Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Got the Existential Blues

Yes, she is returned. The Marvelous Mina. What I must remind myself each time is that I only have her absence to account for my malaise until such point as she returns. And then it's back to the good ol' existential blues. Hats off to Samuel Hoffenstein, who said it best:

When you're away I'm restless, lonely,
Wretched, bored, dejected; only
Here's the rub, my darling dear,
I feel the same when you are here.

Is it retirement, or is it constitutional - at least of yours truly - that I have utterly ceased to find myself of interest? Bore myself to tears, I do. Not even the usual interest in the useless bit of esoterica.

Mina says I'm depressed, which I find depressing. She ought to know me better. Says I ought to volunteer somewhere, make myself useful. She really ought to know me better. I'm of the opinion that I just need to sit this out, the acerbic Hoffenstein at my elbow.

Interesting fellow, he was. Wrote scripts for several notable Hollywood movies in the thirties and forties, as well as worked on the score of 'The Gay Divorcee.' Died at the intolerably youthful age of 57, after writing Poems in Praise of Practically Nothing, which includes such entries as "Poems Intended to Incite the Utmost Depression," and "Poems of Passion Carefully Restrained so as to Offend Nobody," from which the above quatrain comes, and the ones below:

Lovely lady, who does so
All my waking haunt,
Tell me, tell me, do you know
What the hell you want?

Lady, to whose feet I'd bring
The world, if I could win it,
Are you sure of anything
For a single minute?

You whose eyes can kindle flame
Only Death could smother,
Tell me, please, does any dame
Differ from another?

Was the apple applesauce
Eve ate in the garden?
Aren't you all a total loss?
No? I beg your pardon!

Such misogyny gives me malicious pleasure. Reminds me of the extent to which I begrudge Mina's self-satisfaction. The fact is, I cannot be her. Don't have the energy. Wouldn't mind figuring out, though, how I might like myself half so much as I like her.

Enough lugubriosity from yours truly. Here's some more from Hoffenstein.

Little by little we subtract
Faith and Fallacy from Fact,
The Illusory from the True,
And starve upon the Residue.

What is the sense in tears or laughter?
The Root of things is what we're after:
But fallen trees will spill their fruit
And worms and darkness keep the root.

Fallen days will spill their sun,
But paper heavens must be won,
And so, while we geometrize,
A bird out-twits us, twice as wise.

Mere matter is not all of marrow;
The harvest leaps not from the harrow,
And a push-button will not light
Joy by day, or stars by night.

No comments: