The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday and Catoctin Mountain Park

Catoctin Mountain Park
By Dora Malech

He who thus considers things in their first growth and origin, whether a state or anything else, will obtain the clearest view of them.
—Aristotle, Politics (translated by Benjamin Jowett)

Look out across
the ridges of trees
flushed red
as if holding
their breath
to blue distance,
a wager made
with the sky.

Look out over
the Appalachians'
eastern rampart,
then scrap the word for parts—
before, prepare, fortify
to take possession of again.

On the road in, two wild
turkeys bustle off into
the brush.

Off the trail in wet leaves,
yellow eyes of a box turtle.

What I take
to be the stripes
of common shiner
in a riffle.

Alone, one might intone
whose woods, whose woods,
one might whisper
democratic vistas.

One might say
summit and Summit,
as elsewhere, but near,
are Aristotle’s other
at fenced and guarded
leisure, though the wind

passes as it pleases,
and when it shakes
the trees, it is not
an agreement at all.


This poem was commissioned by the Academy of American Poets and funded by a National Endowment for the Arts Imagine Your Parks grant.

December is a stupid month to have a birthday because you have to do all your shopping for the year at once -- most people get holiday coupons in December and birthday coupons some other time, but I get everything in a two-week period between Thanksgiving and my birthday and then I have to wait a year if I want any other big items. Plus there are all these people giving guilt about shopping on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. because Think Of The Workers, so then I feel badly about ordering a camera for which I have been saving for over two years.

And the weather sucked all day on Monday, though we never got the predicted snow, but I'd already planned to stay in and do piles of laundry and vacuum and work on holiday cards, so it was a gloomy sort of a day. I made it almost till midnight without buying anything (I'm still trying to figure out whether to get the camera from one of the New York places or from Amazon which does not screw around nearly as much with the extended warranty), but then Bed, Bath & Beyond sent another coupon while the free shipping was still in effect and I do need a backup comforter.

We caught up on two episodes of Watchmen around the new episode of His Dark Materials, which we probably should not do because the latter is just not engaging me; I never read the books and scarcely paid attention to the movie, but I feel like the TV show is both pretentious and predictable, particularly the dialogue, while Watchmen, though dark and violent, is doing a much better job of using its genre and source material to address scary contemporary issues and create multifaceted characters, women in particular. Pics from Catoctin last weekend:

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