Thursday, September 09, 2010

Poem for Rosh Hashanah and Renfaire Animals

Turn of a Year
By Joan Houlihan

This is regret: or a ferret. Snuffling,
stunted, a snout full of snow.

As the end of day shuffles down
the repentant scurry and swarm—

an unstable contrition is born.
Bend down. Look into the lair.

Where newborn pieties spark and strike
I will make my peace as a low bulb

burnt into a dent of snow. A cloth to keep me
from seeping. Light crumpled over a hole.

Why does the maker keep me awake?
He must want my oddments, their glow.


Paul took the working van since it was a warm Wednesday and I had lots to do in the house anyway. The high point of my morning was folding laundry, which I did while watching The Time Traveler's Wife, because what's the fun of folding laundry if I don't at least get to watch chick flicks while I control the TV? I wasn't all that impressed, though I did not read the book and it's probable that the things that irritated me in the film aren't from the book, which I understand switches POV between the time traveler and his wife; the film really should have been called The Time Traveler, since it was far more about him than about Clare, though really just the fact that she's defined as his wife and not an artist, a mother, etc. in the title is pretty telling. Things I really did like: the cinematography, shots of Chicago, Rachel McAdams. Things I liked well enough: Eric Bana, the low-key special effects. Things I really did not like: how little attention Clare's artwork got from the film and from everyone in it, how her daughter was more plot device than character, how the Waiting Woman archetype is idealized and that's characterized as great romance, how all of Clare's accusations about how Henry kissed her as a girl and sidetracked what might have been her life were true.

We had Rosh Hashanah dinner with my parents, their friends who have come for dinner each of the past several years -- they have a daughter my age with whom we carpooled to nursery school and who went to high school with me, so I've known them nearly my entire life -- and my in-laws, who had been in Philadelphia earlier in the day for a seminary meeting and drove down for the evening. The food was all fabulous -- I wasn't sure if I'd miss chicken soup and gefilte fish, since this is the first year I'm eating neither, but my mother made me vegetable soup and I also had potato pancakes, barley, carrot souffle, and apple-cheddar strata, plus raspberry chocolate cake for dessert, so it's not like I missed anything! We talked about politics, genetics, colleges, religion, the media, and assorted other topics. Now we're watching Jon Stewart, who is nicely dissecting extremists. Here are some of the animals from the Pennsylvania Renfaire:

One of the birds of prey at the falconry show, which raises money to rehabilitate wild birds.

In addition to falcons, there are hawks, kestrels, and owls.

The birds are kept in a large flight cage between shows...

...though they're tethered during faire hours.

The Queen's Hounds are actually rescued greyhounds. Many of them are available for adoption.

Butterfly bushes have been planted all around the winery where the Faire takes place, though we saw the highest concentration of swallowtails at the one by the Royal Flush, a.k.a. the women's loo.

In the marketplace, these lizards are for sale in small plastic cages, marketed as pocket dragons.

And of course there are horses performing in the jousting arena.

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