Far From the Madding Crowd


Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Excerpt from Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, lines 73-76.

I always forget how much I love poetry until I come across a beloved poem like this one. Recalled are hours spent dissecting, discussing, diagraming, and otherwise wallowing in words in an English lit class. Memories seep into my consciousness, filling me with warm lies about how wonderful life was then. But I long ago learned that if I tarry too long in the misty archives of memories, the chilly truths of the madding crowds of days of yore eventually assert themselves, like a blinding light in a mirror.

No need to recall the madding crowds of the past – they are the bane of my existence of late. Long hours at the day job (mostly crisis management, which leaves me exhausted), an ER visit (spoiler alert – I didn’t die and I didn’t have a heart attack), misplaced financial documents (no – not for taxes, already filed), and a bathroom under construction (2nd of 3, this one is mine). To say that I’d like to tuck myself away in a cool sequestered vale, stocked with few a few dozen books, a few cases of wine, and no internet provider, does not even begin to describe how very much I need a vacation from life involving contact with other people.

Otherwise, in the Mindless Musings department, I’ve “discovered” the Brad Parks Carter Ross series, so I now have another excellent author to catch up with from book one. Some recent revelations on my own WIP as I developed scene cards on the third victim:

Me: The killer being able to arrange for the victim to be at the spa at that precise time seems . . . soooo coincidental. I hate coincidences.

Muse: Well duh, it wasn’t a coincidence. She planned it, not the killer. She was ABC . . .

Me: But wait – if she was ABC, then she must have known about XYZ and that completely changes why she took up with Rick!

Muse: Well duh.

Me: But wait – that would make her a character with good motives, not bad, like everyone thinks.

Muse: Hmmmmmm, ya think?

Me: But wait – do the cops know about this?

Muse: Are there any Oreo cookies around here?


A little more of the puzzle has revealed itself. Clearly, a little more is yet to be revealed. I’m curling up with a good book and a glass of wine, and patiently waiting while the Muse finishes her snack. Perhaps then, “with incense kindled at the Muse’s flame” [line 72] we will learn whether or not the cops know about this.

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4 Responses to Far From the Madding Crowd

  1. I read so much poetry when I was in school, yet I rarely ever read any now. I keep saying I want to change that, but I don’t seem to make much progress. Hmm, I believe April is National Poetry Month…?

    • Lee says:

      Same here – I do want to read more poetry. National Poetry month seems the perfect time to take action on that! Thanks Madeline.

  2. Hilarious! I enjoy your writing so much here, I’ll have to check you your books as well. My muse prefers cheese and crackers to cookies. And coffee–lots of coffee. Happy scribbling to you.

  3. Lee says:

    Thank you Rhonda! My books are coming – slowly, to be sure. I certainly prefer cheese and crackers. My must prefers to give me a clue now and then, then run off. Thanks for stopping by.