Monday, September 19, 2016

Arlene Corwin writes

Can’t Keep Up

Overwhelmed- well nigh.
Stuck, in any case.
Habit, certainly;
Dependency, it’s possible.
Too cowardly to hit delete, unsubscribe,
Headline drawing, leading,
Wooing into worlds of guidance -
There I am,
Adding one more site,
Email list so long
I’m sensing danger.

Yet, and yet,
I’m in the pit of knowledge, help,
By eagerness and curiosity.
Induced, I click.
I fall,
A toy so miniscule,
I’m putty in their hands.

Motives suspect, motives pure - it’s in our times.
Motives all: natural.
But how can I create
When time is drained?
Promotion's pace accelerating,
I’m just me, a Pooh of little brain.
It sounds so negative, but then
It’s all a double-sided coin.

 Joseph in the Pit -- Shoshannah Brombacher


  1. Yosef was a dreamer and a man of knowledge. When he was 17 he had two dreams, that the bundles of grain his brothers gathered bowed to Yosef's, and that the sun, moon, and 11 stars bowed to him. His 11 half-brothers threw him into an empty cistern and then sold him to a caravan en route to Egypt. He was bought by the pharoah’s captian of guards, Potiphar (Poti-Pherah?), becoming his household superintendent. But Potiphar’s wife Zuleika fell in love with him and was mocked by her friends for her infatuation. She invited the ladies to her home and gave them apples to eat and knives to peel and slice them, then summoned Yosef. His handsome appearance caused the ladies to cut themselves, and the mockery ended. (The Sufi poet Rumi regarded her infatuation as a manifestation of her longing for God.) But when Yosef rejected her advances, she accused him of trying to rape her, and Potiphar had him imprisoned. He was joined in jail by the pharoah’s cup bearer and baker. Yosef interpreted their dreams to mean that the baker would be hanged and the cup bearer reinstated, and he asked the cup-bearer to try to gain his own release. Yusef’s predictions came true, but he remained in prison another two years. Then the pharaoh dreamt that 7 lean cows devoured 7 fat cows, and that 7 withered ears of grain devoured 7 full ears. The cup bearer informed the pharaoh of Yusef’s abilities, and Yusef told the pharaoh that 7 years of abundance would be followed by 7 of famine and advised that surplus grain should be stored. The pharaoh named Yosef “father to pharaoh” (vizier) Zaphnath-Paaneah (the second part of the name seems to be related to the Egyptian word for “life,” and the title may have meant something like "the god speaks, [and] he lives," but others have suggested "the man to whom mysteries are revealed," "one who reveals mysteries," "a finder of mysteries," “a revealer of secrets,” “the man to whom secrets are revealed,” or “the expounder of secrets;” Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus (St. Jerome), the translator of the Bible into Latin, suggested that it meant "savior of the world”); he also gave him Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah, as a wife. The pharoah told him, "According to your mouth shall my people kiss.” –- “Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.... Without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." [Genesis 41:40-44]. Yusef carefully managed the grain surplus during the years of abundance and enforced the weighing of all produce. At his insistence, all Egyptians (except members of the priestly class) sold their lands to the state in exchange for seed, and Yusef mandated that 1/5 of all harvests would go to the pharaoh. During the famine, people from abroad went to Egypt to buy bread, and the pharaoh directed them all to Yusef. In the second year, his brothers went to Egypt but did not recognize Yusef, who imprisoned them as spies. After toying with them for some time, he revealed his true identity and installed his entire family in Goshen (the “cultivated” or “inundated” land of the eastern Nile delta); the pharaoh asked one of them to oversee the nation’s livestock. When his father was dying, he blessed Yusef, saying, he was "a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall.”

  2. Although the conventional understanding of Egyptian chronology seems to negate the possibility, some researchers have nevertheless identified Yusef with Imhotep ("the one who comes in peace, is with peace"), the chief advisor to 3rd Dynasty pharaoh Djoser, who lamented, “I was in distress on the Great Throne, and those who are in the palace were in heart’s affliction from a very great evil, since the Nile had not come in my time for a space of seven years. Grain was scant, fruits were dried up, and everything which they eat was short.” But Imhotep provided the solution through his interpretation of Djoser’s dream. His full title was Chancellor of the King of Egypt, Doctor, First in line after the King of Upper Egypt, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary nobleman, High Priest of Heliopolis, Builder, Chief Carpenter, Chief Sculptor, and Maker of Vases in Chief. Apparently he designed the step pyramids of Djoser and Sekhemkhet at Saqqara; he may have been the first to use stone columns to support a building, and the Greek-Egyptian historian Manetho even credited him with inventing stone-dressed buildings. He wrote a medical treatise devoid of magical thinking that contained instead anatomical observations and descriptions of ailments and cures. He was revered as a poet and philosopher, and his sayings were famously referenced in poems: "I have heard the words of Imhotep … with whose discourses men speak so much." He was one of the few commoners to be accorded divine status after death, as a deity of medicine and healing, and his cult merged with that of Thoth, the god of architecture, mathematics, and medicine, and patron of the scribes.

  3. “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” Winnie-the-Pooh was a cartoon teddy bear created by English author A. A. Milne, a “Punch” assistant editor and “Punch” staff cartoonist E. H. Shepard (who also drew the characters in Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows”). In the early 20th century Milne published 18 plays and 3 novels, as well as four screenplays for Minerva Films. Finally, becoming disenchanted with the demands of commercial production, he decided "the only excuse which I have yet discovered for writing anything is that I want to write it; and I should be as proud to be delivered of a Telephone Directory con amore as I should be ashamed to create a Blank Verse Tragedy at the bidding of others." So he began writing the poems and stories that made him rich and famous, about the teddy bear that belonged to his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who had named it after a swan named "Pooh" and a black bear at the London Zoo; en route to the UK during World War I, Harry Colebourn, a lieutenant in the Canadian army, had bought the cub from a hunter in White River, Ontario, for use as an official regimental mascot for his Fort Garry Horse; Colebourn named it "Winnie" in honor of his adopted hometown, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and left it with the zoo when his unit shipped off for France. Young Christopher’s other stuffed toys, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger, also became incorporated into Milne’s stories, though Owl and Rabbit were products of his own imagination. (Gopher was added much later by the Disney animation studio). Milne published “Teddy Bear” in “Punch” in 1924 and included it in his book of children's verse, “When We Were Very Young” (1924); the bear was first named in a Christmas story in the London “Daily News” in 1925 (illustrated by J. H. Dowd), which explained how Edward Bear was renamed: “His arms were so stiff ... they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think – but I am not sure – that that is why he is always called Pooh.” Milne began collecting his stories in “Winnie-the-Pooh” (1926); more poems were in “Now We Are Six” (1927) and more stories in “The House at Pooh Corner” (1928). Pooh was depicted as naive and slow-witted, though thoughtful, and steadfast. He is also a talented poet, and the stories were frequently punctuated by his poems and "hums." Stephen Slesinger created the modern licensing industry in 1930 when he bought the American and Canadian merchandising, television, recording, and other trade rights to "Winnie-the-Pooh" for a $1000 advance and 66% of Slesinger's income; in less than two years, these rights were worth $50 million a year. Schlesinger also drew the first color drawing of Pooh for a 1932 RCA Victor picture record. In the mid-1940s, “Winnie-the-Pooh” became the first Sunday morning TV cartoon. Beginning in 1961, his firm began licensing some rights to the Walt Disney Company.

  4. The two first comments are a wonder of information which even I, as poem's author drew me into the poem.

    Coincidentally, a former husband of mine was named Robin, after Christopher Robin.


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?