Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Poem for Tuesday and Flood Waters

Darwin's Finches
By Deborah Digges


My mother always called it a nest,
the multi-colored mass harvested

from her six daughters' brushes,
and handed it to one of us

after she had shaped it, as we sat in front
of the fire drying our hair.

She said some birds steal anything, a strand
of spider's web, or horse's mane,

the residue of sheep's wool in the grasses
near a fold

where every summer of her girlhood
hundreds nested.

Since then I've seen it for myself, their genius—
how they transform the useless.

I've seen plastics stripped and whittled
into a brilliant straw,

and newspapers—the dates, the years—
supporting the underweavings.


As tonight in our bed by the window
you brush my hair to help me sleep, and clean

the brush as my mother did, offering
the nest to the updraft.

I'd like to think it will be lifted as far
as the river, and catch in some white sycamore,

or drift, too light to sink, into the shaded inlets,
the bank-moss, where small fish, frogs, and insects

lay their eggs.
Would this constitute an afterlife?

The story goes that sailors, moored for weeks
off islands they called paradise,

stood in the early sunlight
cutting their hair. And the rare

birds there, nameless, almost extinct,
came down around them

and cleaned the decks
and disappeared into the trees above the sea.


I had a Monday, meaning laundry half-done, cleanup half-done, work for the week half-started and loose ends from the weekend half-finished. On the plus side, it was a gorgeous day, I took a nice long walk in the woods, and if Japan wasn't apparently experiencing a nuclear meltdown, I would say it was a pretty good day. (The situation in Libya looks terrible but I only had five minutes for it in my news-watching hours.) I was reading this very angry article about news coverage of rape, and realized I was on a site likely to have an intelligent review of The King's Speech -- if not sympathetic to the women's roles, in which deviation from tradition must be read in the nuances of the performances since it's certainly not scripted, then at least not a climate where The Social Network's misogyny would be hailed as hip and modern and admirable.

Adam went home with a friend to practice a Chinese skit and ended up staying there for dinner -- he actually went to preschool with the friend, and they played together when they were three, though neither one of them remembers this since they have been in different schools ever since until this year. Since it was Pi Day, Paul made black bean chili pot pie and bought some kind of lemon pie from a local bakery (I only had a bite, since I ate half a hamantaschen that my mother got me at Hebrew school). I want to mention how much I appreciate that on Harry's Law, the show does so many stories about issues that particularly affect women -- it has addressed rape, abusive spouses, abusive boyfriends, prostitution, and it never judges women for their choices even when the choices would be labeled morally questionable by a lot of people. I am glad the Terps women got a number for seed after the disappointment for the men's team not even making the NIT. Here are some more photos from the Great Falls flood crest over the weekend:

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