By Tess Gallagher
The Romanian poets
under Ceausescu, Liliana
said, would codify opposition
to the despots in this manner: because
there was no gas and they were cold, everyone
was cold, all they had to do was write
how cold it is . . . so cold . . . and their
readers knew exactly what was meant.
No one had to go to jail
Liliana, in the dead of night
writing her poems
with gloves on.
I think I'll take off my gloves.
It's freezing in here.
There's a glacier pressing on my heart.
"Here is a poem from Tess Gallagher's rich, striking, new collection Dear Ghosts,," writes Robert Pinsky in Poet's Choice in today's Washington Post Book World. He wonders if "the myth of apolitical American writing is part of the Cold War heritage." Of Gallagher's new book, he observes, "The comma in her title emphasizes how elegiac the book is, addressed to ghosts of various kinds and degrees of intimacy. The figure of the Eastern European writer resisting and surviving under the old communist empire is a kind of ghost: still haunting and urgent or emblematic for the West. Like traditional ghost stories, maybe this persistent specter of Soviet oppression expresses semi-conscious fears about our own proclivities...the half-legendary life of poetry in the Soviet years gives Gallagher a way to convey her political meaning in her poem."
Obviously I was too tired early Saturday morning to post except in the most superficial manner. *g* A more complete description of my Friday:
We had Middle Eastern food for lunch because good hummus is always a good thing, then came back here where I gave them the grand tour (such as it is -- they were polite about the mess in the basement and did not laugh too hard about
Saturday was a much more difficult day. Thanks everyone for the condolences.
The kids seemed more easily distracted than after Aragorn died. Younger son had a soccer game in the middle of the day, so although we had wanted to go to Maryland Day at the University of Maryland and see all the science demonstrations like we usually do, there was really no way to get to the ones we wanted around the sports schedule. So we all went to soccer including my father (they lost 2-0 and were dispirited), then we went to Target to buy shorts for older son who had outgrown all of his over the winter. And since we were near the lake with the geese and it was an utterly gorgeous 65-degree day, we took a walk around it and saw waterfowl and paddleboaters and a wedding. When we had cleaned the kitchen counter while cleaning up after the gerbil, we found a big plastic cup full of quarters that we had forgotten all about, and when we put it with the rest of the loose change in various containers in the kitchen it ended up being a decent amount of money, so we let the kids get some Shadow the Hedgehog video game with which they distracted themselves in the afternoon while I wrote two quick articles (Patrick Stewart getting rave reviews in Antony and Cleopatra, Richard Herd griping about various aspects of the motion picture industry). We were supposed to go out to dinner with my parents, but my father had a tantrum over something trivial, so we went only with my mother who took us out for very good Greek food.
In the evening, I put on Brideshead Revisited, which I saw most of at some point in my distant youth but my uncle has been telling me that I really must watch, and I discovered that I remembered almost none of it...or actually, what I did remember I was mixing up with Maurice because they're practically the same gay university story except Charles and Sebastian are supposed to be heterosexual, I think, which is very, very hard to tell given all of Charles' musings about how he was ready for love and they spent many hours in debauchery and I can't even remember all the other lines where either
We also watched Saturday Night Live, the animated edition, which was worth it just for the Song of the South clip and stills from the original uncut Fantasia, the Osama-and-Saddam utter political incorrectness and Jesus Christ doing the Charlie Brown dance after zapping various televangelists. (I am sorry to report that despite numerous cracks at Jews, Muslims and Christians, there was not nearly the skewering of Scientologists for which I had hoped.) The other entertainment news that alternately makes me laugh, cry and scream is the report, originally from Variety (which apparently screwed up the Star Trek news enough that who knows if they should be trusted) that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may star in Atlas Shrugged. I don't know whether to ...well, laugh, cry or scream.
A great blue heron about to fish in the Potomac River.
A Canadian goose swims beside the biggest koi I have ever seen.
My son pointed out that this is likely one of the apparently mixed-breed goslings from last spring (and one of the good geese).
I still want to write something about Doctor Who but it is very late and we are going Sunday to Baltimore for the Volvo Ocean Race ships' visit to the Inner Harbor for the Baltimore Waterfront Festival -- and we also want to see the Wright Brothers exhibit before it leaves the Maryland Science Center. So it must wait till late tomorrow I suspect.