Monday, July 06, 2009

The first day in the rest of my life?

The inspection had ended at 1300 on Friday and I had spent the weekend in the garden and with the family. Monday morning now, and where am I? On a train to the big smoke for two days of assessment and report writing ..... and thought I had retired .... again!!

The train carriage is half empty, but also half full of slightly overweight middle-aged businessmen and smart young women making their way in the world. It looks and sounds like a two-way ladder with seriously boring guys pompously and pretentiously working with laptops and piles of paper, while aspiring and assertive (largely) women, clearly better organised, listen to their ipods and read the financial pages. Quite a contrast!

And in this melee, where am I? With a foot on both sides of the ladder? Who can tell? Certainly not me!

I tried to think this through but we are in Rugby already, more than halfway to London in just over the hour; the speed of life today! And here I am musing yet again! What would my favourite poet Donne make of this dilemma? Or tycoon, Alan Sugar? Or Paul of Tarsus? I sometimes think that I am thoughtful like Paul, but he was never confused; maybe he was like me? Reading him, I do believe that he was trapped with a personal issue he never describes; his theology may be sound, but his life seems to indicate a tension he never details.

Alan Sugar would not be where I am; no tensions for him, no train either! he is the exemplification of clarity, direction and judgement, underpinned with confidence in his own abilities. He really is the consummate professional, having faults but being wrong not being one of them.

So I am left with Jonne Donne, that sensitive and jesuitical poet with a resolution to every quandary, even if he does not share it, an answer to every tension, a solution to every problem! Whether his poem is compromise or conclusion, the outcome is always final, secure and unquestioned. At the "mingling of bloods" nothing stays the same, nor can the old world return; it changes everything ... for ever!

Marke but this flea, and marke in this,
How little that which thou deny'st me is;
Me it suck'd first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled bee;
Confesse it, this cannot be said
A sinne, or shame, or losse of maidenhead,

Yet this enjoyes before it wooe,
And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than wee would doe.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
When we almost, nay more than maryed are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met,
And cloysterd in these living walls of Jet.

Though use make thee apt to kill me,
Let not to this, selfe murder added bee,
And sacrilege, three sinnes in killing three.

Cruell and sodaine, has thou since
Purpled thy naile, in blood of innocence?
In what could this flea guilty bee,
Except in that drop which it suckt from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and saist that thou
Find'st not thyself, nor mee the weaker now;

'Tis true, then learne how false, feares bee;
Just so much honor, when thou yeeld'st to mee,
Will wast, as this flea's death tooke life from thee.

John Donne