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Here is Lowell’s third verse of his famous poem, “What is so rare as a day in June?” followed by my own version. (Verses 1 & 2 of both Lowell’s and mine can be found here, and here.


Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
‘Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,
‘Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season’s youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep ‘neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.


My new version:


Pain comes, money goes, I know not how;
Wish the pain would go right now!
Paying bills takes lots of striving;
‘Tis as hard now to pay the bills that are due
The dentist as ever! There’s no easy clue!
But we have a grateful way of living –
We will fret not the cash we’ve bled,
Though in shrinking savings, bills leave their wake.
We’ll leave behind the tears I have shed,
Hearts forget sorrow, and teeth their ache.
We will recall the ancient truth:
All things shall pass, be it money or woes.
Though we may not know where went our youth,
At least we know where our cash goes!

I apologize to all those who love this poem by James Russell Lowell. Except for a few lines here and there, it has never been a favorite of mine, but that is not why I chose to play with it so abominably! On Monday night, I happened to watch “Wheel of Fortune,” (something I seldom do these days), and at the end of the program, the host, Pat Sajak, quoted the first few lines of this poem to Vanna. As I had only learned of the disaster brewing in my mouth that afternoon, somehow thinking about my rare day in June brought about the idea of this “parody.”

Please keep in mind while reading these verses that I have used a lot of poetic license! Yes, I visited the dentist; yes, my crown/bridge came out; yes my tooth broke; yes there is an abscess that will require a root canal; and yes, the bill is and will be huge! But am I in terrible pain? No! (It’s more poetic and heart-wrenching to be in agony!) Will we have to go to the poorhouse in order to pay our debt? No! But paying the bill will hurt – probably more than my teeth have or will!

I had fun writing this, but I’m glad there are only three verses to the poem – they are certainly enough. . .