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Jerome Walsh ([log in to unmask]) wrote the following on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 08:21:49AM -0800:
> Yes, Diana.  "I am drinking" is progressive present tense.  "I drink" is simple present.  "I do drink" is emphatic 
> present.  Each of them can be used in contexts that modify the temporal parameters of the action.  "I drink coffee from 
> morning to night" (continuous, durative action).  "I drink a cup of coffee every morning when I get up" (puntual, 
> repeated action).  But for punctual, non-repeated action in the present, the progressive present ("I am drinking a cup 
> of coffee right now").  For simultaneous action, the progressive past ("I was drinking a cup of coffee when you called") 
> can be replaced (Runyon-style) by the progressive present ("Guess who arrives while I am drinking a cup of coffee!").  I 
> have no doubt there are other, even more nuanced uses of the various tenses beyond those I've exemplified.

Just a thought: does anybody else have the sense that in Gerontion, "us he devours" is actually something that has yet to 
happen?  i.e., tense notwithstanding, Gerontion is looking ahead to the new year in which the "devouring" -- death? -- 
happens.  

Also, does anybody have any thoughts about the "thousand small deliberations" section?  I find in it a certain small 
action on Gerontion's part: it's as though he is saying "it is by deliberating all of these things that I act, that I 
prolong my existence"... but then he goes on to essentially negate that by saying that, after all, he - like the spider, 
like the weevil - could not do otherwise.

Thoughts of a dry brain...

George