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"With my first marriage," wrote Bertrand Russell in his autobiography, "I entered upon a period of great happiness and fruitful work. Having no emotional troubles, all my energies went in intellectual directions."(1) Marriage also brought, for Russell, a contentment and a taking pleasure in what he calls his "flippant cleverness."

"With each of my marriages, first in 1967 and then in 1975," I could write in trying to summarize some equivalent experience, "I entered upon periods of demanding employment and demanding personal relationships in new towns and new organizations." The period of happiness and fruitful work in my life that was the equivalent of Russell's had to wait until the time I took early retirement at the age of 55 in 1999. -Ron Price with thanks to (1) Bertrand Russell, Autobiography: 1872-1914, George Allen and Unwin 1967, p.126.

It was all so fresh back then,
shiny, new, gold and brown,
sweet loveliness, as much as
any man could ever ask for.

The road became long-tortuous,
yielded such a mixed delight.
And now I want to ease myself
into life's river and watch it flow
to the sea: protect sensitivities
with well-developed masks(1)
for the inevitable social dramas
where the secret places of mind
so rarely ever find a public ear.

I have created a self-portrait
for anyone to read revealing,
as it does, what I have done
with this my poetic idiom to
express and defend myself &
deal with my ever-active and
intensely conscious guilt,
especially in the dark night
when I try to sort out those
mysterious trials of such an
inscrutable Deity and what
feels like an immense weight
from the centre of my heart
to the several of brain's lobes.(2)

1 This poem draws heavily on 'the introduction' to Selected Letters of Robert Frost, editor, Lawrance Thompson, Jonathan Cape, London, 1965.
(2) this poem portrays a rather bleak view but it is a view experienced and felt only some of the time. That is one of the great values of poetry to express how one feels.

Ron Price
28 June 2002
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on: 4 January 2012:)
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