By Heather McHugh
Self-interest cropped up even there,
the day I hoisted three instead of the
spades of loam onto
the coffin of my friend.
Why shovel more than anybody else?
What did I think I'd prove? More love
(mud in her eye)? More will to work
(her father what, a shirker?) Christ,
I'd give an arm or leg
to get that spoonful back.
She cannot die again;
and I do nothing but relive.
Another from Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World, in which Mary Karr writes, "A philosophy major, McHugh is fascinated by perception, how the world enters us streaming on light through the eye...McHugh's new elegy begins at the graveside, where she has added three spades of earth, rather than the two everyone else hefts." The poem was published in the November 2007 edition of Poetry magazine.
We had plans to go to an outdoor War of 1812 living history reenactment at the Sully Historic Site, but it rained all day, so after Adam got home from Hebrew school, we decided to stick closer to home and do indoor chores. We went to World Market for
A mother duck with twelve, count 'em, twelve ducklings swimming among fallen petals in the Tidal Basin at the National Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday.
These seagulls preferred the shallower water...
...while this cormorant was diving in the deeper water and staying under for minutes at a time!
It's rather early for ducklings, really. Most of the ducks are only recently appearing in pairs for mating season.
I'm afraid that there were as many people in paddleboats as there were birds in the Tidal Basin.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which produces US currency and passport security materials, is on 14th Street, not right on the water as these banners illustrating the festival would seem to indicate...
...but seen from across the Tidal Basin looking toward the Washington Monument, one could almost believe it.
Watched John Adams, in which Adams finds the role of vice president "the most insignificant office ever devised by the mind of man" -- oh, but that scene with Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Hamilton around the table together! To be in that room! Most of the episode is about everyone's different reactions to the incipient French revolution, with Hamilton wanting to take advantage of it, Jefferson wanting to support his brothers in liberty, Adams wants to protect American interests and Washington wants a government of people who can get along, particularly when his false teeth are bothering him. Washington has a rather incredible speech after the treaty with Britain where he says he's tired of being unpopular and weary of the task of the presidency...I can buy the latter, but the man who wanted to go home to Mount Vernon to be a gentleman farmer was not running away from a widely reviled treaty that he supported -- there are moments when I feel like Washington and Jefferson are being made to look less impressive to make Adams look better, which really isn't necessary.
The kids have no school on Monday so the teachers can finish end-of-marking-period chores, but I suspect Daniel is going to want to sleep until noon -- he got home from Atlanta more than an hour later than originally scheduled, with a bad sore throat. I watched I Think I Love My Wife because it was on after John Adams and it was, unexpectedly, entertaining -- just as sexist as you'd think but between the running Michael Jackson jokes and the anti-chicken rant and the music and Gina Torres, I liked it anyway, and I feel rather ashamed but am so pleased to see a movie where a woman with Kerry Washington's body is celebrated as the height of hotness, rather than some see-through skinny girl.