Late Afternoon: The Onslaught of Love
By Anthony Hecht
For William and Emily Maxwell
At this time of day
One could hear the caulking irons sound
Against the hulls in the dockyard.
Tar smoke rose between trees
And large oily patches floated on the water,
In the purple sunlight
Like the surfaces of Florentine bronze.
At this time of day
Sounds carried clearly
Through hot silences of fading daylight.
The weedy fields lay drowned
In odors of creosote and salt.
Richer than double-colored taffeta,
Oil floated in the harbor,
Amoeboid, iridescent, limp.
It called to mind the slender limbs
Of Donatello's David.
It was lovely and she was in love.
They had taken a covered boat to one of the islands.
The city sounds were faint in the distance:
Rattling of carriages, tumult of voices,
Yelping of dogs on the decks of barges.
At this time of day
Sunlight empurpled the world.
The poplars darkened in ranks
Like imperial servants.
Water lapped and lisped
In its native and quiet tongue.
Oakum was in the air and the scent of grasses.
There would be fried smelts and cherries and cream.
Nothing designed by Italian artisans
Would match this evening's perfection.
The puddled oil was a miracle of colors.
Hecht, a critic and translator as well as a poet, died Wednesday. You can read more of his poetry here and here.
Going out to lunch with perkypaduan (who has been cheating on me with gblvr, heh) because we haven't seen each other in days and days. Having dinner with my parents, probably spending tomorrow with my in-laws, maybe picking pumpkins if the weather is good. Have I mentioned that it has rained every single day this week so far? Explains a lot about my mood, doesn't it? T&C was going well last night but I am back in a "why am I bothering to do this?" mood about it. It's just days from NaNoWriMo, and I should be doing that, shouldn't I? Or taking long walks in the evening enjoying the crisp smell of the leaves, if it's ever dry enough to smell them.
Finished reading The Yellow Admiral, started The Hundred Days, felt depressed because there's so very little new O'Brian left to me. Ah well, I haven't felt any compulsion for fic in that fandom while reading canon; maybe that will change once I've run out of canon to read. I don't usually bother to link to things like this because I know I linked to the HMS Rose newsletter when it was first announced, weeks ago, that the museum was keeping Surprise for the time being and had promised to let Fox use it if there were to be sequel M&C movies, but people seem to be squeeing over it today, so...there's the link, because squee is good.
Name five people whose careers/success you find inexplicable.
Apparently I hold unjust success against women more than I hold it against men, at least this morning. I find this interesting, as there are piles and piles of very famous men whom I find neither talented nor good looking, but except for Mr. Overexposure himself, Jude Law, I can't even think of one right now.
1. Lindsay Lohan. She can't act, she's not attractive either by classical or funky contemporary standards, she's not witty, she doesn't seem to be terribly nice. Where the fuck did she come from and why can I not turn on the television or read an entertainment magazine without being subjected to her?
2. Gwyneth Paltrow. All of the above; but wait, she is the daughter of someone famous, and more importantly she fucked Brad Pitt, so I guess I find her success all too explicable. Had anyone ever heard of her before she became tabloid fodder? And that said, because I understand that looking good from the neck down will get you many places...why does she get cast in roles in which a real actress could create real drama?
3. Nicole Kidman. If she hadn't won the Oscar, I'd probably forgive the rest. And, you know, if Gwyneth has an Oscar, then god knows Nicole might as well, because if they are the only two actresses who are going to get access to scripts that should be going to more versatile performers, I'd much rather Nicole get the parts than Gwyneth. Plus she's more attractive and less publicly conceited. And I like her better than Renee Zellwegger, who's another person who almost made this list. But, you know, in the past few years I've really started to believe the persistent rumors that Kidman agreed to be Cruise's beard in exchange for cash and the guarantee of an Oscar nomination, because otherwise the magnitude of her success is mystifying.
4. Jodie Foster. I respect her as a director and a child star turned pro, I know how smart she is, I appreciate how tough her life has been and how good she's been for women in the industry. But her acting range is nil. I cannot stand her on the screen.
5. Meryl Streep. Yes, you read that right. The reason the aforementioned dilettantes have Oscars and Glenn Close does not is because for a decade Streep got roles that Glenn, Anjelica Huston, Beverly D'Angelo, Gena Rowlands, etc. etc. etc. could have done and not made into Meryl Streep Roles. It's not the early success, it's the "oh my god it's Meryl, let's give her ANOTHER EMMY!" mentality that I simply cannot fathom.
1. what did you want to be when you grew up and why?
A writer. It never occurred to me to want to do anything else, except be a musical theater performer, and it was apparent from a very young age that no amount of dance and voice lessons would make that happen.
2. who was your favorite person to do things with (excluding your parents)?
My friend Linda, who never thought the absurd theories of life we came up with in elementary school were all that absurd, or at least never said so.
3. did you love school or did you hate it? Why? Did that change as you got older?
I loved learning but I hated the apathetic teachers and the cliquishness and boredom built into the structure of public education. The school library was my haven. I absolutely adored college and would go back in a heartbeat; I think I never forgave grad school for being too little like college and too much like vocational training for eggheads.
4. was your family close? What were your favorite family traditions?
We did things together but I am not sure "close" is the word. My father is very temperamental, my mother very passive-aggressive (god I wish I had known that phrase as a child), my sister a tantrum-thrower and I can be fundamentally antisocial if not left to myself for stretches, so whenever we traveled together there were screaming arguments. I enjoyed the extended family traditions -- grandparents down for Thanksgiving and Passover, trips to New York to visit them and my parents' old friends.
5. did you think that being an adult would be cool?
I was certain (and I was right) that having a certain level of control of one's life had to be better than being a dependent, so yes.
From cara_chapel, just to see if it got it right: