Monday, July 17, 2006

Poem for Monday

Epitaph on a Hare
By William Cowper

Here lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue,
Nor swiftewd greyhound follow,
Whose foot ne'er tainted morning dew,
Nor ear heard huntsman's hallo',

Old Tiney, surliest of his kind,
Who, nurs'd with tender care,
And to domestic bounds confin'd,
Was still a wild Jack-hare.

Though duly from my hand he took
His pittance ev'ry night,
He did it with a jealous look,
And, when he could, would bite.

His diet was of wheaten bread,
And milk, and oats, and straw,
Thistles, or lettuces instead,
With sand to scour his maw.

On twigs of hawthorn he regal'd,
On pippins' russet peel;
And, when his juicy salads fail'd,
Slic'd carrot pleas'd him well.

A Turkey carpet was his lawn,
Whereon he lov'd to bound,
To skip and gambol like a fawn,
And swing his rump around.

His frisking wa at evening hours,
For then he lost his fear;
But most before approaching show'rs,
Or when a storm drew near.

Eight years and five round rolling moons
He thus saw steal away,
Dozing out all his idle noons,
And ev'ry night at play.

I kept him for his humour's sake,
For he would oft beguile
My heart of thoughts that made it ache,
And force me to a smile.

But now, beneath this walnut-shade
He finds his long, last home,
And waits inn snug concealment laid,
‘Till gentler puss shall come.

He, still more aged, feels the shocks
From which no care can save,
And, partner once of Tiney's box,
Must soon partake his grave.


Another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "The 18th-century Englishman William Cowper (1731-1800) closely observes the psychology and behavior of his pet rabbits," he writes. "Cowper's 'Epitaph on a Hare' includes these memorable lines on a loved, though less than perfectly lovable, the elegiac conclusion, Cowper reflects on his motives for keeping a pet and, by implication, on his own mortality. Cowper, a tormented man best known for his 'Lines Written During a Period of Insanity,' in this droll, sensitive account of Tiney and gentler Puss tells something about himself."

Sorry I'm late -- after a week at the beach with careful sun protection, I went to an outdoor concert yesterday in the late afternoon and apparently gave myself sunstroke. I had a murderous headache last night that would not respond to the migraine medicine that has never failed me and it took more drugs than were probably safe for me to take at once just to stop the nausea enough that I could fall asleep. The concert itself was very nice -- Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra played pretty much the same set they had played at the Washington Folk Festival, Steve Winick even came and sang in French with them, so although it was nearly a hundred degrees even in the partial shade where I was sitting (foolishly assuming that tree would prevent my arms from getting sunburned) it was fun to be at McLean Community Park, where we had previously seen just Lisa (ahaha, two years ago and I was babbling about Jason Isaacs in that entry too).

Fortunately the blinding pain didn't hit full-force until after the pilot and second episode of Brotherhood, which is definitely going to be my new guilty pleasure. I have probably noted before that I hate stories about mobsters -- it isn't that I expect people to be paragons, but organized crime holds no interest for me and as excited as I was to hear that Jason Isaacs would be starring on a Showtime series, my excitement immediately went down quite a bit after I heard he was playing an underworld criminal, which is why I haven't really babbled in excitement about the series. I had even sworn at one point that I was never seeing another movie about the mob but then came the year when the main Oscar contenders were Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump, and I just could not root for the latter.

So even though I have never seen an episode of The Sopranos and I've only sat through Viggo Mortensen's mobster films because they had Viggo Mortensen, I did watch Brotherhood. And I totally loved it. The staggeringly high sibling-slash factor even in Showtime's previews, which can all be watched on Showtime's web site (and they have podcasts here including an interview with Isaacs), includes this gem from Jason Clarke on his character: "I'm married to a lot of things. I'm married to my career. I'm married to my wife. I'm married to my brother. You know, good, bad, hell or high water, we're married to each other." There's also a clip where his character's wife, played by Annabeth Gish who is wonderful as always, says to him in bed, "You know, you're allowed to hate him," and he's all sulky and brooding and says, "I don't." Guh.

Anyway, if Jason Isaacs weren't in this I probably would not have watched the second episode -- it's quite violent and pretty nasty and goes out of its way to focus on all the characters' flaws and very little on their good points -- I expected shades of gray in good politician brother Tommy but he's basically the same as bad brother Michael, corrupt and selfish in very similar ways and much more high-and-mighty about his motives, while Eileen spends the first two episodes being miserable, falling apart and faking smiles, so that it's really hard to tell what would make her happy. The mother, Rose, is clearly pulling everyone's strings, which I like, and I am counting on her to keep my boys from getting killed (this seems like the kind of show where they're more likely to kill off the good brother than the bad one anyway!) So yeah, I'm happy, though overall on cable I'm not sure the gratuitous penises make up for the cutting off of ears and stuff.

Ocean Orchestra in the gazebo at McLean Community Park.

Trying to figure out what chores need to be done today since the van must go in for service tomorrow and we probably will have to replace the tire we got patched later in the week, too. The TrekToday site owner is not around and everything I posted yesterday created a headline without actually showing up on the site...I don't know what I am supposed to do about this! Can't really bear to talk about politics but maybe we should try this to drive Osama Bin Laden out of hiding. Also, for anyone else who's a fan of Kris Waldherr's art or Tarot work, she has revamped the Goddess Site.

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