Friday, March 31, 2023

Poem for Friday and Washington Monument in Blossoms

Sakura, Sakura
By Yosa Buson
Translated by David G. Lanoue

Sakura, sakura
they fall in the dreams
of sleeping beauty


Thursday, while our basement was being repainted, I was sorting everything around my desk -- which is an insane amount of stuff. I had lots that needed to be boxed and more that needed to be donated or listed on Freecycle and Buy Nothing, so I actually saw several neighbors who came to pick things up. It was a gorgeous day and I walked to another neighbor's to drop off a bag of beads. 

Kristen and I watched part of Captain America: Civil War after dinner, which was leftover faux ham and cheese pie, then I watched this week's Ghosts (cod-blocking enjoyable but I'm not a fan of the psycho fan storyline) before my Thursday night chat group chatted. From downtown on Sunday, the Washington Monument among the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin: 

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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Poem for Thursday and Floral Library

Colors passing through us
By Marge Piercy

Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.

Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.

Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from petals.

Orange as the perfumed fruit
hanging their globes on the glossy tree,
orange as pumpkins in the field,
orange as butterflyweed and the monarchs
who come to eat it, orange as my
cat running lithe through the high grass.

Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,
yellow as a hill of daffodils,
yellow as dandelions by the highway,
yellow as butter and egg yolks,
yellow as a school bus stopping you,
yellow as a slicker in a downpour.

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.

Green as mint jelly, green
as a frog on a lily pad twanging,
the green of cos lettuce upright
about to bolt into opulent towers,
green as Grand Chartreuse in a clear
glass, green as wine bottles.

Blue as cornflowers, delphiniums,
bachelors’ buttons. Blue as Roquefort,
blue as Saga. Blue as still water.
Blue as the eyes of a Siamese cat.
Blue as shadows on new snow, as a spring
azure sipping from a puddle on the blacktop.

Cobalt as the midnight sky
when day has gone without a trace
and we lie in each other’s arms
eyes shut and fingers open
and all the colors of the world
pass through our bodies like strings of fire.


I did more packing Wednesday morning, then after lunch I talked to my high school friends, one of whom just got back from a trip to Iceland and had fantastic photos. The rest of us just had family news, though one has a child on a work trip to Australia and that sounds enviable too. We took an afternoon walk in gorgeous weather and saw bunnies and bluebirds. 

I watched the end of Ant-Man with Kristen after dinner and before The Masked Singer (no super-impressive singing this week), then this week's The Mandalorian which had too much warg battle, too little Baby Yoda, and I am very much in favor of more faces, fewer helmets. Tulips in the Floral Library at the Tidal Basin on Sunday:

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Poem for Wednesday and Enid A. Haupt Garden

Rakka eda ni kaeru to mireba chocho kana
By Arakida Moritake
Translated by R.H. Blyth

A fallen leaf
Flew back to its branch!
No, it was a butterfly.


On Tuesday the serious work of fixing up our basement finally began! We had the paneling replaced after the flood, but the whole basement needs to be repainted, recarpeted, and lots of little things. The cats were not at all happy that strangers were bringing things up and down the stairs and banging around down there -- and, later, that they were not allowed down the stairs -- so they stayed upstairs and supervised my packing and sorting. 

We took a walk in the late afternoon when the painters left, then came home and ate the rest of the Ethiopian food from Sheba. My Voyager group watched "The Fight" which is not great but has lots of Janeway/Chakotay fun, then Cheryl told me that they were doing a Thor episode of Icons Unearthed: Marvel and we loved that so much that now we're catching up on the previous episodes. In the Enid A. Haupt Garden on Sunday: 

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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Poem for Tuesday and Kite Festival

A Kite for Aibhin
By Seamus Heaney

After "L'Aquilone" by Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912)

Air from another life and time and place,
Pale blue heavenly air is supporting
A white wing beating high against the breeze,

And yes, it is a kite! As when one afternoon
All of us there trooped out
Among the briar hedges and stripped thorn,

I take my stand again, halt opposite
Anahorish Hill to scan the blue,
Back in that field to launch our long-tailed comet.

And now it hovers, tugs, veers, dives askew,
Lifts itself, goes with the wind until
It rises to loud cheers from us below.

Rises, and my hand is like a spindle
Unspooling, the kite a thin-stemmed flower
Climbing and carrying, carrying farther, higher

The longing in the breast and planted feet
And gazing face and heart of the kite flier
Until string breaks and—separate, elate—

The kite takes off, itself alone, a windfall.


Monday morning was all chores, including some packing and freecycling, plus putting stuff out for a Vietnam Vets donation. Then we had lunch and went to the MVA to apply for TSA precheck -- apparently one of our credit cards covers the fees -- and to get copies of our vehicle titles, since we never got clear ones though both the van and car have been paid off for many, many years. Since we were in Gaithersburg, we also looked at some furniture and did some food shopping. 

We watched (well, I made watch) the iHeartRadio Music Awards so I could see Pat Benatar singing P!nk, Phoebe Bridgers giving Taylor Swift an award, and various other musicians I like giving performances. Then we watched this week's Quantum Leap, which irritatingly has stopped dropping Sam Beckett's name every week so I'm less optimistic that we'll see Scott Bakula before the season ends. From the National Mall on Sunday, the Blossom Kite Festival around the Washington Monument: 

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Monday, March 27, 2023

Greetings from the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Sunday was a spectacularly beautiful, nearly-70-degree day. Cheryl drove up here early in the morning so we could all go to the cherry blossom festival, where the blossoms started peaking at the end of last week. Fortunately we had a parking reservation, because tens of thousands of other people had the same idea! The blossoms were gorgeous, we ate lunch at a picnic table near one of the festival stages listening to a barbershop group, there were ducks and geese in the Tidal Basin, and the Blossom Kite Festival was going on around the Washington Monument, so we also saw lots of spectacular kites. 

We walked through the Floral Library tulips and the colorful gardens behind the Smithsonian Castle on the way back to the car. We thought about getting ice cream at a truck downtown, but we decided it would be better at The Scoop back home, so we drove back and got that. I gave Cheryl a bunch of fannish stuff I'd been planning to recycle otherwise to distribute to friends, she drove home, Paul and I had Thai basil tofu and peanut noodles, we watched a bit of basketball, then we watched the second episode of this season's Sanditon and the first of the new season of Succession

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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Greetings from the Basement

It rained all day Saturday, and I never left the house -- I spent the entire day going through four file drawers in the basement containing papers not modified since we moved into this house, some of which go back to elementary school days (mimeographs of guitar songs from Mrs. Reese's class, for those whom I knew back then). I found some hilarious treasures, I discovered that my Western Civilization teacher always gave me A- grades on otherwise A+ papers because he thought my handwriting was too messy, and I found about 200 articles on Anjelica Huston from when I was writing a paper on her in grad school. 

We watched the Maryland women win and a bunch of the men's games in the background, and now we are now spending the evening watching the last three episodes of Daisy Jones & the Six, which I am absolutely loving and don't want to end since I'm pretty sure there can't be a second season. Since we saw no sun or flowers today, here are some photos from earlier in the week around the neighborhood. 

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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Poem for Saturday and Afternoon in Wheaton

Welcome Rain on a Spring Night
By Du Fu
Translated by Burton Watson

The good rain knows its season,
When spring arrives, it brings life.
It follows the wind secretly into the night,
And moistens all things softly, without sound.
On the country road, the clouds are all black,
On a riverboat, a single fire bright.
At dawn one sees this place now red and wet,
The flowers are heavy in the brocade city.


I started Friday with more packing, then after lunch we went to see about getting our minivan radio replaced with one with Android Auto, a rear view camera, and all the bells and whistles we've never had before. We thought we were just going to talk about options, but it turned out they could install the one we wanted that day, so we left the van and went to walk around Wheaton Triangle and Wheaton Mall, where we got Cinnabon and visited stores I haven't seen in ages, which was a lot of fun. 

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The last picture is from dinner and dessert from The Cheesecake Factory (Beyond Burger for me, chicken and biscuits for the birthday boy) with my parents for Paul's birthday. We got on Google Meet with the kids from my parents' house, then came home and watched some basketball as the Number Ones fell, followed by a bunch of episodes of Daisy Jones and the Six, which I'm enjoying enormously, both musically and in terms of the characters. I'm sad there are only a few more episodes.