Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poem for Tuesday, George VI, Chrysanthemums

The Nurse
By Michael Blumenthal

after Tennyson

Now come the purple garments, now the white;
Now move the vagrant beds among the disinfected halls;
Now stretch the opaque hose between the antiseptic rooms:
I waken: and she looks at me.

Now droops the freshly propped-up pillow like a ghost,
And like a ghost she sets it right for me.

Now lie the intravenous tubules by the door,
And all the body's ills stare openly at me.

Now drifts the slim physician on, and leaves
His clipboard hanging like a thought in front of me.

Now folds the young nurse all her aprons up,
And slips her lovely bosom in a waiting car:
And so desire folds itself as well, and slips
Into my arms, and then is lost in me.


Dementordelta came to visit on this lovely Monday, and after an hour of Halloween shopping and picking up crepes in the mall for lunch, we settled in for an afternoon of King's Speech -- though we didn't actually watch The King's Speech, nor even Colin Firth, heh. We watched the documentary The King Speaks, then Bertie and Elizabeth, then the first three episodes of Edward and Mrs. Simpson, all of which were extremely enjoyable. In the first, we discovered that the Nicholas Mosley who is always getting interviewed as a former patient of Lionel Logue was the son of the British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley -- and no great surprise, he said his father was a bully. I didn't think the characterizations in Bertie and Elizabeth were as sharp as those in The King's Speech -- Elizabeth was too relentlessly sweet and charming, not a single moment of true pissiness even directed at Wallis, and Bertie barely stammered even before he met Logue (who's a delight for the brief time he's in the film -- completely confident in his patient and defensive of his courage).

Churchill isn't a big character in either Bertie and Elizabeth or Edward and Mrs. Simpson, but he had my favorite lines in both. In the former, when Bertie asks Churchill to form a government that does not include Lord Beaverbrook (who had published all sorts of stuff about Edward VIII), Churchill says, "I'd rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in." In the latter, when a friend of Edward asks Churchill whether there isn't some way to stop the king from bringing Wallis to Balmoral, Churchill scoffs that Balmoral is "sacred to the memory of Queen Victoria...and Mr. Brown." As intensely as I dislike Wallis, I don't like it when people try to blame everything on That Woman, as if she were entirely a scheming gold-digger and if she'd disappeared, he'd have become the great king everyone wanted him to be -- he had pro-fascist sympathies quite apart from her liking the way the Nazis courted her -- so I prefer watching Edward digging his own grave in the latter, though Bertie is really a very minor character.

In the evening my family half-watched Terra Nova, which had a couple of nice character bits but needs to stop hinting ominously at some big conspiracy apart from the usual conflicts one would expect among people living in what's essentially a military camp surrounded by hostile dinosaurs and play that card before it gets ridiculous. Then we watched last night's Boardwalk Empire, which always has fantastic characterization -- this time Angela, Margaret, and especially Gillian got to get upset about things I'd expected them to be repressing lots of anger about, as did Chalky, so once again I can excuse the violence because I really appreciate how complicated the characters' motivations are allowed to be and how the white mob bosses are by far the least interesting or emotionally engaging for viewers and the producers know it. Now we are watching the end of the Jets trouncing Miami. Here are some photos from the chrysanthemum display at Brookside Gardens:

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