Tag Archives: Beethoven

Language Lessons

Language Lessons             —by Jinny Batterson

(On the occasion of Chinese New Year, January 31, 2014, ushering in the Year of the Horse. A memento of sorts, too, to my intermittent efforts to make progress in learning Mandarin Chinese, along with my ongoing struggles to read people’s moods appropriately.)

Chinese, such a difficult tongue to master:
Is this syllable spoken slowly, or faster?
First tone, second, third, or fourth, falling?
Is it “apple ping” or “bottle ping,”
Or maybe even “TV screen ping”?
Past leader Deng Xiaoping,
Current president Xi Jinping,
Or some less known local student Ping?

Emotive language harder still to learn.
Is the reason for your stoic scowl concern
At the widening rich-poor gap?
Or did our waitress,
Flustered in this festive season,
Accidentally spill hot coffee on your lap?

Ode to 40 (or 50 or 60)

Ode to 40 (or 50, or 60…)
by Jinny Batterson

(This piece was written as I and some of my “boomer” friends were beginning to realize that we were no longer young adults.  My apologies to Ludwig van B. (who, were he still alive, would be turning 245 on December 16, 2015) for appropriating his tune.)

Hair is graying, folks are saying:
“Eat more fiber, eat less fat.”
Clothes are shrinking, waistline sinking–
Liver spots, it’s come to that!

Ever faster, time marches onward,
Though we vainly shout out, “Halt!”
And the bad world situation,
Young ones know, is all our fault.

We have reached the middle passage,
We have reached the prime of life.
We have known some joys and sorrows–
Years have brought both peace and strife.

We are learning, “Live in the moment,”
Sensitive and powerful, too.
Baby boomers struggling onward,
Spotlighted in all we do.

As we contemplate the future,
We are brave, and we are cowed:
Gadgets new and disappearing,
Google Glass, computing cloud.

Now the way is often foggy,
As old icons fade or die.
We have reached the age of “maybe,”
Halfway between earth and sky.