Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Poem for Tuesday and Spectacled Bears

Adonais 49-52
By Percy Bysshe Shelley

Go thou to Rome, at once the Paradise,
The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
And where its wrecks like shattered mountains rise,
And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
The bones of Desolation's nakedness
Pass, till the spirit of the spot shall lead
Thy footsteps to a slope of green access
Where, like an infant's smile, over the dead
A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread;

And gray walls moulder round, on which dull Time
Feeds, like slow fire upon a hoary brand;
And one keen pyramid with wedge sublime,
Pavilioning the dust of him who planned
This refuge for his memory, doth stand
Like flame transformed to marble; and beneath,
A field is spread, on which a newer band
Have pitched in Heaven's smile their camp of death,
Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguished breath.

Here pause: these graves are all too young as yet
To have outgrown the sorrow which consigned
Its charge to each; and if the seal is set,
Here, on one fountain of a mourning mind,
Break it not thou! too surely shalt thou find
Thine own well full, if thou returnest home,
Of tears and gall. From the world's bitter wind
Seek shelter in the shadow of the tomb.
What Adonais is, why fear we to become?

The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments. Die,
If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
Follow where all is fled!—Rome's azure sky,
Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak
The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.


Adam had homework to finish on the last day of spring break (and his girlfriend needed help with a project that took four hours) so we had a quiet holiday Monday. There were a few snow flurries and a great many football games, of which the only one that held my interest for any length of time was the Rose Bowl, which Wisconsin sadly did not win, though I am informed that my Oregon relatives are pleased. I was working on a silly new year project which I half-finished, which was more than I was expecting.

We had hoppin' john for dinner since The Washington Post says that it's lucky to eat for the new year. In the evening after a PBS special on Buckingham Palace that didn't show George VI once during the section on the WWII bombings, older son wanted to watch Robot Chicken -- we got the last season on DVD for Chanukah -- and though it was as usual way too violent, fairly misogynistic and occasionally just plain sick, I cannot stop laughing about the fake trailer for Night at the Museum 3: The Holocaust Museum so I guess I am going to hell.

The National Zoo's spectacled bears are back on display near Amazonia.

Here are the mother and her two cubs...

...with mom supervising as her kids played with a coconut.

The cubs threw it down on rocks to try to crack it open.

Eventually they had broken through the outer husk.

Then they played ball with it for a little while...

...before taking turns eating it.

These bears are from the Andes and apparently unfazed by winter weather, though it was unseasonably warm for most of the weekend.

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