Thursday, November 19, 2009

Poem for Thursday

By James Longenbach

Because the Greeks didn't bother much about plagiarism
Poems by Anacreon, born in Teos around 500 B.C.,

Appear among the Anacreontea,
Imitations made by poets who loved him.

In a dream I saw Anacreon, who called to me.
As he stumbled, drunk, he lifted a crown of flowers from his head.

Stephanus translated the poems into Latin in 1554.
In Taintignies, using a dictionary

Small enough to carry on active service,
Richard Aldington made the prose translation I adapt here.

I bound the garland around my forehead;
When I sang about Cadmus, my lyre spoke of love.

In my copy of "The Manner of Anacreon," Egoist Press, 1919,
Hamilton Collier of Scarsdale, New York, has written on the flyleaf

My first real understanding of the Greeks.
I regret I am unable to agree with them.

Hephaestus, carve me a hollow cup!
The dark earth drinks, and the trees drink the earth.

The sea drinks the wind,
The sun drinks the sea.

I was a child in the hills of Phrygia.
The swallow of Pandion was once a girl.


Another from this week's New Yorker.

Wednesday was supposed to be my catch-up day, but the wonderful Gnomad provided me with an Archive Of Our Own account code early in the day, and I spent far too many hours figuring out how things worked there. In the afternoon I had four loads of laundries to fold, and because of a conversation with Ethel King about "The Waters of Mars," I ended up watching "Tooth and Claw" and "School Reunion." I'd forgotten how good that season was -- I was still in mourning for Nine, I wasn't ready to fall for Ten (nor to have Rose fall for Ten), and ironically he seemed almost lightweight compared to Nine then -- hah, what a change in perspective watching now! I had remembered "Tooth and Claw" being quite dark, so I hadn't recalled, for instance, the Doctor's line about thinking Sir Robert was probably happy to have his wife away and be surrounded by tall muscular men. "School Reunion" is just wonderful from beginning to end, not just bringing Sarah Jane back to the franchise, but giving us Anthony Stewart Head as a giant conniving bat who wants to rule the universe with the Doctor at his side, and who can blame him?

So speaking of Sarah Jane, I promised notes on "Mona Lisa's Revenge," although I don't have a lot because on further consideration I don't think the episode deserves the attention. Spoilers: For one thing, it's practically the Luke, Clyde and Rani show -- there's almost no Sarah Jane in the two-parter, especially the second segment, and while I understand the producers wanting to show Luke growing up to be independent, I wish they'd had Rani being more directly involved in the problem-solving given that this particular installment was stuffed with ugly stereotypes about women, some literal ("She's really let herself go" and the ridiculing of Phyllis's dating profile), some metaphorical (pretty much everything about the characterization of Mona Lisa -- Adam, who doesn't know a great deal about art, said that Signora Gioconda would have had a less grating accent). I liked Sarah Jane's introspection about parenthood, and Mr. Smith trying to comfort her with work, and really the entire conceit of the French loaning the Mona Lisa to the British in a gallery without a full-time guard and next to the comic-book design winner of a school competition. The fact that Clyde is a pop culture nerd, and that he calls Luke "my padawan" and warns him not to go to the Dark Side, pleases me as much as Phyllis telling off the curator at the end. I just wish Sarah Jane and not K-9 had saved the day.

And I also promised notes on "The Waters of Mars," but I will save those for tomorrow since I need to talk about tonight's Glee, at least for long enough to say that I am sure it is wrong how much I loved the wrongness between Rachel and Mr. Schuester, which reminds me of every inappropriate crush I have ever had in my life, and I love it all the more because I'm with her in thinking that he protests waaaay too much (and frankly Rachel is more mature than Emma, not that I think Will should go there under any circumstances given his age and position and a whole host of reasons that teacher-student affairs only work in fiction, not real life). Spoilers: As for the baby storyline, I feel very sorry for Finn (whose mom is awesome) and a bit sorry for Quinn (I knew she'd have parents like that -- I can't really blame her for lying initially to the guy she thought was likely to put a roof over her head when her family inevitably threw her out, though it's now past time to tell the truth). I am really surprised Mercedes thinks Puck's role is to vanish into the woodwork. And I must confess that my favorite part of the entire hour was the Burger King ad with the old ladies and the construction workers fighting over Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. I am Team Buffy all the way, and couldn't care about that franchise, but I hope it's true that burly guys are arguing about Robert vs. Taylor!

I've always liked Johnny Depp, but I've never thought he was the sexiest man alive, though I much prefer him in his 40s to his 20s. Here are a sitatunga pair at the Maryland Zoo enjoying the gorgeous November weather:

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