Monthly Archives: June 2022

The path leading them wherever they choose.



Around 4 p.m. on Father’s Day.

I am sitting, rather bored, in a bar on Seventh Avenue.

I have a good view of the street.

It’s a lovely Sunday afternoon. A stream of pedestrians keeps passing by.

Where are they going?

Who knows? They themselves probably don’t.

They are walking on air. The energy of the City propels them along.

Multiple attractions, things to do. Oh, to be a part of it.

The path leading them wherever they choose.


– posted by Roger W. Smith

  June 19, 2022

my French teacher


Eileen McCauley began her career as a French teacher at Canton High School in Canton, MA.

I had her for two years of French in my freshman and sophomore years. I loved her class.

She had a great influence on me, like most good teachers, in awakening and fostering in me a love for learning languages, for the languages themselves. It got me started on a lifelong course of language study which has been pure joy.

There were no audiovisual materials for language study online or at home back then. I would monologue and recite the French passages in my French textbook over and over again while doing my homework. I would assiduously apply myself to memorizing the vocabulary list at the end of each chapter.

I once said to my older brother, who also took French, that when I recited le train out loud,  it seemed different to me than the English train. I asked him, is this the case with you too? He said, no, it didn’t.


— Roger W. Smith

   June 2020

carpe diem


When my father would get into an argument with his second wife Jan — my stepmother — he would, as she told me, grit his teeth and say, “I’m not going to let it ruin my day.”

We (siblings and stepmother) had a surprise birthday party at my father’s home on Cape Cod on his 65th birthday.

At the end of the day, after the guests had left, he said to us that he almost didn’t want to go to bed. He didn’t want his wonderful day to be over.


– posted by Roger W. Smith

  June 2022

sea-shouldring whales


But th’heedfull Boateman strongly forth did stretch
His brawnie armes, and all his body straine,
That th’vtmost sandy breach they shortly fetch,
Whiles the dred daunger does behind remaine.
Suddeine they see from midst of all the Maine,
The surging waters like a mountaine rise,
And the great sea puft vp with proud disdaine,
To swell aboue the measure of his guise,
As threatning to deuoure all, that his powre despise.

The waues come rolling, and the billowes rore
Outragiously, as they enraged were,
Or wrathfull Neptune did them driue before
His whirling charet, for exceeding feare:
For not one puffe of wind there did appeare,
That all the three thereat woxe much afrayd,
Vnweeting, what such horrour straunge did reare.
Eftsoones they saw an hideous hoast arrayd,
Of huge Sea monsters, such as liuing sence dismayd.

Most vgly shapes, and horrible aspects,
Such as Dame Nature selfe mote feare to see,
Or shame, that euer should so fowle defects
From her most cunning hand escaped bee;
All dreadfull pourtraicts of deformitee:
Spring-headed Hydraes, and SEA-SHOULDRING WHALES,
Great whirlpooles, which all fishes make to flee,
Bright Scolopendraes, arm’d with siluer scales,
Mighty Monoceroses, with immeasured tayles.

— Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene: Book II, Canto xii


It was an image, which, figuratively speaking (according to my former professor Aileen Ward’s magnificent biography), overpowered the future poet John  Keats in his late teens when he began to read avidly.

I took an English course in college (in which I somehow got the grade of B) — Literature of Transition: Classic to Romantic — in which we read The Faerie Queene. I could not get into Spenser and did not appreciate The Faerie Queene.

What a magnificent image. A man shoulders his way through a crowd, brushing aside others in his way. The whale swims the ocean, shouldering aside the waves.

– posted by Roger w. Smith

   June 2022