By Cale Young Rice
Under the sea, which is their sky, they rise
To watery altitudes as vast as those
Of far Himalayan peaks impent in snows
And veils of cloud and sacred deep repose.
Under the sea, their flowing firmament,
More dark than any ray of sun can pierce,
The earthquake thrust them up with mighty tierce
And left them to be seen but by the eyes
Of awed imagination inward bent.
Their vegetation is the viscid ooze,
Whose mysteries are past belief or thought.
Creation seems around them devil-wrought,
Or by some cosmic urgence gone distraught.
Adown their precipices chill and dense
With the dank midnight creep or crawl or climb
Such tentacled and eyeless things of slime,
Such monster shapes as tempt us to accuse
Life of a miscreative impotence.
About their peaks the shark, their eagle, floats,
In the thick azure far beneath the air,
Or downward sweeps upon what prey may dare
Set forth from any silent weedy lair.
But one desire on all their slopes is found,
Desire of food, the awful hunger strife,
Yet here, it may be, was begun our life,
Here all the dreams on which our vision dotes
In unevolved obscurity were bound.
Too strange it is, too terrible! And yet
It matters not how we were wrought or whence
Life came to us with all its throb intense,
If in it is a Godly Immanence.
It matters not,—if haply we are more
Than creatures half-conceived by a blind force
That sweeps the universe in a chance course:
For only in Unmeaning Might is met
The intolerable thought none can ignore.
My Sunday was dominated by two movies: first Dunkirk on the IMAX, which is extremely intense, technically brilliant, at times oddly put together -- as if in wanting us to see the characters as Everymen, Nolan didn't want to distract the audience by giving them too much individuality -- effectively hammers home both the themes that war is hell and that one doesn't need to be a warrior to be a hero. We went with Adam and walked around the lake at Washingtonian after the movie, stopping at Kohl's to get clothes and bathing suits for the menfolk while our coupons were still good.
Then, from the sublime to the ridiculous, we all came home and watched Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. The acting is as terrible as always, the science is worse than the acting, and this installment is shameless both about advertising Xfinity and about setting up its sequel. That said, it passes the Bechdel Test in five minutes and is pretty feminist apart from the inevitable insistence that women conform to appearance standards (in this case outrageous big-lipped plastic surgery standards); Nichelle Nichols is the head of NASA, Olivia Newton-John is a top bionic scientist!
Things I loved beyond the cameos by Stonehenge and the Sydney Opera House as well as by celebrities: the James Bond, Indiana Jones, Wonder Woman, Titanic, and Star Trek references ("Why does it always have to be sharks?"), Bret Michaels a la Mad Max: Fury Road, all the jumping the shark references (Fin in Buckingham Palace, the ice skater doing Blades of Glory), the new Hindenburg disaster ("Oh, the humanity"), Rio Jesus holding off sharks, Queen Charo and Pope Fabio ("Forgive Me, Father, For I Am Fin"), Shark Pokeballs, and my favorite line, "I am not throwing away my shot!"