Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Poem for Wednesday, Valmont, Mount Vernon Sheep

I Have a Rendezvous with Death
By Alan Seeger

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear...
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.


I had a day of many small failures, none worth reporting, just that I have no good news and the news in the world at large was pretty bad. The highlight of my day was folding laundry while watching Valmont, which I'm sorry to say was as bad as the first two times I saw it. Comparisons are inevitable not only to Les Liaisons Dangereuses on stage and Frears' Dangerous Liaisons, but to Forman's masterpiece Amadeus and to various other adaptations of Laclos Cruel Intentions manage to capture the voluptuousness and decay better than Valmont does). I know that Colin Firth and Meg Tilly fell in love while making this movie but they have no screen chemistry together; he's somewhat better with the always-awesome Annette Bening but even she seems off her game, playing a ditsy Merteuil who doesn't even know what she wants -- Sarah Michelle Gellar's young version is more memorable. The only thing I really like about Valmont is that for a film named after the man, he's barely in the first hour and it's completely without judgment of the women, like the novel; of any film version, this one has my favorite ending.

In the afternoon I took Adam to tennis -- his teacher has moved him up a level, so I had to go pay an extra $12 for the higher-level class -- and took a walk in Cabin John Park while he was playing (I saw lots of birds and some squirrels, and people cleaning up Shirley Povich Field, where the Bethesda Big Train play baseball in the summer, but no deer). We watched Glee -- I figure that people who don't like it don't watch it and people who do like it don't want to hear me complain about the same things every week, so I will just say -- small spoilers -- that I am delighted about Kurt and Blaine and hope they don't blow it, but I'm sure they will, given the utter preposterous mess of Quinn et al, and if I'm going to be rooting for an all-boys school I wish it was for those delightful versions of "Blackbird" and "Raise Your Glass" and not simply because I want Rachel to SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY rather than get both leads on the American Idolesque bad original songs. After that we put on the Liam Neeson-Geoffrey Rush Les Miserables just to get the smell of shark out of our nostrils. Is it wrong if Javert's obsession with Valjean's muscles seems homoerotic to me? Ah well, some more photos of the Mount Vernon lambs:

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