Will It Go Round in Circles?

4 Dec

I’ve got a story ain’t got no moral:

At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

According to a paper co-written by Jan Souman, a research scientist in Germany, and featured on NPR,

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

people, when blindfolded, ย 

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

cannot walk in a straight line;ย 

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.

We naturally walk in circles;

And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part.

around and back again,

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.

ending up where we started:

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

39 Responses to “Will It Go Round in Circles?”

  1. Philippe December 5, 2010 at 3:11 am #

    “The Midnight Special”…..Wolfman Jack…….

    It takes me back to those long ago late, late Friday midnights at the end of the workweek. Great song by Billy Preston.

    Here’s another great song with a circle theme:

    *Round, like a circle in a spiral*

    Like a wheel within a wheel.
    Never ending or beginning,
    On an ever spinning wheel
    Like a snowball down a mountain
    Or a carnival balloon
    Like a carousel that’s turning
    Running rings around the moon
    Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
    Past the minutes on it’s face
    And the world is like an apple
    Whirling silently in space
    Like the circles that you find
    In the windmills of your mind……


    …..the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.

  2. jenny December 5, 2010 at 6:49 am #

    Hey Philippe! There’s also a sweet clip of an 11-year-old Billy Preston performing Blueberry Hill with Nat King Cole. And the two of them do something kind of circular…makes winter bearable.

    Thanks for the song. It’s right on point, a point on the circle, I guess. And it’s the first time I’ve ever really listened to it. Lovely.

    • Philippe December 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

      I enjoyed the clip of the young Billy Preston with Nat King Cole. It gave an etiolated interpretation of “Blueberry Hill” suitable for mainstream “white” America of that time.

      But, I’ll always remember “Blueberry Hill” for the Fats Domino version, so jazzy, so soulful, and thus arguably not quite to the taste of mainstream “white” America in the time of “The Great Golfer” (Eisenhower).

      How very sad that Billy Preston is no longer with us.

      • jenny December 6, 2010 at 5:02 am #

        Philippe —

        I had never heard Eisenhower called “The Great Golfer”! That’s excellent, and it reminded me that H.L. Mencken said: “If I had my way, no man guilty of golf would be eligible to any office of trust or profit under the United States.”

        Next, I had never the Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill” — silly, but true. Fabulous. Fab-u-lous!

    • Cyberquill December 14, 2010 at 1:39 am #

      Forget Fats Domino. Watch this.

      • jenny December 14, 2010 at 7:01 am #

        Yes, this is totally amazing, isn’t it? He may be the creepiest man on the planet. And, how about the audience?

      • Cyberquill December 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

        Interesting to speculate whether the same folks have responded with like enthusiasm had it been a crooning G.W. instead.

      • Cyberquill December 14, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

        would have, I mean

      • jenny December 15, 2010 at 6:42 am #

        Let’s have little musical variety: Putin croons; W belts.

      • jenny December 15, 2010 at 6:44 am #


      • Cyberquill December 21, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

        Exactly, and when our current guy indicates a willingness to compromise, he gets hammered for not doing it his way. I feel bad for presidents. DITDADITD.

      • jenny December 22, 2010 at 7:17 am #

        CQ: Feeling sorry for presidents occupies a spot in Maslow’s hierarchy that I simply haven’t reached yet.

        I’m kidding, of course.

        I think that may be the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard from you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Man of Roma December 6, 2010 at 4:46 am #

    second childishness and mere oblivion

    Yes, my phase, exactly. But since a circle implies not only one turn I guess, I do wonder how can we all start all over again


    • jenny December 6, 2010 at 5:10 am #

      Man of Roma, don’t be ridiculous, that is NOT your phase. Anyway, though I love Shakespeare, I actually hate that damned Stages of Man piece. The mood I prefer is Billy Preston. He is no longer with us, but I imagine he has started over somewhere, somehow; as we all will. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Man of Roma December 6, 2010 at 5:55 am #

        that is NOT your phase

        How do you know it is not, my sweet lady. I am 62, even though, yes, they say I look fifty, but the ‘redde rationem’ is round the corner.

      • Philippe December 7, 2010 at 12:49 am #

        “…..Billy Preston…..I imagine he has started over somewhere…..”

        I’ll bet he’s jammin’ right now with Marvin, Jackie, Elvis, Buddy, Otis, Jimi, Dusty, Janice and whomever else, sendin’ down sweet sounds *on the Nightshift*.

    • jenny December 7, 2010 at 7:17 am #

      Philippe! Great. You are feeding my youtube obsession, you know.

      • Geraldine December 8, 2010 at 10:28 am #

        Mine too. What a song! Cool. Jenny, you must be wearing those Italian leather boot purchased in Moscow. ๐Ÿ™‚

        ps: There’s yoga over at Andreas’s.

      • jenny December 9, 2010 at 5:34 am #

        Geraldine, I can’t think of anything to say about yoga without sounding as if I just stepped off a page of “Stuff White People Like”.

        Plus, it’s tough doing yoga in these classy boots.

  4. jenny December 6, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    How do I know?

    Ummm…could be feminine intuition.

    Or it could be that phrases like ‘redde rationem’ don’t suggest second childishness, and neither do phrases like ‘sweet lady’.


    • Man of Roma December 7, 2010 at 4:29 am #

      La donna รจ danno. I always thought that.

      • jenny December 7, 2010 at 7:22 am #

        I really can’t let that be the last word, Roma.

        Here’s what I’ve always thought: “Cosรฌ fan tutte” should have been called “Cosรฌ fan tutti”.


      • Man of Roma December 7, 2010 at 8:43 am #

        True. Men and women are ‘danno’ to each other.

  5. Man of Roma December 7, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    By the way, passing from ‘tutte’ to ‘tutti’ implies some knowledge of Italian. But, since you’ve mastered Russian, no wonder: I still have nightmares thinking of my pathetic efforts to learn it.

    • Man of Roma December 7, 2010 at 9:29 am #

      Just ‘danno’ to each other is not exact: croce e delizia.

      • jenny December 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

        Croce e delizia! Croce e delizia! It sounds so great, I’ve been walking around saying it all day.

        I’m adding it to the 25 things I know how to say in Italian. It makes for a funny conversation, my Italian: snippets of opera libretti + random lines from Amarcord+ Avanti Popolo.

        But now, but now, I’ll throw in ‘croce e delizia’ and all will be well, and Italy will welcome me with open arms!

  6. Man of Roma December 8, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Since you mentioned ‘libretti’, this concept, of love as croce and delizia, is expressed in Traviata, atto I, scena V where Violetta sings:

    Sentia che amore รจ palpito
    dell’universo intero,
    misterioso, altero,
    croce e delizia al cor!

    • jenny December 8, 2010 at 7:07 am #


      (I, too, can be mafia.)

  7. sledpress December 13, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

    You realize that this is all about lateralization and biomechanics; the stride forward by the dominant leg is always a bit longer than that by the nondominant, and since the human gait involves the yawing of the pelvic joints around a centralized footstrike, a circular pattern results unless one corrects direction by sighting on a goal.

    This was a plot element in the film “The Flight of the Phoenix,” which coincidentally was the subject of the first post on my blog. Ernest Borgnine walked in circles in a featureless desert landscape.

    Dominant legs are not always on the same side as dominant hands, oddly.

    • jenny December 14, 2010 at 7:07 am #

      No, I did not know this. There’s a good story here, too, though: The dominant one in a pair dictates the direction and, as a result, we go nowhere.

  8. dafna December 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    hi jenny!

    will you post soon? the silence of the blogs is bothering me.

    also have you noticed that thecriticaline needs a password? has richard disappeared, so you know?

    • jenny December 18, 2010 at 7:35 am #

      Hi dafna! I will, of course! How sweet of you to ask!

      I don’t like the silence of the blogs either, although that’s a funny sounding phrase. Nice job. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think December is a tough time for many people: pressure to be merry, Christmas blues, or just plain busy making the holidays happen for family and friends. Perhaps that explains Richard’s retreat. Send him an email. I’m sure he’d be so pleased to hear from you.

      Coming soon here on SW&SP: something goofy!

      • dafna December 18, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

        will attempt to figure out how to sign in with a password. i have received an invite from him to do this. also trying to hit “reply” @ thecriticaline.com (only email address i have)

        well said about the holidays.

        “the pressure to be merry, and the holiday blues” are an added problem for those of us who struggle daily with depression. it compounds the distorted impression “that everyone is happy except for me”.

        the blog chatter/sharing/interaction gave me some perspective.

      • jenny December 19, 2010 at 9:18 am #

        dafna, dear: about the distorted impression that everyone else is happy, I have a joke for you. Just got to think about whether I can tell it, in written form and in this semi-public venue. I’ll give it some thought. In the meantime, smile!

      • jenny December 19, 2010 at 10:25 am #

        OK, dafnale, forget the slightly racy Russian joke I had in mind; there’s also this awesome one that speaks to the same point:

        Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world.

        Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.”

        Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.”

        We are all Pagliacci, dafna.

  9. dafna December 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    thanks jenny,

    i have heard this joke on “these” blogs we share, but i had forgotten. we all need reminding of this, some of us more often than others ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Philippe December 21, 2010 at 3:28 am #

    Not to appear happy is almost sacrilegious in our enlightened times. Hence in photographs one is expected to smile, thereby appearing happy, even if one feels ghastly.

    The only public figure I’m aware of who seems to have the courage never to smile in his photos is Putin. I admire him for this. However, it’s the only thing I admire him for.

    • jenny December 21, 2010 at 8:58 am #

      Philippe, I’m not sure that Putin has earned your admiration even in this regard: He’s just doing what is culturally required of Russians in photographs.

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