The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday

Marilyn Nelson

The Lutherans sit stolidly in rows;
only their children feel the holy ghost
that makes them jerk and bobble and almost
destroys the pious atmosphere for those
whose reverence bows their backs as if in work.
The congregation sits, or stands to sing,
or chants the dusty creeds automaton.
Their voices drone like engines, on and on,
and they remain untouched by everything;
confession, praise, or likewise, giving thanks.
The organ that they saved years to afford
repeats the Sunday rhythms song by song,
slow lips recite the credo, smother yawns,
and ask forgiveness for being so bored.

I, too, am wavering on the edge of sleep,
and ask myself again why I have come
to probe the ruins of this dying cult.
I come bearing the cancer of my doubt
as superstitious suffering women come
to touch the magic hem of a saint's robe.

Yet this has served two centuries of men
as more than superstitious cant; they died
believing simply. Women, satisfied
that this was truth, were racked and burned with them
for empty words we moderns merely chant.

We sing a spiritual as the last song,
and we are moved by a peculiar grace
that settles a new aura on the place.
This simple melody, though sung all wrong,
captures exactly what I think is faith.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
That slaves should suffer in his agony!
That Christian, slave-owning hypocrisy
nevertheless was by these slaves ignored
as they pitied the poor body of Christ!
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble,
that they believe most, who so much have lost.
To be a Christian one must bear a cross.
I think belief is given to the simple
as recompense for what they do not know.

I sit alone, tormented in my heart
by fighting angels, one group black, one white.
The victory is uncertain, but tonight
I'll lie awake again, and try to start
finding the black way back to what we've lost.


Snow still falling, kids home from school. Will be spending the afternoon on important activities like sledding. Am totally stressed out about work as I have not updated the LJs in days. My editor will be out of town for two months and I am, in theory, supposed to be keeping up with the sites along with someone brand new who was barely trained to do anything before he left, meaning it is up to me to do all the big updates to the episode guides and such -- some of which I was never really trained to do -- and it is chaos. I feel like I have crossed a line somewhere with Trek, like it will always be a job rather than a hobby, but I get paid so damn little that I can't really consider it that either. I do not have enough passion for the number of hours of work to really do things right, given my other obligations and the things I want to be doing. It's kind of not a hobby, not really a job.

Speaking of hobbies: you may have noticed only lukewarm squeeing over ROTK advance stuff, no comments on last night's special, no links to pictures of Orli kissing Dom and the like. I'm feeling somewhat burned out on a movie that won't even open for two weeks, which is partly my own idiotic fault for rereading the book after I swore that I wasn't going to reread the book -- I hadn't reread FOTR in twenty years before that movie and I probably never would have, had it not been for that movie, so I feel like a huge ingrate! But reading spoilers about things that won't be included in a movie whose plot I would not really remember had I not read the book just seems stupid and unnecessarily upsetting to me. Ditto listening to the soundtrack -- I don't want to think about the music and what it might represent in advance, I want the full experience in the theater. And the hype reminds me of similar hype for all the garbage being cranked out of Hollywood -- throws me back into the sense of LOTR as Just A Movie, when my feeling from the first two were how much more they seemed to me than that.

So I'm just not going there for the next two weeks. I fully expect that when I finally see, the film, I will be a basket case, and completely re-obsessed, no matter what is or is not there from the books. But I'm not in the mood to set myself up for potential letdown and I'm sure as hell not in the mood for playing the Not Tolkien Enough! game. If you read this LJ for the LOTR, consider it on temporary hiatus, except where gerbils are concerned.

No Friday Five this week. fannish5:

1) Do you have a fandom that is a sitcom or a soap opera? What is it?
Have not watched a sitcom since M*A*S*H and only briefly followed One Life To Live because I knew the head writer. Though if Dallas counts, I did watch it religiously for years while babysitting on Friday nights.

2) Do you have a book or movie fandom? What is it?
A book or movie fandom? Um. Yes. Several. Tolkien, Harry Potter, and I am about to bury myself waist-deep in Patrick O'Brian.

3) Do you read or write fic for this kind of fandom? Do you search for fic for this kind of fandom?

4A) How do you pimp people into your genre fandom?
Just writing about them, I guess. I don't tend to pimp very aggressively unless I know a specific person whom I think would be really interested in a specific fandom. It's not that I assume that all my fandoms will appeal to anyone else who's a fan.

4B) Are you open to being pimped into a genre fandom?
Sure. Sometimes they take, sometimes they don't. The best way to get me into a fandom is to point me to some wonderfully written, not-too-long fic, since I don't have time to devote to really long fic about something I know very little and fic tends to seduce me sometimes more than a single episode of any show.

5) Is one of these genres "better" fannish fodder than the other? Why?
I think movie fandoms are easier to get into and tend to have larger fic-writing bases than book fandoms, though I don't have a lot of experience with book fandom (I avoided Pern, Anne Rice, etc. like the plague). But I tend to find that television-based stuff is still the most widely recognized out in the world beyond the fannish community.

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