The first text one happens to read in the day sometimes kicks off a sequence of thoughts and activities. The top of the heap in the bathroom happened today to be Parodies: an anthology from Chaucer to Beerbohm –and After (the 1965 Modern Library Giant edition, fruit of a trip to the local usedbookery), and a random opening brought this for my consideration as Leitmotiv for the day:
(Cloax is the vilest drink, gouging
Pockets out of your giblets, mixing
Frenzy and remorse, blending
Rot-gut and white-ants.
Jalap has a use, laundering
Colons with refreshing suds, purging
The lower soul with gentle motion.)
Oooooookay, I thought. It’s from Myra Buttle’s Sweeney in Articulo (part of The Sweeniad, Victor Purcell’s rather vicious ca. 1957 parody of T.S. Eliot –I know Victor Purcell for his work on the Chinese in Southeast Asia and on Malayan history, but am pleased to find him at play here). And so the odd half hour went into inquiring into Eliot (which led to The T. S. Eliot Page, and turned up A craving for reality: T. S. Eliot today by Roger Kimball). After that, a visit to the phlebotomist (fasting), and then breakfast… some days are more fun than others.