’re not frightening.

Luke: I notice that humans seem to be unaware of the subtle, horrible smell that emanates from these hellish openings in the pavement.

Donna: No, I’ve never noticed a smell, but dogs do have more sensitive noses. The storm drains smell like poop, you mean?

Luke: Slightly, but I don’t mind that. No — they smell like … damp … and dark … and cats. I think cats use them as secret passages. That is very worrisome.

Donna: Any thoughts on politics? Advice for President Trump?

Luke: I hear that he doesn’t have a dog.

Donna: That’s correct.

Luke: I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, he doesn’t look like a good ball-thrower, and wouldn’t be any fun. However, a dog could teach him something about loyalty.

Donna: President Trump is very firm about wanting loyalty.

Luke: Yes, but here’s where he goes wrong: loyalty is something that you give, not that you take. There was a perfect example in All the President’s Men

Donna: I didn’t realize you were watching that. I thought you were asleep.

Luke: I am never asleep while something is going on, even if I look like I am. Near the end, when the two reporters screw up and the paper is being attacked, the editor of the newspaper decides, “We’re going to stick by the boys.” That’s loyalty.

Donna: We’re almost out of time. Any final words?

Luke: Play every day. That’s my advice. Speaking of which, would you throw the squeaky lamb for me now?

Leaves Falling Fast in Goldengrove


Many autumns ago, my cousin told me that her daughter had asked her, greatly upset, why all the trees were dying. Apparently, Gerard Manley Hopkins’ young friend asked him the same question.

Spring and Fall:
to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás 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 wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Hopkins’ mind looked for the unifying principal of whatever he was examining, so “Sorrow’s springs are the same” is a key line leading to the poem’s conclusion.

FYI, “ghost”=spirit; “unleaving”=losing leaves.

Hopkins couldn’t find a publisher for this poem (written in 1880), although he had been published numerous times. “Spring and Fall” was not published until 1918, 29 years after his death. It’s a powerful work, but maybe it took the World War I generation to recognize it.