Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poem for Tuesday and National Aquarium

For the Union Dead
By Robert Lowell

"Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam."

The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.

Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.

My hand draws back. I often sigh still
for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom
of the fish and reptile. One morning last March,
I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized

fence on the Boston Common. Behind their cage,
yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting
as they cropped up tons of mush and grass
to gouge their underworld garage.

Parking spaces luxuriate like civic
sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders
braces the tingling Statehouse,

shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw
and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
on St. Gaudens' shaking Civil War relief,
propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.

Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man's lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die--
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.

On a thousand small town New England greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year--
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns . . .

Shaw's father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son's body was thrown
and lost with his "niggers."

The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here;
on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling

over a Mosler Safe, the "Rock of Ages"
that survived the blast. Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set,
the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.

Colonel Shaw
is riding on his bubble,
he waits
for the blessèd break.

The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.


We spent most of Memorial Day in Baltimore at the National Aquarium, where a baby dolphin was recently born -- we were hoping to get to see it but apparently the dolphin viewing tickets were snapped up early (they aren't doing a dolphin show while the mother and baby are bonding). It was nearly 100 degrees, and both the air conditioned aquarium and Baltimore itself were very crowded -- the latter because the University of Maryland was playing the University of Virginia in the NCAA lacrosse championship at the Ravens' stadium, which is very exciting for the region considering that Virginia was ranked 7th, Maryland wasn't ranked at all, yet they knocked out Duke, Denver, Syracuse, et al. Sadly, the Terps did not win, but it's nice they made the final practically as the home team.

As for the aquarium, we took Adam's friend whose house he slept over the night before, and we saw lots of fish and lizards and snakes and sharks and frogs and puffins and parrots and turtles...the mammals (sloth, tamarins, flying foxes) were all hiding, but we got to see divers both in the central salt water tank and feeding fish in the circular coral reef tank, and the various birds in the Australia and South American rainforest exhibits were quite active. We spent the evening watching The Book of Eli, which I liked better than I was expecting; it's extremely violent and the acting is a lot more subtle than the screenplay's choices, but I did enjoy the performances and as dystopias go it had some original details.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Poem for Monday and Virginia Renfaire

By Edith Södergran
Translated by Herbert Lomas

I want to let go --
so I don't give a damn about fine writing,
I'm rolling my sleeves up.
The dough's rising...
Oh what a shame
I can't bake cathedrals...
that sublimity of style
I've always yearned for...
Child of our time --
haven't you found the right shell for your soul?
Before I die I shall
bake a cathedral.


Poem given to me by Miss Morland. If you ever have poems you think I should post, please send them along!

My family spent a delightful warm Sunday at the Virginia Renaissance Faire with Dementordelta and Lin -- sadly not Annmarie this year since she's in Atlanta working, though I understand she went to the Georgia Renfaire so I don't have to feel sorry for her. We were excited to discover that the Virginia faire now has jousting! For the most part, it was just a couple of knights demonstrating the sword and lance, but one of the riders was a woman and it's nice to have horses at the faire!

This year at the Lake Anna Winery, in addition to the alpacas who provide wool for one of the needlework vendors, there were also sheep and goats at a petting zoo and a brief greyhound race by the dog rescue group, Her Majesty's Hounds. We also heard some music, saw some abridged Shakespeare by an Alan Rickman lookalike, ate vegetarian crepes and cheesecake on a stick -- the latter also a new, much-appreciated addition to the faire -- and drank a lot of water because we were getting a lot of sun.

At last there are equestrian feats again at the Virginia Renfaire!

Delta and I attempted to have our sins absolved by the Archbishop. He gave her a Get Out of Hell Free card but told me I was guilty of the sin of Envy.

Adam met a baby goat being walked on a leash by a nobleman. The goat attempted to eat his shoelaces.

We also met the Queen. She was being escorted by a nobleman we did not know since Dudley was not there, though Lettice Devereux was.

The Alan Rickman lookalike, Johnny Doggerel, was performing Richard II with a young boy as Richard, an older audience volunteer as Henry, and monkeys as many of the other characters.

AON, which performs "Kinda Celtic" music, is fronted by a lead singer and piper from Chile, which makes the Irish drinking songs doubly amusing. You haven't heard "Whiskey in the Jar" till you've heard it with a Latin American accent.

There were plenty of not-entirely-period-correct pirates and fairies, but that is half the fun.

And I got to meet an alpaca.

It was a fairly quiet evening -- Paul made peanut soup to celebrate having been at Mount Vernon the day before, then we watched the Memorial Day concert on PBS, though as usual the actors reading diaries and letters from soldiers were much more interesting than the music. I was pleased that Kris Allen changed the line in the awful "Proud To Be an American" from "the men who died for me" to "the ones who died for me" but the musical highlight was New Zealand-born Hayley Westenra singing Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Pie Jesu." Adam is sleeping at a friend's so it is quieter than usual!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Poem for Sunday and Mount Vernon Visit

Credible Information, 1999-2003
By Mark Pawlak

       June 19, 1999

At the wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones
Sir Geoffrey Shakerley, official photographer,
observed a "feeling of euphoria"
as he snapped pictures in Windsor Castle
after the ceremony at St. George's Chapel.

He did allow that one official photograph
of the bride and groom, the assembled
members of their families, and foreign royals,
had to be doctored, because Prince William,
son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, Princess of Wales,
and second in line to the throne,
did not look happy enough.

       January 1, 2000

The controversy over when the 20th century
ends and the 21st century actually begins
was stirred up when Arthur C. Clarke,
author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, took issue
last year with people who called the year 2000
the start of the 3rd millennium. "Though some people
have difficulty grasping this," he'd noted,
"we'll have had only 99 years of this century
by January 1, 2000."

A sixth-century Roman monk
is responsible for the confusion .
Dionysius Exiguus, also known as Dennis the Short,
created the calendar still in use in most of the Western world.
But because Romans did not have the concept of zero,
his calendar started with the year "One."

       September 13, 2001

Stung by suggestions that by delaying his return
to Washington on September 11th,
President Bush had hurt himself politically
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer
disclosed that Mr. Bush had argued
strenuously for his immediate return to the capital
--not once but twice: on the morning of the attacks
and again that afternoon--but, Mr.Fleischer said,
the Secret Service had vetoed the plan
as too dangerous.

       February 26, 2002

The Office of Strategic Influence was established after September 11th
to counter fears that the United States was losing public support
overseas for its war on terrorism, particularly in Islamic nations.
Its object was to use the foreign news media and the Internet
to tell the American side of the story. Plans for the office included
ways to "coerce" foreign journalists and opinion makers
and to "punish" those who convey the wrong message.
"A lot of the world does not like America,"
one senior official had said, "and it's going to take
years to change their hearts and minds."

       June 19, 1999

It was Prince Edward who thought
the image of his teenage nephew
needed alteration. "Prince Edward said
he didn't think Prince William looked
absolutely his best," the photographer explained,
"so we were able to digitally
put in another image of Prince William
from one of the other shots where he is
smiling and laughing."

       January 1, 2000

The millennium mistake is a symptom
of the "dumbing down" of society,
according to Science writer Jeff DeTray.
"Too many people have come to believe
that everything -- even a historical fact --
is a matter of opinion," he wrote.
"When children embrace the idea
that something is true if enough people believe it,
the incentive to pursue critical thinking,
education, and hard work begins to disappear."

But at the Center for Millennial Studies,
Stephen O'Leary disagreed: "I frankly think
that people who are self-appointed experts
in timekeeping and chronology and calendars
should shut the hell up
and let people have their party," he said.

       September 13, 2001

President Bush spent the day of September 11th
traveling a zigzag route:
first, from Sarasota, Florida
to Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana;
then from Shreveport
to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska;
finally, from Omaha to Washington, D.C.,
arriving back in the capitol at seven p.m., almost ten hours
after he had learned of the first attack.

       February 26, 2002

The Office of Strategic Influence has now been ordered
to cease operations. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
made the announcement one day after President Bush
expressed amazement "about reading
some allegation that somehow our government
would never tell the American people the truth."
The President told Mr. Rumsfeld he was concerned
that irreparable harm would be done
if our military was suspected of spreading
false information with journalists abroad.

       June 19, 1999

Sir Geoffrey's assistant, Robert Simpson,
corroborated that Prince William was in a
"jubilant mood" during the photo shoot,
but that just at the moment that picture was snapped,
he had looked away from the camera.

       January 1, 2000

The 24-hour Y2K festivities were barely over
when the countdown clock outside Philadelphia's City Hall
was restarted. In Chicago, the Millennium Celebration
begun in January 1999, runs through December 2001.
The city's events coordinator, Jamey Lundblad, said that Chicagoans
celebrated "in a huge way this New Year's Eve,
and we're going to be celebrating next New Year's Eve as well,
and all the way through the year 2001."

       September 13, 2001

President Bush was never "in hiding,"
asserted senior presidential advisor Karl Rove;
rather, he had delayed his return because of
"real and credible information"
that he was a target of the terrorists.
"We're talking about specific and chilling evidence,"
Mr. Rove said, "not vague suspicions."
Neither he nor press secretary Fleischer
offered reporters an explanation
why this was not made public earlier.

       February 26, 2002

Asked whether he thought the controversy
surrounding the Office of Strategic Influence
has harmed the military's credibility,
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld replied, ‘'I doubt it.
I hope not. If it has, we'll rebuild it.''
Rumsfeld added that the military will in the future
continue to use information to its advantage
but will stick with deceiving only its enemies on the battlefield,
not the international media.
‘'There's a lot of things that we have to do,
and we will do those things," he said.
"We'll just do them in a different office.''

       Coda, May 6, 2003

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer today acknowledged
that President Bush had traveled to the carrier Abraham Lincoln
in the Pacific Ocean last week
via a small Navy plane
because he wanted to experience a landing
the way carrier pilots do,
and not because the ship--
as had at first been maintained--
was too far out at sea
for him to arrive by helicopter.

The president and his top aides had made
no secret of Mr. Bush's excitement
at landing on a carrier at sea
in a small plane traveling at 150 miles per hour
and being brought to a halt by an arresting cable.
The decision to fly in the S3B Viking jet rather than a helicopter
was made by Mr. Bush himself. "The president wanted to land on it
in an aircraft that would allow him to see an aircraft landing
the same way that the pilots see an aircraft landing," Fleischer said.
"He wanted to see it as realistically as possible."

The White House spokesman denied
the accusations of Democratic opponents
that the President's decision to make a "Top Gun"-style entrance--
emerging from the four-seat jet, dubbed Navy One,
in a full flight-suit with a helmet under his arm--
was in any way intended to turn the Abraham Lincoln, its crew
and fighter pilots returning home victorious from the Iraq war
into a prop for the President's re-election campaign.

                  For Gary Trudeau


Saturday was my father's birthday, so after what should have been a quiet morning during which we let both kids sleep (Daniel is still recovering from breaking his arm, Adam is getting over a cold, but our neighbor had workmen at her house shouting and hammering at 7:30 a.m.), we spent most of the day with my parents. We went to Mount Vernon, driving and arriving in a thunderstorm but ending up with very nice weather for most of the afternoon, which allowed us to see the upper farm and gardens as well as the grave site and most of the work buildings around the house tour (the quick version today since they were expecting crowds for the holiday weekend). There was a large high school group where all the kids and chaperones were dressed in period costume and many were playing historic games and instruments, so I took photos of them, since it was a bit like being at a Colonial fair:

Visiting students enjoy a warm afternoon near the house at Mount Vernon.

Many of them were playing games and doing needlework...

...while a few were performing on instruments and singing.

We also got a few glimpses of Martha Washington, who is usually visible around Mount Vernon...

...and the blacksmith, who was giving a demonstration in the recently completed smithy.

I suspect this squirrel is a resident rather than a visitor but I also suspect he wasn't supposed to be in the chicken feed. (More animal photos in a couple of days, of course I took a bunch.)

Parts of the house are currently under repair, including the top floor.

Here are my parents and kids on the back porch, which has gorgeous views over the lawn to the Potomac River and Fort Washington on the other side.

We had ice cream in the cafeteria, then came home so Adam could walk the neighbor's dogs and Daniel could rest after getting more exercise than he got since he was injured. Then we had pizza with my parents and Paul made strawberry shortcake with the berries we picked last weekend (it's one of my father's favorites). Since all our TV shows seem to be on hiatus for the long weekend -- BBC America isn't showing Doctor Who and Camelot doesn't appear to be on Starz -- we watched more Monty Python in the evening, because who can resist "The British Showbiz Awards" and "The Golden Age of Ballooning"? Crazy George III is the perfect way to end an afternoon at Mount Vernon.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Poem for Saturday, Sheep and Wool, Infinite Vulcan

Near Misses
By Laura Kasischke

The truck that swerved to miss the stroller in which I slept.

My mother turning from the laundry basket just in time to see me open the third-story window to call to the cat.

In the car, on ice, something spinning and made of history snatched me back from the guardrail and set me down between two gentle trees. And that time I thought to look both ways on the one-way street.

And when the doorbell rang, and I didn’t answer, and just before I slipped one night into a drunken dream, I remembered to blow out the candle burning on the table beside me.

It's a miracle, I tell you, this middle-aged woman scanning the cans on the grocery store shelf. Hidden in the works of a mysterious clock are her many deaths, and yet the whole world is piled up before her on a banquet table again today. The timer, broken. The sunset smeared across the horizon in the girlish cursive of the ocean, Forever, For You.

And still she can offer only her body as proof:

The way it moves a little slower every day. And the cells, ticking away. A crow pecking at a sweater. The last hour waiting patiently on a tray for her somewhere in the future. The spoon slipping quietly into the beautiful soup.


It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday (sorry, it is Adam's fault that I said that). Mine was uneventful. Daniel did not sleep as late as he did on Thursday, but we had a quiet morning of bagels and internet work -- he was researching computers, I was writing a review of "The Infinite Vulcan". In the afternoon, at his request, we watched Airplane II: The Sequel, which has so many wonderful moments even if it's not quite as funny as the first one: Shatner's pep talk, the 2001 parodies, "The Earth cooled, and then the dinosaurs came..."

We had dinner with my parents -- Greek food, which was great, and it's my father's birthday on Saturday so there was cake too. At home Daniel wanted to watch Monty Python, so we had on the Elizabethan Pornography Smugglers episode in which Philip Sidney catches his wife reading Gay Boys in Bondage and says how lucky they are to have such a poet on these shores when she claims it's by Shakespeare and is about man's love for his fellow men. We also had a huge thunderstorm that knocked branches down all over our neighborhood -- we had to drive home the long way around because half a tree was across the road -- but our power stayed on, so I am not complaining.

The Friday Five: Cooking Ingredients
1. What is your favorite condiment?
2. What is your favorite spice? Dill.
3. What is your favorite cooking oil? (Canola oil, sesame oil, butter, etc.) Depends on the other ingredients.
4. What is your favorite starchy food? (Bread, rice, potatoes, noodles, etc.) I've never met a starch I didn't like.
5. What is your favorite flavor for candy? There are flavors other than chocolate?

Fannish5: Five unfortunate uses of pregnancy as a plot device.
I reserve the right to move Doctor Who to the top of this list at any time.
1. Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
2. Deanna Troi in "The Child" (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
3. Gabrielle in "Gabrielle's Hope" (Xena: Warrior Princess)
4. Martha Kent in "Exodus" (Smallville)
5. Quinn Fabray in "Preggers" (Glee)

Here are a few last photos from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, including some of the craftspeople and Maggie Sansone performing on hammered dulcimer with other local musicians:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Poem for Friday, Farm Cuteness, Pirate Radio

Emmett Till's Glass-Top Casket
By Cornelius Eady

        By the time they cracked me open again, topside, abandoned in a toolshed, I had become another kind of nest. Not many people connect possums with Chicago,

        but this is where the city ends, after all, and I float still, after the footfalls fade and the roots bloom around us. The fact was, everything that worked for my young man

        worked for my new tenants. The fact was, he had been gone for years. They lifted him from my embrace, and I was empty, ready. That’s how the possums found me, friend,

        dry-docked, a tattered mercy hull. Once I held a boy who didn’t look like a boy. When they finally remembered, they peeked through my clear top. Then their wild surprise.


I stayed home on Thursday with Daniel, who slept till 11:30. I thought this might be because his arm was bothering him, but apparently he was just recovering from senior year. We had bagels and I folded laundry and we watched Pirate Radio, which, apart from some appalling sexism, was enormously enjoyable -- great cast (Bill Nighy, Jack Davenport, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, and a bunch of girls from St Trinians), entertaining relationships, Titanic references, idiot public officials, and one of the best soundtracks ever. Then we half-watched Salt since we wanted to record it while it was free; I wasn't paying careful enough attention to judge it fairly, but I get the impression that Angelina was good, the chase scenes were exciting, and the plot was pretty silly.

The van was in being serviced, so we all went out to dinner at the mall before going to pick it up. While we were there, we looked at the iPhone and Droid Incredible 2; Daniel needs a better phone than his current basic Virgin Mobile model when he goes to college, Adam would like a phone on which he can play Angry Birds and Tiny Wings, I want a phone that doesn't drop the signal in my house all summer long when the trees have leaves on them (a T-Mobile issue) and doesn't drop the letters E and W yet has a decent word processor, a much better camera, and preferably a browser that can run Flash. No decisions have been made either about phones or where to get them (Best Buy has some nice warranty options) but I think we're leaning toward Verizon as a carrier. Will catch up on correspondence tomorrow. Here are a few more Homestead Farms photos:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Poem for Thursday and Broken Arm

Ash Ode
By Dean Young

When I saw you ahead I ran two blocks
shouting your name then realizing it wasn’t
you but some alarmed pretender, I went on
running, shouting now into the sky,
continuing your fame and luster. Since I've
been incinerated, I've oft returned to this thought,
that all things loved are pursued and never caught,
even as you slept beside me you were flying off.
At least what's never had can’t be lost, the sieve
of self stuck with just some larger chunks, jawbone,
wedding ring, a single repeated dream,
a lullaby in every elegy, descriptions
of the sea written in the desert, your broken
umbrella, me claiming I could fix it.


Today was Daniel's last official day of high school -- he still has a graduation rehearsal, the senior picnic, and graduation itself, but today was the final day of classes and exams. This is, needless to say, a somewhat traumatic moment for me, since I just graduated from high school myself a few short years ago. I remember vividly when Daniel was a very small boy, the first time we saw a clip from Toy Story -- he must have been two or three. There was a Disney Store in our local mall then with a big flat-screen on which they showed previews and scenes from upcoming Disney movies all day long, and they showed the scene in which Buzz Lightyear, having discovered that he is not an action hero but only an action figure, tries to fly and ends up crashing and his arm falls off. I was afraid my little boy was going to be traumatized by this, but he only announced, "Broken!" (which in those days was pronounced "Boken!") and, for several hours afterward, kept repeating at odd moments, "They need to fix that man's arm." Apparently he always had complete confidence that they could do so.

Well, I just spent Daniel's last day of high school getting his arm fixed. His Origins of Science teacher challenged his math teacher from last year to a kickball game, and recruited students who didn't have an exam that period to play, and the field was muddy and Daniel slipped and put out his hand to break the fall and shortly afterward I got a call from the health room nurse, telling me that my son really needed to have an x-ray but he was refusing to go home until he'd taken his last test, so he wouldn't have to be the only senior in a school full of freshmen through juniors in two days. Since we live half an hour from the school, there wasn't a lot I could do to stop him; at least he hadn't injured the hand he writes with, and he had an A in the class, and the exam didn't count for a big part of the grade, and I was hoping that the fact that he felt well enough to go take a test and pick up his yearbook meant that it was only a sprain. So he took the test, and I went to pick him up, and we went to his pediatrician who said that she could get us into an orthopedist instead of making us deal with the hospital after she took a look. She took off the Ace bandage and it was immediately obvious even to me that there was a bone sticking out at an angle bones aren't supposed to stick out.

So off we went to the orthopedist, whose office is thankfully a five-minute drive from the pediatrician, and who got him in the back for an x-ray less than fifteen minutes after we arrived even though they'd sandwiched us in as a last-minute emergency. The break was actually not in a bone in the wrist but near the bottom of the radius (the long bone in the arm) and the doctor said Daniel must still be growing because the fracture went across the growth plate; he told me a Salter-Harris designation but I don't remember. They used one of those casts made of soft material that wraps around wet and then hardens, so son got to pick the color -- I told him to get red so it will match his graduation robes, since the boys at his school wear red and the girls wear white. He goes back in two weeks for an x-ray to see how the bone is mending, but he will still have a cast on for graduation the second week in June -- the first one he's ever had, after a childhood without a single broken bone. :(

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Poem for Wednesday, Cat and Smelly Shoe, Stinky Glee

And For No Reason
By Hafiz
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

For no reason
I start skipping like a child.

For no reason
I turn into a leaf
That is carried so high
I kiss the Sun's mouth
And dissolve.

For no reason
A thousand birds
Choose my head for a conference table,
Start passing their
Cups of wine
And their wild songbooks all around.

For every reason in existence
I begin to eternally,
To eternally laugh and love!

When I turn into a leaf
And start dancing,
I run to kiss our beautiful Friend
And I dissolve in the Truth
That I Am.


Daniel did not have to go to school on Tuesday, having only one remaining final on Wednesday before he's off till the graduation rehearsal the second week in June. So I let him sleep till eleven, then ordered him up so we could go to Bagel City and get lunch for today and breakfast for tomorrow. Bagel City failed quite a bit -- we were helped by someone who literally did not understand a word of English, who took forever to get the bagels we were planning to take home and who gave us two containers of walnut raisin cream cheese instead of one of that and one of lox spread for Daniel -- but we did manage to get enough for lunch, then we spent a quiet couple of hours before Adam came home and I took him to tennis. It was a hot day, mid-80s, but it was tolerably cool and damp in Cabin John Park, and I walked for the entire hour Adam was playing.

We watched a fabulous episode of Wild Australasia on public television, "New Worlds," about how the wildlife of Australia has survived people encroaching on their land -- parts very sad, like displaced koalas and extinct rodents, but parts utterly adorable, like kangaroos living happily on golf courses and flying foxes taking over a Melbourne botanic garden. Then we watched the season finale of Glee, which not only had truly atrocious original songs that made Britney Spears' new album sound intellectual but even managed to make New York seem boring and cliched...the only moment that really made me smile besides Kurt singing from Wicked was the giant Daniel Radcliffe poster in the background. Now we are back on public television watching Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain, which is fascinating even though I already knew quite a bit of the history...though how did I not know that Maimonides was born in Spain?

Since LiveJournal's Scrapbook was down all day, I have only just been able to access the photos that I have saved there. So rather than rushing to get more Homestead Farm photos posted, here is a photo of Rosie after we got back from the farm, when Adam's shoes smelled like goat and sheep and strawberry and all sorts of other things surely of great excitement to cats:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Poem for Tuesday, May Farm, Chicago Code

In My Craft or Sullen Art
By Dylan Thomas

In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.


It took me all morning to do a few minor chores and get laundries in, and I'm not sure where the afternoon went. Daniel came home and announced that he had taken his Tuesday math test on Monday so he doesn't have to go to school tomorrow. Adam and I spent half an hour trying to capture a cicada killer wasp which had somehow gotten into the house and was buzzing furiously against the front window (those things are two inches long and buzz like lawnmowers -- I've heard that they don't sting but I did NOT want to find out that was incorrect).

After dinner we all watched the final episode of The Chicago Code, a show we all really enjoyed and thought was very well acted -- I am sorry to see it leaving broadcast and pleased that the writers wrapped up the major storylines of the short season (and I hope Jason Clarke is back on TV soon). Then we watched the Memorial Day episode of Sanctuary, which was crack -- Evil Abnormal Nazi weapons, Hitler doubles -- but Amanda Tapping in a beret and the return of Peter Wingfield make up for a lot. Here are some more photos from Homestead Farm on Sunday: