Mistakes & Flies

June 5, 2019

 

I had this little book of poems when I was a child. This one poem stayed in my memory in part because it was quirky and funny (although maybe a bit morbid). Recently, this poem popped back clearly into my mind. The reason it did was because I was thinking about how some people will have an event in their life, and how that event can have a snowball effect to such a point, that the end result is disastrous. Addictions are a prime example of this, although this scenario plays out many different ways, affecting relationships, success, and happiness along the way. In other words, this poem could easily be a metaphor for the problems we have in our life, and how some people deal with those problems. Before we go further, here’s the poem:

 

 

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly.
Perhaps she'll die.

 

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider
That wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly.
Perhaps she'll die.

 

There was an old lady who swallowed a bird,
How absurd, to swallow a bird!
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly.
Perhaps she'll die.

 

There was an old lady who swallowed a cat.
Imagine that, she swallowed a cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly.
Perhaps she'll die.

 

There was an old lady who swallowed a dog.
What a hog! To swallow a dog!
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird 
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly.
Perhaps she'll die.

 

There was an old lady who swallowed a goat.
Just opened her throat and swallowed a goat!
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog 
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird 
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly.
Perhaps she'll die.

 

There was an old lady who swallowed a cow.
I don't know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird 
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly.
Perhaps she'll die.

 

There was an old lady who swallowed a horse -
She died, of course.

 

Like the old lady did, people can let one problem (or the start of one) create choices, decisions, and outcomes in their lives that lead to a chain of events that simply don’t work out, creating disharmony, unhappiness or even death (physical or emotional).

 

Life is a series of ups and downs. One of the keys to surviving this particular roller coaster is knowing when it’s time to break the cycle. We have all swallowed flies (imperfect circumstances). Most of us have swallowed spiders (bad choices). A lot of us have swallowed birds (more bad choices). At some point though, swallowing cats and dogs should seem like a really bad idea (because we have learned), and even the thought of swallowing goats and cows should be absurd (because we are past that)! Swallowing the horse should never be a consideration!

 

We have all swallowed flies and we will swallow more, that’s how life goes. However, knowing when and how to break the cycle prevents the negative momentum from building in your life is critical to cultivate your happiness! Maybe the next time a fly lands in your mouth, you can just spit it out, rinse out your mouth, and deliberately put yourself in a place where there are less flies. If you end up swallowing one by accident, then just forgive it and let it go, rather than letting the bad taste cause you to go chasing spiders.

 

 

 

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