Saturday, July 01, 2006

Poem for Saturday

Sa nuit d'ete (This Night of Summer)
By Ranier Maria Rilke
Translated by Byron Adams

Si je pourrais avec mes mains brûlantes
fondre ton corps autour ton coeur d'amante,
ah que la nuit deviendrait transparente
le prenant pour un astre attardé
qui toujours dès le premier temps des mondes
était perdu et qui commence sa ronde
en tâtonnant de sa lumière blonde
sa première nuit, sa nuit, sa nuit d'été.

If, with my burning hands, I could melt
the body surrounding your lover's heart,
ah! how the night would become translucent,
taking it for a late star,
which, from the first moments of the world,
was forever lost, and which begins its course
with its blonde light, trying to reach out towards
its first night, its night, its summer night.


One last poem from from the trio she is singing with her choral group!

Friday morning we drove from Nashville to Knoxville, losing an hour in the process. We therefore had to wake up very early to get to the Nashville Zoo in time for the penguin feeding and meet-the-keepers. Knoxville has African penguins -- seven on display and several more not out in public, including the oldest penguin in captivity at 42 years. There is also a lion cub no longer with its mother because it wasn't nursing sufficiently, so it's in the mole rat exhibit in a cubbyhole with stuffed animals and blankies, a very active tree sloth that was climbing all around the bars of its cage and a trio of squawking macaws that could be heard as far away as the zebras.

We had a picnic at the zoo and then drove through the Great Smoky Mountains into North Carolina, stopping to take photos at a welcome center. Then we went to Asheville, where we visited the Basilica of St. Lawrence, a 1909 Catholic church with a magnificently decorated altar and pulpit, the life of Christ in stained glass in a circle around the sanctuary, and the largest freestanding elliptical dome in North America. (I love beautiful old churches of any denomination.) Then we met for dinner, and she pleased the kids immensely by directing us to a Chinese buffet, one of their favorite things. I hadn't seen her in at least a couple of years so it was great to be at the same table! After dinner we came to the hotel to swim and discovered first Whose Line Is It Anyway on ABC Family and then Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Pegasus" on G4, so of course we had to watch!

The lion cub and his blankie in his new indoor residence at the Knoxville Zoo, since he was not nursing successfully and was losing weight with his mother.

Singing spoonbills in the waterfowl exhibit.

One final penguin photo for the trip -- a mated pair and their reflections (all my photos from this zoo had glare from the glass, sorry!)

A bridge at the visitor center in North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains.

St. Lawrence Basilica in Asheville.

The altar of the basilica, with a bas-relief Last Supper between the Alpha and Omega in the front.

The semicircle windows depict the life of Christ all around the sanctuary, with several larger ones and statues set into the walls.

The church and gardens from the rear.

Saturday is my 16th wedding anniversary. We are visiting Asheville's Biltmore Estate -- having skipped the Breakers Mansion when we were in New England, we figure we should visit at least one Vanderbilt mansion! Then we are driving through Raleigh to Jacksonville so we can be in Beaufort on Sunday.

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