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Sunday, June 30, 2024

Words in the World

Beware the word, more powerful than we think—

than a locomotive, even,

though who but Superman, these days,

is compared to locomotives?


Can words sway the world

as once they could?

Written words held strength,

moved mountains,

destroyed empires.


Now? Now, not so much.


How do we reclaim the soul and body

of our world?

Return to words, poets implore.

Bring back the word,

the listeners, the readers,

the lovers of life.

Will that suffice?


Pluto invites us to visit him

in the Underworld.

Now there's a world that still knows

the value of words,

spoken or unspoken,

symbolic to a fare-thee-well.

Let us hie ourselves Nether-ward

and attend to the disquieting words

of his darkness.



Copyright © 2024 Ann Tudor
Musings blog:
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Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Roar of the Press

A lucky person might be born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Or a wooden spoon to stir up trouble (I made that one up). Some are said to have printer's ink in their blood. Some have blue blood.


Myself, I was born to a sound. I didn't hear it immediately upon being born. Christmas Day in 1936 was on a Friday (oh, Google, you never fail me). So from Friday until the following Tuesday, I lived my tiny life in peace and quiet. We lived at the time in the apartment above the Delphi Citizen office. The apartment was long and narrow, running from its front on Franklin Street all the way back to the alley that divided the block. We lived there, my brother who was exactly two and a half on the day I was born, and my two parents, until I was just under a year, when we moved to the first of our two houses on the hill.


The defining feature of living "above the office" was the printing press. I don't know whether you've ever seen (or heard) a real newspaper printing press. It has the footprint of, say, a small room and is about ten feet tall. The operator (for ours, at least, needed an operator at every moment) sat at the very top in order to separate and flick the giant sheets of newsprint so they didn't jam as they slipped between the rollers.


But what I'm getting to is the sound of my life. The press roars. It roars endlessly as it prints its papers. In my case it roared all Tuesday afternoon every week, for the first run of the paper, and then all day Wednesday (the second run)—an unmistakable, inescapable rhythm that deafened everyone in the backroom. Or, in my case, anyone lying in a crib directly above the press.


I have to wonder what that new baby—after five days of quiet—felt when the press started up on that first Tuesday. Did my mind conjure up lions from a previous existence? Did I imagine terrifying beasts? Earthquakes? Or was I simply overwhelmed? Did I learn to sleep through it?


A family story: I was a "difficult" baby who cried when she was put to bed at night. So Eileen and Myron would take little toddler Dinty and go for a long family walk, leaving me to cry myself to sleep.


Did the noise of the press in my earliest days so disturb my sleep that I then became a "difficult" baby?


Copyright © 2024 Ann Tudor
Musings blog:
Audible.Ca: go to and search for Ann Tudor
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Sunday, June 2, 2024

Aging Eyes

Once you reach a certain stage in your life you will find that age overtakes you at a surprising pace. For me, that stage was reaching 80. At first I imagined that the inevitable "aging" bit would proceed at its usual moderate speed. You might be different from me, but I wouldn't, if I were you, count on the same leisurely pace between this decade and the next (unforeseeable) one.


We were talking about eyes recently, with things like dry eye, cataracts, glaucoma awaiting us. But those are relatively superficial and/or fixable issues. The problem that will really affect you is speed—or lack of it. The mechanism that controls light will slow down. The automatic adjustment from the bright sunlight of a summer day to the cavernous dark of, say, a subway station no longer happens immediately. Oh, it will happen. Your eyes will adjust. But you might want to remove yourself from the subway hordes for a few minutes until you are no longer blind. Just stand still off to the side, and let your eyes gradually change. There's no way to improve this condition.


Along the same lines is the slowing of focus-change. Look at the paper in front of you. Now look out the window. Look at your hands chopping an onion. Now look up to find the appropriate pan hanging from the rack. The change in focus, which used to be split-second fast, now takes a second or two, and you really can't re-find the original speed that has been with you your whole life. Like so much else, the muscles of your eyes simply move more slowly now.


An eye function that seems to have disappeared forever is depth perception. You probably won't have realized, in your younger years, how much of your movement depends on a reliable depth perception. Now, walking on uneven ground is treacherous. How high is that bit of flagstone?  How deep is that pothole? How far down is it from the curb to the street?


In anticipation of this being your own new reality, I'm urging you to develop some patience with "older folk" who hold up your progress with their doddering. Their annoying tortoise-speed might stem from a mobility issue, but it's even more likely to be an eye problem, as they gingerly tread the paths of the park—or of life. Patience, please.


These conditions aren't life-threatening exactly, except when they lead to a misstep or a fall. But they change you from the confidently striding youngster you are today to a more cautious, more tentative person you will find it hard to recognise as yourself. This will be your NEW self. Which is to say, your old, aging self.




Copyright © 2-24 Ann Tudor
Musings blog:
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