The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday and French Ducks

The City Dead-House
By Walt Whitman

By the City Dead-House, by the gate,
As idly sauntering, wending my way from the clangor,
I curious pause—for lo! an outcast form, a poor dead prostitute brought;
Her corpse they deposit unclaim’d—it lies on the damp brick pavement;
The divine woman, her body—I see the Body—I look on it alone,
That house once full of passion and beauty—all else I notice not;
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet, nor odors morbific impress me;
But the house alone—that wondrous house—that delicate fair house—that ruin!
That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwellings ever built!
Or white-domed Capitol itself, with majestic figure surmounted—or all the old high-spired cathedrals;
That little house alone, more than them all—poor, desperate house!
Fair, fearful wreck! tenement of a Soul! itself a Soul!
Unclaim’d, avoided house! take one breath from my tremulous lips;
Take one tear, dropt aside as I go, for thought of you,
Dead house of love! house of madness and sin, crumbled! crush’d!
House of life—erewhile talking and laughing—but ah, poor house! dead, even then;
Months, years, an echoing, garnish’d house—but dead, dead, dead.


I am very ready for this week to be over. In the morning, Adam missed a couple of classes to go to the funeral of his classmate -- it sounds like half the high school was there, certainly most of the kids who knew the boy from sports or Hebrew school. Later in the day, the local mall parking lot that's been under repair for several weeks, causing mall traffic jams and overcrowded lots, collapsed and killed one of the construction workers. Currently we are under a thunderstorm warning, with loud claps outside, that the barometer in my brain has anticipated all day with headache that would have become a migraine without much-appreciated medicine.

In better news, the Boy Scouts have finally lifted the ban on gay scouts (they need to lift the ban on gay scout leaders, but I'm confident that's coming, particularly now that the Mormons are not fighting it), and the girl who was expelled from school for doing science has been given a Space Academy scholarship by a NASA veteran who also got in trouble for doing science back in the day. We watched the Adam West Batman movie in the evening because we needed mindless hilarity. Here are some photos of ducks that we saw in DC when we went to see the cherry blossoms, whom Paul said must be Valjean and Javert since the latter was chasing the former:

And a photo from cherry blossom weekend in 2008 that's more Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline than Les Mis, though the little ones are not in two straight lines:


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