Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Memory and a Misty Din


Dave-El here and welcome to today's post at that most (I'm tired; I'll fill in an adjective later) of blogs, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You.

The slog through studying for my exam in Operational Excellence in Financial Services or whatever is nearly over. Tomorrow morning is when I take my test.

I hope it goes well.  This evening around 6:00, I was poking around my study materials; I had felt fairly confident up to that point but as I stared at the computer screen and my various handwritten scrawls in a total mockery of legibility, I became hot and cold at the same time.


What is the formula for calculating a sample variance? I was calculating the hell of it the night before but at that moment, my brain may as well been a brick. I need to know how to calculate a sample variance! And a standard deviation! And means and medians and modes (oh my!). My head began to swoon as everything on my computer screen began to look like this:


Only LESS intelligible!

Well, I'm fine now but I worry. How long can my brain hold this knowledge before my test tomorrow. Will I sit down in the test room and pull the computer screen towards me only to see--


My brain isn't as young as it used to be. Well, I've done what I could with what I have. As Jadzia Dax once said on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "To hell with it! If it's going to fly, it's going to fly."

So tomorrow will be whatever tomorrow will be.

Now, here's something you would never expect to find at I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You: poetry. And not just any poetry but one my most favorite poems by that American master, Robert Frost.

This poem struck me with the raw power of nature, water at war with land. There is a sense of foreboding that transcends the imagery of what Frost decribes. It's not just the falling of evening shadows we see in our mind's eye but "a night of dark intent".

The poem was written in 1916 and I'm sure the terrible casualties and destruction of World War I were prominent in his thoughts. When I first read this poem many years ago, I did not know when it was written or what may have inspired Frost but it spoke to me.

Here is Once By The Pacific by Robert Frost

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last Put out the Light was spoken.
I was due to recite this poem in a college literature class. Much like this test I've been preparing for, I had a certain confidence that I had this committed to memory. Then mere minutes before I was to stand up, the screen in my head that scrolled the words by went blank. Even as I rose from my seat, I couldn't think of a damn word of it. Well, almost. "The word 'ocean' is in there somewhere", I thought. Oh, this was going to be humiliating.
I stood before the class as I cleared my throat to stall for time then I spoke: " one...of the greatest..."
(William Shatner had nothing me!) But I could not drag this out any longer. I brought my opening remarks to a close. I cleared my throat.
"'Once By the Pacific', by Robert Frost," I announced. Followed by, "'The shattered water.....'" And I took a deep breath and relaxed. "'Made a misty din...'" The words came out. Have faith in your words; they will come and sometimes exactly when you need them.
If anyone does ever read these posts, thanks for letting me ramble a bit about poetry. I honestly did not what I was going to say when I began this post today.
Next time, the usual stupidity returns here at I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You.

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