The Banished Gods
By Derek Mahon
Near the headwaters of the longest river
There is a forest clearing,
A dank, misty place
Where light stands in columns
And birds sing with a noise like paper tearing.
Far from land, far from the trade routs,
In an unbroken dreamtime
Of penguin and whale,
The seas sigh to themselves
Reliving the days before the days of sail.
Where wires end the moor seethes in silence,
Scattered with scree, primroses,
Feathers and faeces.
It shelters the hawk and hears
In dreams the forlorn cries of lost species.
It is here that the banished gods are in hiding,
Here they sit out the centuries
In stone, water
And the hearts of trees,
Lost in a reverie of their own natures --
Of zero-growth economics and seasonal change
In a world without cars, computers
Or chemical skies,
Where thought is a fondling of stones
And wisdom a five-minute silence at moonrise.
Had a relatively quiet Sunday. I enjoyed The New York Times, particularly the editorial endorsement of Kerry, Dowd on theocratic hypocrisy and Friedman on why we need a new administration. Our original plan for the day was to go to the Renaissance Festival again, but I'm still fighting a cold, plus both kids had homework and friends they wanted to play with. Given the late start because of Hebrew school and the expense of getting into the festival, we decided to wait until next weekend. (
While the kids were out with their friends,
Compare this photo to the first one here; it was taken in the same spot, but the water level is much lower. The white you see on the ground is tiny shells left behind by the river.
And compare the great dark thundering Potomac River in that link to this relatively calm one -- just the usual Great Falls.
We saw a snake on Olmsted Island! I have no idea what kind this is. Can anyone else tell me?
More fauna that I need interpreted: does this mean that it is going to be a long winter, or a cold one?
The hawks and turkey vultures were circling on updrafts above the trees, not diving -- I have never seen this sort of behavior by them before.
Everywhere there were signs of fall and the diffuse late-afternoon light reflecting in the canal.