Monday, October 04, 2010

Poem for Monday and Pennsylvania Renfaire Irish Weekend

The Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart
By David Kirby

I'm bouncing across the Scottish heath in a rented Morris Minor
                and listening to an interview with Rat Scabies, drummer
of the first punk band, The Damned, and Mr. Scabies,
        who’s probably 50 or so and living comfortably on royalties,
is as recalcitrant as ever, as full of despair and self-loathing,

but the interviewer won't have it, and he keeps calling him "Rattie,"
                saying, "Ah, Rattie, it's all a bit of a put-on, isn't it?"
and "Ah, you're just pulling the old leg now, aren't you, Rattie?"
        to which Mr. Scabies keeps saying things like
"We're fooked, ya daft prat. Oh, yeah, absolutely—fooked!"

Funny old Rattie—he believed in nothing, which is something.
                If it weren't for summat, there'd be naught, as they say
in that part of the world. I wonder if his dad wasn't a bit of a bastard,
        didn't drink himself to death, say, as opposed to a dad like mine,
who, though also dead now, was as nice as he could be when he was alive.

A month before, I’d been in Florence and walked by the casa di cura where
                my son Will was born 27 years ago, though it's not a hospital
now but a home for the old nuns of Le Suore Minime del Sacra Cuore
        who helped to deliver and bathe and care for him when he was just
a few minutes old, and when I look over the gate, I see three

of these holy sisters sitting in the garden there, and I wave at them,
                and they wave back, and I wonder if they were on duty
when Will was born, these women who have had no sex at all,
        probably not even very much candy, yet who believe in something
that may be nothing, after all, though I love them for giving me my boy.

They’re dozing and talking, these mystical brides of Christ,
                and thinking about their Husband, and it looks to me
as though they’re having their version of the sacra conversazione,
        a favorite subject of Renaissance artists in which people who care
for one another are painted chatting together about noble things,

and I'm wondering if, as I walk by later when the shadows are long,
                will their white faces be like stars against their black habits,
the three of them a constellation about to rise into the vault
        that arches over Tuscany, the fires there now twinkling,
now steadfast in the chambered heart of the sky.


My family spent the day at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire with Dementordelta, in nearly perfect weather (mid-60s, partially overcast), among trees that are starting to change color and harvest decorations all around Mount Hope Winery. Barely Balanced was there this time, and we saw both their shows; they do acrobatics and they also do a juggling show with fire. It was Irish Weekend, so there was sheepherding, which I've never seen at a Renfaire before -- it was a lot of fun seeing sheep and border collies racing around the jousting field! Plus we saw Sloanwolfe, who played both Irish and patriotic American music on bagpipes, though we did not have haggis (and why they were serving haggis for Irish weekend is a bit puzzling to me). Instead I had a wonderful apple, bleu cheese and walnut salad during the concert, then we stayed for the bar brawl which Daniel wanted to see -- that's the show that starts with some of the nobles having a conflict and ends with everyone falling into the onstage pool.

In the afternoon we went to the early joust, then wandered around the shops for a while before returning to the arena to see the sheepherding (plus we caught the very end of the falconry show and went to see the birds). We saw the elephants, caught a bit of the Human Chess Game, went to the second Barely Balanced show, and grabbed dinner (panini for me and Adam, plus chocolate-covered cheesecake) before going to see Don Juan and Miguel's Weird Show, which is Daniel's favorite. We figure he will probably be away at college during Renfaire season next year so we wanted to get it all in this fall! While we were in Pennsylvania, our two local teams, the Ravens and the Redskins, very kindly beat the two teams everyone there seemed to be rooting for, the Steelers and the Eagles, so that was nice too -- I know it would make me a nicer person if I felt badly about Michael Vick's injury, but I think about what he did to all those dogs and then I can't think of an NFL player who more deserves to understand pain, so I really hope the Eagles rethink their starting quarterback.

Witness the splashing at the bar brawl at the Pennsylvania Renfaire's Boarshead Inn.

Since it was Irish weekend, an Irish dancer who performed with Sloanwolfe...

...and we got to see sheepherding!

Delta stopped to see what was brewing in the cauldron in the herb garden.

Daniel reluctantly posed by the skeletons near the pirate ship...

...and Adam petted one of the greyhounds by the race dog rescue tent.

Here I am on the dragon throne in the shipboard armory.

The joust started with Sir Marcus performing impressively at the ring-toss, but of course it degenerated into mayhem.

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