Monday, September 30, 2013

Poem for Monday and Mediaeval Baebes at MDRF

What Is an Epigram?
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

What is an Epigram? A dwarfish whole,
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.


Paul and I spent nearly all of Sunday at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, having planned to come this weekend to see the Mediaeval Baebes while they were at the faire. We went to all three of their sets, which were gorgeous, plus we saw Deborah Rose twice since she was alternating on the stage with them and we were saving our seats; her music is more generic Celtic, more Chloe Agnew than Loreena McKennitt (being snarky about the length of the latter's "Lady of Shalott" was probably not wise with this crowd), but her voice is very pretty and she had great accompanists.

Our other reasons for going this weekend were that Barely Balanced was there, which they weren't several weeks ago -- they have several new juggling and hula hoop stunts and their acrobatics are always amazing, though their jokes about how Cameron can't get a date even though he's now engaged to Margret haven't changed. We also went to see Shakespeare's Skum since we ran out of time for them a few weeks ago (tag-team Romeo and Juliet -- small children in front of us pretending to get the dirty jokes), and we met King Henry and Queen Katherine briefly too.

The faire was the most crowded that I have ever seen it, particularly the first two Baebes sets though pretty much every show looked to be standing room only, and I did not eat a ridiculous amount apart from the chocolate-covered cheesecake. So when we got home, we got pizza for ourselves and Adam who had spent all afternoon studying and doing homework. Then we watched the season premiere of Once Upon a Time, which was okay (I like Evil so much better than Good here). Let's not talk about the Ravens game, since we missed it anyway; hey, the Redskins won!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Poem for Sunday and Seneca Creek State Park

Baudelaire in Airports
By Amy King

Will my arm be enough to reach you?
On whose side is indecision?
You are the mother of material travel,
even in the form of a shoeless child.
It is difficult to place time--especially here.
You aren't now, and you don't come here.
The other sameness, an other of the same
in the window before take off.
So she learned past such things the echo.
With the same eye from windows one watches
a person with umbrella, sleek and pointed,
seek sky from its wet roof. As if the bitter low
would be a woman with whiskers,
her eyes desperate, street-view, alone.
How does this view of everything arc the moon?
If a mosquito lands, what happens to the one who flew?
She gives over to the site of red,
another selfless pooling. A hungry pond.
The painting of the person also wears mobile eggs,
and the woman returns to wheat fields
to drink goat's milk for her meal and bath.
That the body harbors more than combination,
that we are more than alchemy's process,
that they are agents and actors incognito,
is visible only to those strolling on avenues on lost
streets Parisian, no longer able to be found.


Saturday was as gorgeous as most of the rest of the week, so after Adam got back from cross country practice and we took him to the bank and post office for college application-related mailings, we decided to go hike at Seneca Creek State Park for a while. The turtles in the lake already seem to be in hiding, as do the frogs, though we saw lots of crickets and birds and evidence that deer and beavers had been around. Here are some squirrels, crows, caterpillars, and what I think may be a juvenile turkey vulture:

Adam had a lot of homework and SAT prep to do in the evening, so we had toad-in-a-hole and then a quiet evening, watching what college football there was (Maryland doesn't play this weekend), then The White Queen, which is making it really hard to root for anyone except maybe Anne whose frequent anger seems the most justified and the least obnoxious. I try to feel sorry for Margaret, but I'm so sure she's going to kill the princes in the tower that I can't. What a twist it would be in this version if it was Richard after all!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Poem for Saturday, Canal, Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Pavilion of Leaves
By Matthew Rohrer

Central Park in a
pavilion of leaves
with extra sauce
for midday
is only a snack
and a photograph
of cold cherries
like a young woman's
legs softly peeling
after burning
a pennywhistle
in the distance
with the piping children's
voices which are
distant peace
in a breeze
two white butterflies
trying so hard


It was a pretty quiet Friday around here. I spent the morning writing a review of Deep Space Nine's atrocious "Let He Who Is Without Sin...", which I had to watch early since I got home too late to do it Thursday night. Adam had a half-day of school for some teachers' meeting but had cross country practice, so I took a walk early (too early for bunnies though many chipmunks were running around), then drove Adam to the boys' cross country team poker game at one of the kids' houses.

While he was playing poker and eating pizza, we had dinner with my parents, then went to pick Adam up though he asked us to come late because one of his friends was doing well and didn't want to have to forfeit the chance to win it all. We came home and caught up on the Nashville we missed to watch the season finale of Broadchurch (which was decent but not great), then the first episode of Endeavour which we had never seen (pretty great). Some pictures from the C&O Canal and Potomac River early last month:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Poem for Friday and Family Birthday

Sweet and Low, Sweet and Low
By Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
   Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
   Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
   Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
   Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother's breast,
   Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
   Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.


Quickie because we got home late from visiting Daniel, along with both sets of grandparents, to celebrate his birthday -- the big 20. It was not an eventful day for me otherwise, anyway; some work, quick trip to the mall to return earrings from yesterday, CVS to get laundry filters while the coupon was still good, then early walk and shower to get to College Park when Adam got home from cross country practice.

We met Paul's parents at Daniel's apartment and went to Mamma Lucia, having concluded that it was the easiest place for all of us to eat (some vegetarian, some dietary-restricted, no Barilla) -- I had pumpkin ravioli, it was delicious. Then we went back to his apartment for the two cookie cakes (one by Paul>, one bought by my mom). Now we have all met all four of the suite-mates! And we made it home in time for most of Elementary.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Poem for Thursday, Squirrel, Broadchurch

We Have Found a New Land
By Kofi Awoonor

The smart professionals in three piece
Sweating away their humanity in dribblets
And wiping the blood from their brow
We have found a new land
This side of eternity
Where our blackness does not matter
And our songs are dying on our lips.
Standing at hell-gate you those who seek admission
Still the familiar faces that watched and gave you up
As the one who had let the side down,
“Come on, old boy, you cannot dress like that”
And tears well in my eyes for them
Those who want to be seen in the best company
Have abjured the magic of being themselves
And In the new land we have found
The water is drying from the towel
Our songs are dead and we sell then dead to the other side
Reaching for the Stars we stop at the house of the Moon
And pause to relearn the wisdom of our fathers.


Poet Awoonr was murdered in the attack on the mall in Nairobi, Kenya on September 21. Here are his Collected Poems. We are having a very gorgeous first week of fall. The temperatures were cool overnight but in the low 70s all day and we had lots of squirrels and chipmunks visiting the deck to try to hoard seeds from our bird feeder -- see below. I stopped at the mall to grab Bath & Body Works candles on sale (they have owl candle holders) and wound up meeting my mother and sharing a samosa at the newly reopened Indian place in the food court (yay!). I also got cheap owl earrings at Claire's, but they broke as I was trying to take them off the display plastic, so they are getting returned as soon as I can get back to the mall.

I had a big TV dilemma on Wednesday night, which pretty much never happens because we don't watch that many shows: I had to decide whether to watch the season premiere of Nashville, which someone on Facebook will undoubtedly have spoiled for me by morning, or the season finale of Broadchurch, which the Brits I know have been wonderful about not spoiling thus far. Broadchurch won out, even though I knew it would be upsetting, and it was, though I'd made someone assure me from the very beginning that the killer was not one of the parents. I thought the show was terrific but it is reminding me why I don't usually watch shows like that even for David Tennant and Olivia Colman.

Happy Birthday Daniel!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Poem for Wednesday and Wings of Fancy

When I Buy Pictures
By Marianne Moore

or what is closer to the truth,
when I look at that of which I may regard myself as the imaginary possessor,
I fix upon what would give me pleasure in my average moments:
the satire upon curiousity in which no more is discernible
than the intensity of the mood;
or quite the opposite—the old thing, the medieval decorated hat-box,
in which there are hounds with waists diminishing like the waist of the hour-glass,
and deer and birds and seated people;
it may be no more than a square of parquetry; the literal biography perhaps,
in letters standing well apart upon a parchment-like expanse;
an artichoke in six varieties of blue; the snipe-legged hieroglyphic in three parts;
the silver fence protecting Adam's grave, or Michael taking Adam by the wrist.
Too stern an intellectual emphasis upon this quality or that detracts from one's enjoyment.
It must not wish to disarm anything; nor may the approved triumph easily be honored—
that which is great because something else is small.
It comes to this: of whatever sort it is,
it must be "lit with piercing glances into the life of things";
it must acknowledge the spiritual forces which have made it.


Our temperature dropped into the 40s on Monday night and the Tuesday weather was magnificent -- I even saw two bunnies after several days during which I wondered where they were hiding. The cats sat hopefully on the vents but eventually figured out that the heat was not coming on and came to pester me instead (apparently eating at 10:30 a.m. compensates for being cold). I have nothing important to report -- got some work done, waited for son to get back from a cross country meet in Poolesville for which he got to leave school early (he was happy with his time but said the team as a whole did not do so well -- still, it can't be as depressing as the Nationals or Orioles, both of whom are now mathematically eliminated from postseason play after playing so poorly the past two days that it's no wonder).

We watched the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which was...fine? I wish I had stronger feelings about it than that, either from a character or plot standpoint. Except for the big long-term secret they teased, it all seemed kind of predictable right down to the Character Tropes. Sure, it's nice to see a more diverse group of people than in a lot of superhero stuff and sure, it's good to see certain actors again, but Sleepy Hollow grabbed me a lot more quickly with its pilot. Afterward we watched Hitchcock, which had great acting and a pretty humorous script -- I liked it much better than The Girl -- but Hitchcock himself continues to come across as such a monumental jerk that I've long since stopped caring about his process. Some Wings of Fancy from this summer:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Poem for Tuesday and Summertime Falls

The Flagstad Recording
By Geoffrey G. O'Brien

Control has been candied and exchanged
So many times it feels like the night
Of the day, a troubled ride through
A beginning whose motor announces
It's still the mild guardian
Of a human bird we don't yet hear.
She needs no protection nor exists
Except as a set of performances,
Notes mistaken for an identity
In sequence, much as we take quiet
Sounds to be an index of their distance
From the only place that matters.
This is not description but paraphrase
The voice does as contradictions,
New but old, certainly uncertain
About the decision to wear white
Though it's long after Labor Day.
In fact it's that other day in September
Never fully over inside the strings,
And this isn't time, more like the world
Premiere of an anticipation
Of an accompaniment that isn't
Paraphrase so much as the last
Chance at exhausted debut.


The post-equinox weather here was magnificent all day Monday -- not too warm, dry, with lots of squirrels and chipmunks running across the deck all day driving the cats crazy. (I have not seen the bunnies at all in a couple of days; I hope they are working on their winter nests and nothing bad has befallen them, given that our neighborhood is having issues with people refusing to obey the county law that requires cats be kept indoors unless leashed or on farms.) I got a little work done but I still feel slow and sluggish -- am hoping that's because I went completely Dayquil-free today and tomorrow the cough will be gone on its own. The Nationals and Orioles both lost very important games.

Not much else happened; I washed and folded laundry, took a walk and was briefly chased by a hummingbird, watched the second episode of Sleepy Hollow (which I am loving, particularly the two leads) and the first episode of The Blacklist (which gets one more week to impress me, but despite Spader, if it stays this violent and keeps reminding me so much of 24, I may not stick with it for long -- am trying to predict whether the Big Cliche will most likely be that he is her father or he killed her father and is making amends). Monday Night Football isn't over but looks like the Broncos will win easily. Some photos of Great Falls from July (it's a summer reruns week due to me being sick):