P.O.E.T.S. Day! “I’m at the Beach” Edition Featuring the Inestimable Gerard Manley Hopkins!

Welcome to it, the one, the only – except where people are doing it other places – realization that life is short and meant to be enjoyed. Moments savored are the bread and butter of poetry and moments working are decidedly less savory. So break free and embrace the P.O.E.T.S. Day ethos: Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday!

This editions invites you to release your inner sun worshipping and bad tattoo spotting urges that so often we reserve for the occasional retreat to the coast. Things are different at the beach. Beer is generally acceptable with lunch in the real world. It’s a-okay for breakfast here.

Unstrap yourself from the desk, tell the boss that you can’t get the part for whatever flugenator or semi-disfusation unit until Monday, tell the supervisor you have an oncoming bout of dysentery, whatever you have to do to get away and start your weekend early.

This being the week I’m at the beach I’m asking you to join in my decadence. Don’t ask the bartender for a simple draft beer or glass of wine. Don’t make his life easier with a three step gin and tonic. Make him sweat with four or five margarita orders at a time. Challenge him with drink orders that our we-sell-beer-and-wine-but-keep-liquor-around-to-make-basic-cocktails mindset is ill equipped to handle. Say things like “What do you mean DeVinci’s doesn’t have frozen drinks,” and no matter how often they explain that we don’t have the ingredients to make a Pina Colada, every five minutes or so say “I ordered a Pina Colada ten minutes ago. How long does it take to get a drink around here.” This week only, you have my permission to give them hell, but only in that early afternoon time period that P.O.E.T.S. Day takes advantage of. I won’t care. I’m at the beach.

Today’s edition, as you may have gathered from the headline, is brought to you by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jesuit priest nee Anglican. He was a rebel, preferring alliteration and abandoned Anglo-Saxon poetic concepts to the predominant Victorian styles.

I first became aware of Hopkins when a customer who was becoming a regular, and this is some years ago, was astonished I had never read the priest’s stuff. He proceeded to recite The WIndhover and damned if he didn’t cry. As it turned out, he would cry at all manner of things. After he moved on, we have no idea why but he was there four days a week and then he wasn’t, the FOH staff breathed a collective sigh of relief. No more tears shed when you mention a song, a book, a movie, or – God help you – a Bible quote. Tears and righteous anger.

But I didn’t know that when he mentioned Hopkins. All I knew was that there was a person so amazed by this poet that he couldn’t help but cry. Of course I bough a book of Hopkins’ stuff.

This is by far my favorite. It should be read aloud for maximum effect and kept from the lachrymose.

The Windhover

Gerard Manley Hopkins

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king- 

  dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding 

  Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding 

High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing 

In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,

  As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding 

  Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding 

Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing! 

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here 

  Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion

Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier! 

  No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion 

Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear, 

  Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.


I tried to get a picture of a beach bird hovering in the wind for this one and they were everywhere, except when I had my phone/camera. It’s going to have to be an imagination vacationally themed P.O.E.T.S. Day I’m afraid. Picture the bird. Frustrate the bartender with stupid beach drink requests.

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