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The Little Review
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Poem for Thursday and Brookside Gardens


Hagar in the Wilderness
By Tyehimba Jess

Carved Marble. Edmonia Lewis, 1875

My God is the living God,
God of the impertinent exile.
An outcast who carved me
into an outcast carved
by sheer and stony will
to wander the desert
in search of deliverance
the way a mother hunts
for her wayward child.
God of each eye fixed to heaven,
God of the fallen water jug,
of all the hope a vessel holds
before spilling to barren sand.
God of flesh hewn from earth
and hammered beneath a will
immaculate with the power
to bear life from the lifeless
like a well in a wasteland.
I'm made in the image of a God
that knows flight but stays me
rock still to tell a story ancient as
slavery, old as the first time
hands clasped together for mercy
and parted to find only their own
salty blessing of sweat.
I have been touched by my God
in my creation, I've known her caress
of anointing callus across my face.
I know the lyric of her pulse
across these lips... and yes,
I've kissed the fingertips
of my dark and mortal God.
She has shown me the truth
behind each chiseled blow
that's carved me into this life,
the weight any woman might bear
to stretch her mouth toward her
one true God, her own
beaten, marble song.

Edmonia Lewis (1845-1907) was an African/Native American expatriate sculptor who was phenomenally successful in Rome.

--------

Yet another quickie, this time because we are watching The Phantom Menace (don't ask me, my kids were in the mood and it has been so long for me that several things have surprised me) because after fighting with our Sony-made Blu-Ray player for an hour, we couldn't get The Interview to stream on either YouTube or Google Play. We started late because we were watching "The Himalayas" on Nature (quite good, though nature shows always have animals eating each other) and Adam's best friend, who's just home from Oklahoma where he's been visiting his father since Thanksgiving, stopped by.

Everyone here slept late, then we had lunch and went to Brookside Gardens. Because so much of the park is under construction this winter, there is no big winter light show, but the conservatory has the train display and since the weather was nice, we walked around the tea house, which was closed during the earlier phase of the construction, and followed the stream, which was swollen from the rain. We had Swedish meatballs for dinner since that's what we usually have with Paul's parents for Christmas, though they are in L.A. this year. Merry Christmas if you celebrate, and hope you have a day off regardless!


Daniel and Adam in the conservatory at Brookside...


...and myself and Paul by the poinsettias.


Adam was taking photos.


Thomas the Tank Engine rode around the miniature greenhouse in the train display. It has a miniature train, too.


Because of the construction, there are no outdoor winter lights this year. These were for sale in the gift shop!


Outside it was warm for the season but quite foggy.


This red-shouldered hawk did not seem to mind.
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