Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem for Thursday and Lake Animals

A Meditation in Seven Days, Part IV
By Alicia Ostriker

For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. -- Isaiah 2:3-4

Here is another story: the ark burned
The marble pillars buried, the remnant scattered

A thousand years, two thousand years
In every patch of the globe, the gentle remnant

Of whom our rabbis boast: Compassionate sons
Of compassionate fathers

In love not with the Law, but with the kindness
They claim to be the whole of the Torah

Torn from a whole cloth
From the hills of Judea

That rang with praise, and from the streams
That were jewels, yearning for wholeness, next

Year in Jerusalem, surely, there would be
Milk and honey, they could see

The thing plainly, an ideal society
Of workers, the wise, the holy hill flowing

Finally with righteousness --
Here they are, in the photographs of the 1880s,

The young women with their serious eyes
Their lace collars and cameo brooches

Are the partners of these serious young men
Who stand shaven, who have combed their hair smoothly

They are writing pamphlets together, which describe
In many little stitches the word shalom

They have climbed out of the gloomy villages
They have kissed the rigid parents goodbye

Soon they will be a light to the nations
They will make the desert bloom, they are going to form

The plough and pruning hook Isaiah promised
After tears of fire, of blood, of mud

Of the sword and shame
Eighty generations

Here in their eyes the light of justice from Sinai
And the light of pure reason from Europe


A variety of forces conspired to give me a headache on Wednesday (pollen, weather, time of month, sleeping terribly because a cat made my foot fall asleep and I woke up with a horrible cramp that I had to walk around to get rid of) so I had a pretty quiet day. I got a lot of work done but I only went out to take a walk, because the weather was so gorgeous that not even a headache or pollen could deter me. Adam biked all around the area, then to the mall with a friend, where they ran into my mother who took them to dinner, so Paul and I had pierogis by ourselves.

Then we watched Midnight In Paris which is some of the most self-indulgent tripe I have ever seen, even by Woody Allen standards. THIS got award nominations? I've read Mary Sue fic that was less pretentious and annoying and the women may have slightly more agency than Bella Swan but they're even more shallow. Okay, Owen playing Woody is kind of amusing, he does it better than Branagh did and I can JUST hear Woody saying his lines ("I wasn't anti-social," "He's a pseudo-intellectual"). I felt sorry for Rachel McAdams being cast as Scarlett Johansson only without any likeable personality.

I did get a kick out of Hemingway talking like he writes, but wow, I'm reminded of all the sexist men in Modernism at the University of Chicago and I see the high canon hasn't changed any since I fled grad school. Here are some more animals from Lake Whetstone over the weekend, including green herons, a frog, and many turtles:


Anonymous said...

I love the turtle.

I have to say I agree with you on Midnight in Paris. It was not at all what I was led to believe, which was the movie of a book I had read, The Paris Wife, about Hemingway's first wife.

I also felt that the baseball movie with Jolie's fiance fell short of the mark as well.

littlereview said...

I didn't read the book, but I did my M.A. thesis on women editors of the Modernist era and couldn't say which I hated more, the extent to which women were marginalized in the film (except Gertrude Stein, but even she was mostly there as Woody Allen's fantasy-self's editor, not as a person in her own right) or the incredibly nasty portrayal of everyone in the protagonist's cardboard shallow life.

I am howling, however, that you call Brad Pitt "Jolie's fiance"! I still haven't seen Moneyball but I generally love baseball movies (Field of Dreams, The Natural, The Rookie, Major League, it's all good), and I usually like Pitt though I don't think he has great range, so I imagine I'll like it well enough.

Anonymous said...

You know, I love baseball and all the movies you mentioned as well. I even like Brad Pitt, but the movie just fell short for me. I might not have been paying attention. I took my boys to the Oakland and Angels games since we were Californians. Also the Giants, I forget them and the Dodgers. But anyway, it just fell short. The Paris Wife is not Midnight in Paris at might enjoy it.

littlereview said...

We are Orioles fans here (the Nats are growing on me but I'm more of an AL fan -- when we lived in Chicago we went to lots of White Sox games). My father grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, so the Giants and the Yankees are the enemies of civilization...