Here’s To Those Who Suffer Voluntarily

Here’s to those who suffer voluntarily,
who rise above the mean and merely momentary
pleasure that we feel sitting on a couch,
eating Cheetos, watching reruns of “The Brady Bunch”;

those who exercise, walk fast (raising weights
with their arms in rhythm to their feet),
jog, or actually even run —
as long as there’s no clear goal in mind,
no Olympic medal, no short-skirted cheerleaders
proffering kisses;

residents of Blakely, Georgia, and Moosejaw, Saskatchewan,
who steadfastly resist removal to California
and similar climes, knowing intuitively
that delight in perfect weather is born in sub-zero winters,
in summer’s humid swelter;

those who do without air-conditioning,
using the money for a violin
or books or trips to the local swimming pool;

those who fast, mortify the flesh, —
or at least skip breakfast occasionally,
refusing to indulge every bodily whim,
letting them ripen, at least now and then,
into actual, robust hunger;

monks in solemn Kentucky silence,
some, I suppose, are misanthropes, here I speak of those
with a normal affection for chat and hubbub
who restrict themselves to a reverent silence,
speech being used only in extremity;

blood donors.

(by Lucius Furius)

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