By Glenn Shea
I love to imagine London fallen quiet,
silent really, just past the toll of twelve;
walking past the white bulk of St. Paul's
or by the steps of Paternoster Square;
not in the panicked silences of nights
of the Blitz but merely unpeopled streets,
London asleep, lit bright by the moon,
quiet as the pond and woods behind our house.
I stroll down Fleet Street in my dreaming
to peer in the dark alleys and entries
that lead to the Inns of Court; a stray dog
may stroll by but of even the police
I hear no more than their echoing talk.
Up the curl of Goodge Street I lay my
hand flat in affection on the stout black
door of Johnson's house, and as in my
night the church is lit, I enter
the sadness of St. Dunstan's, its
silences like the streets outside. In
the short night of a poem I reach
Trafalgar Square, still lit, like an
etching, by the moon, unpeopled yet
even by lovers; then pale dawn edges up
and people appear, morning-eyed, stepping
from their dreams to speech, and like
them I take coffee in the crypt below
St. Martin's. I watch them, the creatures
of a city I have dreamed, the flowering
of an ache to be at home and there,
and they vanish up the bustle of
Charing Cross or past the fruit market
at Villiers Street, they vanish as I start
awake to other thoughts, or fall past
them in the peace of dreaming.
Poem via link from Venturous1.
I stayed home Wednesday with Adam, who is still recuperating from having his wisdom teeth removed, though he felt much better this morning and spent much of the day visiting with his best friend and his girlfriend, both of whom came over. While they and Daniel were playing video games, I folded laundry and watched what is surely the worst revisionist history film of the modern era, Roland Emmerich's Anonymous, which has the single virtue of being so terrible that even if you went in believing that the Earl of Oxford might have written Shakespeare's plays, you would probably walk out believing that Oxfordians are so ludicrous that it makes more sense just to accept that the Stratfordians might be right after all.
Spoilers: On top of being utterly preposterous if you know anything about history and/or Shakespeare -- Marlowe is still alive when Essex sails for Ireland, Macbeth is written before Hamlet and before James I is on the throne, even though it strengthens the Stuart claim to the throne, which is the opposite of what the Earl of Oxford wants to do -- the women are all shrikes and pawns, even Elizabeth I, who is also the precise opposite of a Virgin Queen. Shakespeare, the pawn who claims ownership in de Vere's place, is the only really likeable character -- he's a cheerful sleaze who drinks too much but otherwise treats people better than any of the detestable aristocrats (even David Thewlis as a scheming William Cecil). Both Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson are screechingly over the top and Rhys Ifans wears the same expression for pretty much the whole film.
I saw the mother deer with two baby fawns again while I was walking in the woods, and the baby bunny on our neighbor's lawn, but it was too hot even for most of the chipmunks. Adam's friend stayed for dinner, then we watched this week's Dallas, which is continuing to amuse me, and the new Futurama, which had us laughing during the sex ed episode but we were completely distracted during the end of the world episode because Paul's parents called to tell us that his Aunt Sandra, who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and had just begun treatment, died unexpectedly earlier in the day. I only met her twice, but she was not very old -- early 60s -- so this is upsetting for everyone in the family.
Here are some more photos from the C&O Canal towpath last weekend:
Old lock mechanism
Great blue heron
Baby snapping turtles