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Monday, 9 June 2014

Charlie Walsh: The Health Story


Calendar for Abietine Medical Company: artist unknown, 1893 (California Business Ephemera Collection, California Historical Society)

If you eat vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K and X
....................for the rest of your life
you will die.
......this is the value of poetry.

 Charlie Walsh: The Health Story (Alternative Press bookmark, 1971)

Vitamin Packaging: photo by Colin Dunn, 1 March 2010


TC said...

Ken and Ann Mikolowski, revered publishers in that bygone epoch when publishing could still produce joy, made this Charlie Walsh bookmark, back in the day.

So what do you guys think -- are people healthier now, when every "health" procedure and product that can make somebody money is bought more or less without thought, or in 1971, when Charlie made this poem, or in 1893, when Abietine and its several derivatives could be obtained sans prescription or portfolio?

TC said...

abietine (n.) A resinous substance obtained from Strasburg turpentine or Canada balsam. It is without taste or smell, is insoluble in water, but soluble in alcohol (especially at the boiling point), in strong acetic acid, and in ether.

-- Webster's Dictionary, 1913

abietine (′a·bē·ə′tēn)(materials) The distillate of the gums of the Jeffrey and digger pines; comprises 96% heptane; used as a cleaning agent, insecticide, and constituent of standard gasolines to measure detonation of engines.

-- McGraw-Hill Sci-Tech Dicionary, current edition

Yes. That might help, when everything else has failed. And when GrandDad's given up the ghost (finally!!), you can run your leaf-blower on it.

TC said...

... So that rustling in the weeds must mean the deer, who have great taste memories, are out there browsing the abietine again... which reminds me that Charlie Walsh is one of those poets poets remember, if they're me.

"Thanks for the reminder of a poem I'd completely forgotten," he writes from Haverford, Pa., where he spends a few hours a week managing a Quaker Meeting House, while "kind of knitting together a thriller on the side".

Difficult getting the old books down from the old shelves any more, and once down getting the old eyes to operate on them, so that when the voluminous Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara opened up before me the other night, and the wall of mildew parted, and this bookmark fell out, and I could read it, and the message seemed equivalent to all I'd ever known, or needed to know... happy ... a message... you know?

ACravan said...

Wow. Charlie is my neighbor. And a Quaker also. Curtis

Hazen said...

Consider then the May fly, whose lifetime is barely eighteen hours; and who experiences only a single sunrise and a single sunset; and who, amid all the buzzing and mating, all that intensified, compressed existence, knows not even one whole axial turning.

TC said...

I would very much like to be appointed an honorary Quaker, were such a quiet conversion possible, merely to be in such gentle company.

Equally the life of a Mayfly bears consideration if indeed it does not also inspire envy.

The shift in calendars having made them half-June-flies long ago, without their ever noticing -- no time to study your press clippings if you're Ephemoptera -- you've got to have those values straight, from the shimmering get-go.

That early phase in which the only reason for existing is to escape sounds familiar enough. One can easily identify. But then the better later, with the other interests, and the more or less graceful quick exit -- gentlemen (the males are all secret Quakers I reckon) first.

Not so bad, in total.

Two years in the making, for just the one moment of glory.

Would that we were universally able to claim as much!