The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday and Frederick Farm Festival

A Musical Instrument
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
With the dragon-fly on the river.

He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
From the deep cool bed of the river:
The limpid water turbidly ran,
And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
And the dragon-fly had fled away,
Ere he brought it out of the river.

High on the shore sat the great god Pan
While turbidly flowed the river;
And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed
To prove it fresh from the river.

He cut it short, did the great god Pan,
(How tall it stood in the river!)
Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,
Steadily from the outside ring,
And notched the poor dry empty thing
In holes, as he sat by the river.

'This is the way,' laughed the great god Pan
(Laughed while he sat by the river),
'The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed.'
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
He blew in power by the river.

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!
Piercing sweet by the river!
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
Came back to dream on the river.

Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man:
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain,—
For the reed which grows nevermore again
As a reed with the reeds in the river.


On Sunday we got yet another gorgeous fall day, so we picked up Adam from working at Hebrew school and went to some Frederick Festival of the Farm destinations along with our favorite Frederick County parks. We brought a picnic and ate it on High Knob at Gambrill State Park, where it was actually chilly on top of the mountain but the leaves and views were gorgeous. Then we went to South Mountain Creamery, which was very crowded -- they have a big fair with live music, kids' games, and lots of food -- we ate ice cream and bought egg nog to take home. After that we stopped quickly at Gathland because the trees are beautiful around the ruins there, then we went to Caprikorn Farm which was by far the highlight of my day as they were selling bags of goat food for $1 and the goats chased us around trying to eat the food (and our clothes and hair and the bag the food was in); we also got their wonderful chevre and gouda cheeses. Finally we went to Washington Monument State Park, where we hiked up to the monument in the late afternoon sun and saw lots of turkey vultures and stinkbugs.

The shirtless Civilian Conservation Corps statue at Gambrill State Park.

Son climbing a tree in the park on High Knob.

The overlook above Frederick pointing out Civil War routes to the Monocacy River.

A recently born calf at South Mountain Creamery...

...which had a band, butter-making, kids' activities, visiting alpacas, beekeepers, and local vendors for the farm festival.

The War Correspondents Arch at Gathland State Park.

Me, getting devoured by goats -- that is, feeding goats -- at Caprikorn Farm, which has wonderful goat cheese.

Atop South Mountain at Washington Monument State Park late in the afternoon.

The Redskins, remarkably, pulled out their game against Chicago at the last minute, while the Ravens blew it to Pittsburgh at the last minute. I figure the powers that be are making up for the deal I made last year, where if Obama won the election, I promised not to complain about any sports events all year, then the Ravens won the Super Bowl so I owe another year of not complaining. I am mostly liking Once Upon a Time this season other than there's too little Regina (though the lines she does have are the most hilarious on the show -- mocking Emma over whether Neil could use a colander, hee) and we can inevitably predict and recite along with Mary Margaret's stupid lines. What is with the compulsion to explain what we've just seen as if we're all small children? There'll be a lovely moment of discovery followed by someone explaining exactly what just happened for the audience -- it's less subtle than Hermione Granger providing the exposition for kids watching Harry Potter! At least after that I get to watch Masters of Sex, which is nicely grown-up!

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