Yes, the 1998 version by Nick Lowe. Although, I have to admit, Engelbert Humperdink did a pretty good version a few years later.
What is it that gets people inspired? I was out on my nightly walk with Morrie, and we stopped off, as we do every night, at a Pokemon Go gym that is close to my house. Sitting there, taking over the gym, a car pulls up, a person gets out, and calls my name! In the modern vernacular, WTF! It was Adam, one of my former students. I have not seen him for quite some time. How fortuitous to run into him. Of course, he was there for the same reason I was, to take control of the gym. Same team. Nice.
As we chatted, with Morrie chilling on the grass beside me, Adam commented that it is crazy how differently people react to similar situations. I have recently moved into a semi-retirement/freelance/entrepreneurial/laid back-napping-a-lot-time period of my life. This is a major shift in lifestyle especially after having been in the work force full time since 1975. I know others my age, in the same circumstance, are really struggling. For me, however, and especially since getting my puppy, this has been a time of inspired creativity. I am canning again (jams, jellies, pickles), I am cooking again (a beautiful seafood risotto on an upcoming menu), and I am writing again (this blog, children’s stories, stage plays, screen plays, a cookbook, a leadership book). There are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that I want to get done.
Case in point. A couple of hours later, I noticed my wife had fallen asleep, sitting up, iPad on her lap. This is a real invitation for Morrie to give her a big sloppy kiss. I said to her, “You better watch out before you end up with spittle on your spectacles!” I laughed. The sound of the line was interesting. I looked at Morrie, again chilling at my feet, and I tried it again, “I have spittle on my spectacles, and your slobber on my face.” Of course he just looks up with that very defined look on his face that screams, “Weird human…trying to sleep here!”
So, I scratched the top of his head, and in my best baby voice, said it again, “I have spittle on my spectacles, and your slobber on my face.” It sounded very interesting, almost like it could be a poem. Morrie, by this time, had completely lost interest and flopped over and went to sleep. My wife by this time was agreeing that it was the best line she had ever heard. At that point, I knew she too had completely lost interest and was 90% asleep. I, on the other hand, was on a roll. I wanted to do something with those lines…
I counted the beats in the two lines. 9 / 7, and went to Dr. Google to see if there is a poetry form that uses that count. Wow, so there is. It is called Cueca Chilena, with the syllabic count of 9/7/9/7/8/9/9/9, and a very interesting rhyming scheme of abcBBded. Line 5 has to be the same as line 4, with the addition of the word “yes”. You can see the article I was reading here:
I thought, why not? I have the first two lines, let’s see if I can complete it. 20 minutes later I have a draft of something…
Spittle on My Spectacles, A Morrie Poem, by Steve
I have spittle on my spectacles,
And your slobber on my face.
Your wet cold nose gives me some love;
Your paws, well they set the pace.
Yes, your paws, well they set the pace,
For running, jumping, and playing fetch.
Together, the long days in the park,
End with licks, belly rubs, and a stretch.
Personally, I find it an odd poetry form. The challenge was forming something that fit with the rules, that made sense. I think it would be interesting to hear it set to music.
However, there’s the creative muse. Until a few hours ago, I had never heard of this poetic form. And now, I can say I learned something, tried something new, and put that creative muse to work. And again, as I look down at the dog chilling at my feet, I can only say, you inspire me!