Sunday, January 09, 2011

Poem for Sunday, National Aquarium DC, Arcimboldo

Making the Bed
By Burt Kimmelman

for D.

Summer country. In the morning the leaves

to the window and fold
the house in. Mountains and sun. I fold

the blankets, hand smooth. When
you’re here

I know it. The sun crosses

the hand’s breadth—

and in your face

the unenterable
image. Under

your eyelids
night unfolds. Pull

the blanket over you
and with it

the darkened air.


We woke up to a very pretty dusting of snow, just enough to coat the trees, not enough to keep us trapped in the house. Daniel went off for the entire day for the FIRST robotics competition kickoff with his school team, and the rest of us went downtown. We wanted to see The Pre-Raphaelite Lens and the Arcimboldo exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, both of which are closing this month and both of which are wonderful (the former has paintings as well as photographs by and of the Pre-Raphaelites and their associates, including some interesting wild landscapes and some absolutely gorgeous women in costumes, a few by ; the latter has Arcimboldo's amazing composite heads, of which my favorite by far is "Water," where every one of the subject's features is made from a sea creature). Even Adam acknowledged that the Pre-Raphaelites weren't entirely terrible.

While walking to the DC branch of the National Aquarium past the Newseum, we heard the news about Gabrielle Giffords' shooting -- at the time, they were reporting that she had died -- so I was in a state of shock while seeing the adorable baby loggerhead turtles that are currently living at the aquarium, plus the sharks, alligators, seahorses, rays, and other animals there. I hadn't really paid attention to Giffords' campaign while she was running, and now that I've seen Jesse Kelly and Sarah Palin's "target" ads with rifles directed at her, I am really sickened. We stopped at Barnes & Noble on the way to get Daniel so I could pick up, um, this (I discovered that I already had this down the basement from a Smithsonian book sale a few years ago when they renovated the American History museum, I think I got it for $1, so I have reading material for a few days, yay).

Winter (After Arcimboldo) by Philip Haas, a fiberglass sculpture inspired by Arcimboldo.

No photos are permitted in special exhibits at the National Gallery, so here is the oversized reproduction at the entrance to the exhibit of Arcimboldo's Vertumnus.

A sign calculating taxes paid by DC residents, updated every few minutes, protesting the taxation without representation of the District.

Starlings on a horse sculpture outside one of the government buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Excited children watch the baby Everglades alligators at the National Aquarium in DC.

Seahorses wrap around coral, and each other.

An enormous lobster in one of the tanks representing the US Marine Sanctuaries.

And here is one of the two baby loggerhead turtles in the Grey’s Reef exhibit, where they will live until they are old enough to have a good chance of survival in the wild.

Paul made peanut soup for dinner while younger son walked the dogs and I took a walk just for the sake of it. We watched the end of the Seahawks-Saints game, in which I was rooting for New Orleans, but I think everyone now knows my mantra: if they can't beat the Eagles, I want someone there who can. Then we watched most of the Jets-Colts game, which ended the way I wanted. The news was depressing, one leader after another falling all over themselves to express horror at Giffords' shooting (and a federal judge, and a child, and too many others), without offering any sort of insight or solutions. And Jim Carrey is just not that funny on SNL.

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