Cloister Commentary, Day 49: “Beating Death in Life”

Seven weeks. First, a poem for me, you, and us. I gave it to my seniors every year in May at Hickman, and I was not surprised to see it circulating yesterday:

“The Laughing Heart,” by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

As Tom Waits said simply after reading it aloud once on camera, and being briefly stunned, “That’s a beauty.”

Speaking of seniors in May, Nicole and I have kept the memory of her mother Lyndaalive every spring by honoring two 12th graders who are on a career track for nursing with a $250 scholarship a piece. We are not currently able to meet this year’s honorees in person, but those were two checks it felt good to write. We have to keep their names under our hats til Monday.

In the late afternoon, we Zoomed with a few friends who, like us, are veterans of one of Missouri’s finest-ever movie rental palaces, 9th Street Video. We moonlighted there for several years from the time it opened in ’92 (I think) and worked at least one shift a year there for over a decade. I’ve never worked anywhere with smarter and funnier fellow employees. Janet Marsh and Jennifer Cole (the only participants I can tag), let’s do it again.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

Few musical genres make me lighter at heart than calypso. See what it does for you!

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