Pathos, Bathos, and the Bones of a Goat that was Born on a Sunday

This week marked the first week post-classes. I still have one more assignment, a fairly brief paper due Monday, and then I’ll truly be full-time dissertationing. Or, at least, that’s the general idea. We’ll see how that goes. One way or another, the coming months are sure to feature many days spent marathoning Nightmares in Dissertation Writing, my new show on Netflix (except not actually, I would never wish that on Netflix). The first two episodes weren’t great, but I’ll power through the whole series somehow.

Also, as regards this week’s title, I basically just wanted to use the word bathos. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s essentially a abrupt change from high, pathetic (in the literary sense) language to mundane, vulgar language. It’s often used for comic effect, but sometimes is done accidentally by people genuinely thinking they’re writing some lofty sentiment. Anyway, there’s a Wikipedia article on it if you’d like to investigate further. As far as the goat thing goes, two hundred points to anyone who knows the reference.

Also, totally unrelated to everything else in this post but important to me as a human being, I have a brief public service announcement. I often see things on Facebook that I disagree with, like politically. I like this, because it challenges me to really think about what I believe. Sometimes, though, there are gross factual errors. Normally, I don’t do anything about them. But I ought. Anyway: the gender wage gap. It has to do with the difference between men and women’s wages for the same job, not just average salaries of men and women or whatever. Women do tend to work fewer (paid) hours in jobs with lower salaries (which is both related to choice of career and the social construction of problematic gender roles), but that’s not really the core of the wage gap issue. There’s a helpful, brief video by John Green that tries to explain it, I think it’s a pretty well-thought and researched video. It’s obviously a super complicated topic, but it’s super important to think about complicated topics. Because informed citizens and things. Also, just being a good person. So there’s that. Sorrynotsorry for that little interlude.

So I went with a couple friends from church to Carlingford this past Saturday (while doing everything in my power to not do work). The forecast called for rain all day, but we were blessed with gorgeous weather. We went to hike up this…thing. I want to call it a mountain (because we climbed it and it was really crazy steep) but I can’t because it was actually just a hill. Ireland, you may be aware, has nothing that I would qualify as a mountain though, in its defense, it is far from flat.

Anyway, we got lost literally like two minutes into the walk. Luckily, we happened upon someone who knew his way around. He very kindly guided us around to the right path, which we promptly lost again, briefly, before finally getting onto the hill/mountain/big rocky thing springing out of the sea. The issue with going up meant that, while it continued to be mostly sunny, it ceased to be warm due to a wind insistent that I not get too pleased with the view. When nearly to the top, we (for reasons utterly unknown) decided to go as fast as we could to the end. This was problematic primarily for two reasons: it was incredibly slippery (rivulets and puddles all the way up, no idea where the water was coming from) and it was incredibly steep. In the interest of honesty, I should say that we didn’t actually go all the way to the top because of aforementioned sweatiness and general leg wobbliness, but we did get to the highest point overlooking the town. To go higher, we would have had to go backwards and lose sight of it. And on the way down I only slipped and fell once, which is remarkable if you only knew how very slippery and steep it was. Now, I’m not sure if I’ve said this already, but this big rocky thing was very slippery and very steep.

After the climb, we just walked around town for a bit, enjoying the castle, the marina, and a delightful little café. All in all, it was a wonderful visit to a wonderful town, definitely would recommend. It’s up in County Louth, right near the border, and it’s just a lovely area. The stereotypical Irish countryside with rolling green fields and loads of sheep. It was the perfect time, too, not only because of the weather but because of the lambs. So many lambs. Precious. And, of course, driving back into Dublin it hailed, then rained, then was sunny again. Because spring.

And on that note, the poem for this week. Again, this is one of my own compositions, meant to correspond directly with Autumn Rhapsody, a poem I posted in November as a part of a celebration of autumnal poetry. While this month is not exclusively spring-inspired, I thought I would write a sort of counterpart. It’s rather a paean to this season, a time neither of remembering nor forgetting but looking ahead. I hope you enjoy it.

Awakening Persephone
I leave the ill-lit pages of my dusty book to rise
and open the curtains—now is not a time for sitting
but venturing into the blossom of the morning as it ripens
like sun-kissed fruit hanging delectably on the vine. The honey-light
streams into the kitchen and I depart the constructed world
to breathe clearer breath beneath better skies untouched
by feeble hands. Under the sun’s strengthening rays,
branches only yesterday dead seem to tremble with life scarcely
concealed. The perfume of good, green things invites a hope
which cannot be dashed, even by sudden onslaughts of unexpected
rain. Quagmires of last year’s leaves and winter’s detritus and
time spent in still solemnity give way to the inevitable
shoots of tender saplings, somehow regal in their ineffable infancies.
The fierceness of black skies fails to dampen enthusiasm for brightness,
a brightness enlivened by continuous revelations of zoetic jewels which vanish
as quickly as they appear but leave fiery imprints in the minds of all
who saw them. Surrounded by the hesitant mist of slowly emerging green,
one cannot look back but only forward—now is the season of the future;
not, as some think, in rebirth, but in accepting the verve of verdant,
voluptuous life entering a body wearied by darker days now past.
This, this is the expectant age which seems to stretch onward into
the hazy distance forever and forever until the delicately colored hills
become oceans of undreamt dreams awaiting discovery. And my pace is
no longer a stroll nor even a stately march but a run, undignified and unrestrained,
in pursuit of memories as yet unmade.


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