By Edwin Arlington Robinson
A flying word from here and there
Had sown the name at which we sneered,
But soon the name was everywhere,
To be reviled and then revered:
A presence to be loved and feared,
We cannot hide it, or deny
That we, the gentlemen who jeered,
May be forgotten by and by.
He came when days were perilous
And hearts of men were sore beguiled;
And having made his note of us,
He pondered and was reconciled.
Was ever master yet so mild
As he, and so untamable?
We doubted, even when he smiled,
Not knowing what he knew so well.
He knew that undeceiving fate
Would shame us whom he served unsought;
He knew that he must wince and wait—
The jest of those for whom he fought;
He knew devoutly what he thought
Of us and of our ridicule;
He knew that we must all be taught
Like little children in a school.
We gave a glamour to the task
That he encountered and saw through,
But little of us did he ask,
And little did we ever do.
And what appears if we review
The season when we railed and chaffed?
It is the face of one who knew
That we were learning while we laughed.
The face that in our vision feels
Again the venom that we flung,
Transfigured to the world reveals
The vigilance to which we clung.
Shrewd, hallowed, harassed, and among
The mysteries that are untold,
The face we see was never young,
Nor could it ever have been old.
For he, to whom we have applied
Our shopman's test of age and worth,
Was elemental when he died,
As he was ancient at his birth:
The saddest among kings of earth, 45
Bowed with a galling crown, this man
Met rancor with a cryptic mirth,
The love, the grandeur, and the fame
Are bounded by the world alone; 50
The calm, the smouldering, and the flame
Of awful patience were his own:
With him they are forever flown
Past all our fond self-shadowings,
Wherewith we cumber the Unknown 55
As with inept Icarian wings.
For we were not as other men:
'Twas ours to soar and his to see.
But we are coming down again,
And we shall come down pleasantly; 60
Nor shall we longer disagree
On what it is to be sublime,
But flourish in our perigee
And have one Titan at a time.
It was a pretty quiet Tuesday around here unless you want to hear about essays and laundry and stuff. Daniel went out to lunch with my father; Adam had to do a mandatory concussion screening before he went to cross country practice. Our neighborhood sidewalks are being replaced, meaning the jackhammering starts before 9 a.m., so for a change I was glad it was hot and I had an excuse to rely on air conditioning instead of having the windows open. Though I was worried about the bunnies with all the concrete dust in the air, I saw four of them in the late afternoon in their usual neighborhood spots.
Daniel has been offered a second teaching assistant position for next year, this one teaching engineering, which is awesome news. We watched the Mandarin-with-subtitles version of House of Flying Daggers after dinner since Adam needed to watch it for Chinese summer homework; the cinematography is gorgeous, as are the costumes and choreography, but it's not a happy story (lots of interesting women but also lots of stereotypical roles) and there are some enormous plot questions left unanswered as the credits roll. Some Roanoke Island Farm animals, including rescued wild horses from Corolla: