5th April 2021

Guilt, regret, remorse, the three darts that without fail pierce and agonize the human heart infallibly. All are at base self-inflicted, wounds carried internally, agonized over in private and isolation. Guilt may indeed be laid by exterior forces, a verdict levied by those given authority to judge, but the truth of culpability, blame, is truly assimilated subconsciously, sometimes overtly acknowledged but often disguised, hid, deleted.

Regret, the inward admittance of error, of unfortunate or inopportune activity, is an ever-present aching scar upon the psyche. Sometimes set aside for a period, but always reemerging when circumstances contrive to reaffirm the brand, the marker, newly sear the eternal memory. No amount of reason, of mitigation, can expunge regret totally, not even forgiveness, the salve for almost every human wrong.

Remorse is the shackle, the ever-weighty penitent instrument of shame, the reminder of action heinous, of contrition owed, sorry, shame, self-reproach, condemnation levied.

The reminder that these penalties exist, continue, are unavoidable is perhaps pertinent to address. That guilt is inescapable, regret universal, remorse disarming, ever worthy of affirmation.

The most horrendous of monsters suffer their consequence, shiver in the shadow of their darkness, travel unshriven and unforgiven to their doom. False bravado might disguise the hidden torture of the reproachable, but their pain, their regret, their culpability exists hauntingly, unforgetting, regarded, perhaps stored deep enough to avoid obvious expression, but not buried deep enough to mar consequence.

The Newgate Calendar, subtitled The Malefactors’ Bloody Register, was a popular London periodical in the 18th and early 19th century, and republished later as a series of works I was inclined to study in the nineteen fifties and early sixties. The editions took great delight in repeating the last words and testaments of many of the most terrible of criminals and traitors before they met their executioner. All without exception suffered and confessed to Guilt, regret, and remorse.

4th April 2021

Luxury is very specific, to the individual, to place and eon, to comparative abilities to obtain, purchase, afford, and make reality. All too often such an imagined panacea is an object, a three-dimensional substance to be purchased, earned, worn, consumed, flamboyantly displayed, envied, treasured above and beyond all other possessions.

Sitting quietly this afternoon, contemplating nothing more than what might be on the menu for dinner and partaking in the occasional morsal of tea or sweet biscuit, it occurred to me that after multiple decades of existence the accumulated value of extravagance is the ability, the time, the possibility to do nothing very much at all. I found myself staring quizzically out of a screened window and wondering if my next few minutes would perhaps involve dressing reasonably warmly and stretching my legs in the great outdoors or alternatively simply taking myself back to my cast iron day bed and enjoying a further cat inspired nap.

The realization that the measure of humanities furtive accent to the very pinnacle of the food chain was but a precarious climb to the acceptable ability to curl up and sleep without the wholly disagreeable weight of a guilty conscience.

As already mentioned cats are inclined to nap incessantly, so do most critters the human species likes to adopt and present as pets, as do all the sentient seeming creatures on this green earth and the seas surrounding. No doubt the more intelligent folks amongst you would confirm to me that this vital function of existence is enjoyed by all beings, the obviously thinking and comatose appearing.

So as I choose to lay my head on down pillow and pull a light cover over my resting frame the question truly vexing my conscience is not the sumptuously pleasant process of siesta but rather the mysterious reasoning for the guilt that accompanies its ever happy and relaxing accomplishment. Why do we insist on holding ourselves to standards beyond our grasp, assuming we have some mission in life that exceeds simple joy and happiness, that must endlessly strive for the unattainable rather than happily merge with the soft luxury of linen sheets and well stuffed duvet?

3rd April 2021

The myriad things in this world I find wholeheartedly disturbing had reduced greatly as age has managed to soften even my evil piratical heart. This fortunate change of events has allowed me to look with some softer consideration at the various antics of the population at large who are all too often inclined to think solely from a personal perspective as opposed to being considerate of the effect their wishes and thoughts have upon society at large, and specifically those precious souls whom are inclined to be easily wounded.

The volume of pain inflicted by uncaring and inauspicious activity is impossible to judge, especially as those prone to injury are exceptionally good at hiding their hurt from near all observers, thinking quite rightly that a display of weakness will only lead to a crescendo of unkindness, humans as predators having the tendency to fall unmercilessly upon the already wounded. This persuasion seems negative, but even Blackbeard could show unexpected mercy, a tenderness that betrays exceptional power.

2nd April 2021

The consequences of events or happenstances should never be surprising. There is a decided predictability in everything, a natural order than denotes what will happen, and most often when and how.

Accepting the inevitable is of course a very difficult kettle of fish, hopes, dreams, and vague possibilities are the bread and butter of humanities need for variable potentiality, the need for the outcome of a chain of events to have some kind of escape clause, for fate not to be ordained unequivocally.

Our language is full of very sensible and solid proverbs, maxims, adages, that demonstrate the inevitable results of foolhardiness or simplistic stupidity.  ‘Don’t play with fire’, ‘never put you hard in a lions mouth’, ‘don’t count chickens before they hatch’, all well-meaning and time proven warnings against questioning good form and sensibility.. Yet, do we invariably oblige, get in line, follow suit?  All too often not, being contrary, headstrong, perverse, vexatious beasts, willful to the point of self-harm and mass extinction.  

1st April 2021

The very best shaggy dog stories are almost believable. Farfetched most definitely, highly unlikely, certainly. The really good stories, the excellent japes, those so believable as to make fools of us all last for eternity, develop a tradition of their own, become more than tall tales, they become legend.

Mine own particular favorite is of course the 1957 Panorama skit of the spaghetti harvest in the tiny Swiss Tyrolean canton of Ticino. Possibly the most famous, or perhaps infamous piece of tomfoolery ever perpetrated upon the innocent and still quite gullible television audience, a ruse that resulted in numerous national newspaper headlines at the time and still echoes historically and upon YouTube in grainy black and white to this very day.

As stated in that well known literary masterpiece, “The Court and Character of King James”, written by Anthony Weldon in the year 1651, the Italians having a logical proverb, “He that deceives me once, its his fault; but if twice, its my fault”.

31st March 2021

I often wake up with the best of intentions, complete plans, carefully organized itineraries, place to be, people to see, yet equally as often those promises are deleted by a simple turn of the head upon crisp cotton pillows. One of the most enlightening realizations that come with adulthood is that imaginary excursions can be quite as rewarding and less hazardless than in actual actuality, one of my favorite usages of verbal repetition. The realm of the dream, the vast kingdom of well-orchestrated illusion, has ever been one of my favorite situations to inhabit. So much can be accomplished in that nether world that would be vilified, frowned upon, defamed in reality, as well as all the equally bountiful pleasant, happy, flowery situations of similar unlikelihood.

By choice, or by coercion, we all abide in a daily connived literary confusion, an amalgam of fact and fiction intertwined to present just enough truth to ensure some small belief is substantiated in the most elaborate of theatric happenstances.

Swallow you own bait at considerable peril.

30th March 2021

Changes deliver differences, in opinion and in attitude. Being fairly invariable I find such alterations confusing, disappointing even, perhaps proffering a continual volume increase to the hurdy gurdy of cacophony. Change is oft confused with improvement, a at state that can prove heavenly or hellish whereas base continuance is rigid, unmoving, predictable, and good fulfillment outshines bad surprises eternally.

On the subject of pet annoyances is there anything more irritating than clumsiness, the inability to perform simple everyday tasks without fumbling, dropping, spilling, tripping, unnaturally upsetting the mundane in one basic manner or another.

Was a time I was light upon my toes, a reasonable athlete, dancer, juggler, trusted to perform complicated tasks nimbly and without unnecessary drama. Being reduced to a seeming lumbering cack-hand is not without pain, embarrassment, producing a level of self-annoyance almost beyond bearing. Disappointment is a difficult emotion; self-disappointment is chronic.

29th March 2021

Age, injuries, and experience are physically debilitating. Was a time a persons history was writ large upon their body in clear and concise language, to be read, commiserated, understood, allowed for, by all and every observer. In recent times the art of disguising such maledictions have become prevalent in all manner of ways, some self-elected, other seemingly demanded by a society somehow afraid of the ravaging consequences life, either hard or normal, impresses upon fragile flesh and bone. Expectations of perfection are understandable in the new, the fresh, the emergent, but such requirements upon the used, worn, tarnished, are somehow unnatural, false, unfortunate, judgmental.

Pride is a wholly normal expression of an existence well filled, practical, inclusive of substance and effect. Medals earned, rewards bestowed, scars graciously received in the accomplishment of a successful and meaningful journey from birth to expungement should likewise be recognized as showing success and participation in that greatest of games, to paraphrase Kipling.

28th Msrch 2021

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, or as in its original form from Virgil, the descent to hell is easy. We are all at heart inclined to do things with the best thoughts and hopes for success and happiness, even though the pathway we may choose to follow winds between rocks and crevasses purely designed to entrap us in a fast and permanent downward spiral.

Human nature is naturally and undeniably self-serving, our choices, our directions, are purposefully or indirectly slanted towards specific personal goals, as would be expected in any thinking beast having preservation as its founding principle. We honor, praise, sanctify the martyr for their ability to counteract this base directive. We are inclined to mix that singular ability up with all kinds of ethereal mumbo jumbo, but at core we are praising the capacity to place anything, everything, above singular selfish needs and wants. We proclaim martyrs, we are also inclined to snigger behind our hands at their anomalous behavior, seeming quite beyond our comprehension.

27th March 2021

I am by habit a creature of decided singularity, a recluse, hermit if you will, happy to exist in my own very particular company, surrounded by thoughts and reflections gathered over a number of years. Surprisingly, I have found the effect of enforced isolation extraordinarily depressing. Whilst not a social beast by any measure, enforced solitude is strangely disabling, being accustomed to keeping most individuals at arm’s length I have become quite dependent for good cheer upon those signs available from such distance, a smile, a nod, a pair of tinkled eyes, even a wave or muffled greeting. The necessary accoutrement of the face mask, as well as the reduced frequency of all exterior excursions, have hit my sociability particularly hard.

The resident in solitudes shadow is affected very easily, a sudden lack of light, of a vista, the absence of the sweet smell emanating from pleasantly scented vegetation, all prove a notch too tight on the already restricted lifestyle. Fate be ever aware of poking the bear, for Ursus will predictably react in kind.