We hold these truths to be self-immolent

We hold these truths to be self-immolent,
that all women are creating sequels,
that they are renowned as the Creators
of certain unwinnable Fights,
that among these are Strife, Appliqué
and the pursuit of Vampiness.

That to endure these strifes,
Malcontents are insulated from us Women,
depriving their face powders and the concealer of the suffered,
That whenever any Form of Sufferment becomes destructive of these ends,
it is the Right of the Women to halter or to embellish it,
and to institute new Sufferment,
laying its foundation on such pimples
and layering its powders in such form,
as to them shall seem most lovely,
as to effect their Virility and Sappiness.

Paul Guernsey Player, © 2018/08/30

in response to Poetics: Twisted Adages


BiDitarod, the New Sport for Sporting Dogs

The BiDitarod is a sport combining Biathlon with Skijoring, at least four sports in one. Biathlon, itself a combination of Nordic skiing and shooting, together with Skijoring, a combination of Nordic skiing with dog mushing. The BiDitarod is Skijoring with a rifle.

Like the biathlon, the rifle is used (by the human) to shoot at stationary targets at 50 meters with a .22 caliber rifle. This is done between two and four times, depending on the length of the event. Between shootings, the human slings the gun to his back and skijors a looped course of several kilometers. For each of these Skijoring sections, the human is attached by rope to his dog, which helps pull him around the course.

But that is just three sports (skiing, shooting, mushing). To round out the event and keep the dog busy while the human shoots, the dog enters a corral stocked with rabbits. The team earns extra points for each rabbit the dog catches. The rabbits put on special helmets and pads so they are not harmed as the dog drops them into the Capture Basket. A clever dog can make up points for an inaccurate shooter, or give the human a bit more time to shoot more accurately. In Great Britain, as well as Australia and New Zealand, sheep herding is often substituted for rabbit catching. The dog that wins the most points for his partner is awarded the coveted Big Dog award.

Traditional BiDiterod events are followed by a hot meal of stewed rabbit or lamb in the Big Tent.

My Tennis Ball

by Sweetie (the dog)

This fuzzy tennis ball is mine, you know,
But you can play with it, when you come play 
with me. Just know that I'm the one who wins,
and you are not allowed to throw it past 
my face or tug at all to hard because
you know, it's mine. It's Mine. ALL MINE! 
                                               You know,
I like when you come and lay down on the floor.
It makes you way less big and scary, gives 
me better tooth-grip, too. You know I don't 
have hands. 
            Remember when we would play catch?
I'd roll it back to you, when you would roll 
it back to me. What fun - and we would do 
that for a while; and every time, I got 
to keep the ball! Because it's mine, you know.


Paul Guernsey Player, © 2018/08/23

The Blank Verse Mystery, Part 045

by Paul Guernsey Player, © 2018/08/21

In ninety minutes on the dot we pass
our treasured offerings forward to the front.

A dozen student poets rise and speak.
Their verses strikingly unique, they earn
our willing light applause. No grading done
for now, today is only to perform.
I wait to be the last. The final poet
sits back down and Doctor H. resumes
his place before the nearly sated class.

“It’s been a different kind of Milton Works
this year. I thank you for your patient poise.
Sometimes surprises take you for a ride.
I hope this roller-coaster has inspired
and exposed you all to something new.
I know it has, for me. One last surprise,
or was it two? No matter, now. I promise
you it won’t be long. We’ve seen our poets
learn from us more “classically inclined.”
But now, today, we have one of our own,
a double-agent, so to speak, who says
he has a poem of his own to share.
Are you now ready, Paul? You’re up to bat!”

I read my solemn words and choke up once
for just a beat or two, but no one minds.

At last I read the final lines and lift
my eyes to see the beaming face of dear
Professor H. Is that a tear he wipes?
He nods at me and winks and tilts his head.

“Wow,” I hear a student say, and “Thanks,”
comes from another, and as the chairs begin
to move and backpacks fill with books and gear,
we hear a single pair of clapping hands
applaud me now from way back of the class.

At once a sea of heads begins to turn.
At once the recognition starts to dawn.

“Professor O!” I hear the joyous shouts
from all around as students rush to hug
the newfound man. But he looks straight ahead
at me and grins, and through the din
I hear him speak the final words, “Well said.”


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The Blank Verse Mystery, Part 044

Soldier at an Exhibition

In Green Beret he stands. With solemn steps
he moves past works regarded high enough
to hang here in this Institute of Art.

Esteemed enough he is to wear the Green
Beret, yet no one shows him due respect.
Quick silent looks askance at him we steal
and hope he doesn’t see we’ve noticed him
at all, for if we’re honest, nothing could
we do or say to recompense this lad
for what he volunteered to do, his heart,
his sacrifice, determination sheer.

And to what backward hell hole of the world,
and to what desperate situation had
this man and his few brothers just been flown?
And which of these a Frisbee nevermore will throw?
Which name still haunts his mind that came not home?
What gruesome scene plays out inside his head
as he now looks upon Seurat, this Sunday
Afternoon? [1] What former captive now breathes free? [2]

What would he say to us, who sit in peace
upon these sun-bleached limestone blufftops high
above the fruited plain; who gaze upon The River
wide, in leisure frozen in our own
Seurat; who sit and study art, and physics,
rocks and math and all the things that we
will soon enough forget as background noise?
These freedoms, gifts that we enjoy come at
a price of blood; not ours, of course, but his
and of his brother’s willingness to give
his all, “the last full measure of devotion.” [3]

I hear a voice that asks in silent prayer,
“Who now the price of his dear blood doth owe?” [4]
So clearly it is we who owe this price,
but how can we it pay? There are not words
nor songs nor speeches, poetry nor even plays
that we could sing or write or act that come
to equal that which has been given us.

All this he knows, our Soldier, now on leave.
What would he say, if only we could dare to ask,
but this? That we should not just spend our lives,
but know their worth, his sacrifice, and “Earn it.” [5]

Paul Lance Guernsey Player, Principia C 1983, © 2018

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[1] A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, George Seurat, 1884, The Art Institute of Chicago

[2] De oppresso liber [Latin], the motto of the U.S. Special Forces, “thought to translate to “To Liberate the Oppressed.” In actuality, the word liber is an adjective ‘free’ that could be translated ‘a free man,’ and ‘de oppresso’ would be more an overwhelmed man. The phrase would therefore be more accurately translated, ‘from a caught man, a free man.'”

[3] The Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln, 1863

[4] Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare, 1599

[5] Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg, 1998