The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

Nothing Stays Put
By Amy Clampitt

In memory of Father Flye, 1884-1985

The strange and wonderful are too much with us.
The protea of the antipodes -- a great,
globed, blazing honeybee of a bloom --
for sale in the supermarket! We are in
our decadence, we are not entitled.
What have we done to deserve
all the produce of the tropics --
this fiery trove, the largesse of it
heaped up like cannonballs, these pineapples, bossed
and crested, standing like troops at attention,
these tiers, these balconies of green, festoons
grown sumptuous with stoop labor?

The exotic is everywhere, it comes to us
before there is a yen or a need for it. The green-
grocers, uptown and down, are from South Korea.
Orchids, opulence by the pailful, just slightly
fatigued by the plane trip from Hawaii, are
disposed on the sidewalks; alstroemerias, freesias
fattened a bit in translation from overseas; gladioli
likewise estranged from their piercing ancestral crimson;
as well as, less altered from the original blue cornflower
of the roadsides and railway embankments of Europe, these
bachelor's buttons. But it isn't the railway embankments
their featherweight wheels of cobalt remind me of, it's

a row of them among prim colonnades of cosmos,
snapdragon, nasturtium, bloodsilk red poppies,
in my grandmother's garden: a prairie childhood,
the grassland shorn, overlaid with a grid,
unsealed, furrowed, harrowed and sown with immigrant grasses,
their massive corduroy, their wavering feltings embroidered
here and there by the scarlet shoulder patch of cannas
on a courthouse lawn, by a love knot, a cross stitch
of living matter, sown and tended by women,
nurturers everywhere of the strange and wonderful,
beneath whose hands what had been alien begins,
as it alters, to grow as though it were indigenous.

But at this remove what I think of as
strange and wonderful, strolling the side streets of Manhattan
on an April afternoon, seeing hybrid pear trees in blossom,
a tossing, vertiginous colonnade of foam, up above --
is the white petalfall, the warm snowdrift
of the indigenous wild plum of my childhood.
Nothing stays put. The world is a wheel.
All that we know, that we're
made of, is motion.


We did not get more snow but it's COLD and tomorrow morning it's supposed to stay SINGLE DIGIT COLD and I have slippers and two pairs of socks on and my feet are COLD and while I do not consider myself a warm climate person, this is TOO COLD! That said, we had a nice day in the snow, walking and sledding and then going to my parents' for chicken soup with matzoh balls, chicken and noodles for dinner because what could be better in COLD like this?

My father is much better, though still somewhat uncomfortable, and we watched the end of the Philly-Atlanta and the first half of the New England-Pittsburgh game with him. I am quite satisfied with the Superbowl match-up, given that my in-laws are New England fans and I went to college in Philadelphia and rather like the Eagles, but none of these are "my" teams so I was not as passionate as I would have been had the Redskins or Ravens or even the Bears been good this year.

I am curious: if suggestive dancing is deemed inappropriate by the FCC for "family entertainment" like professional football, how come ads for Cialis and discussions of erectile dysfunction and "lovemaking at a time that's right for you" on commercials are not? My children hardly noticed Janet Jackson's pastie-covered nipple during the Superbowl, but they have both asked questions about erections that last longer than four hours. I am not suggesting censoring anything, and I am perfectly willing to take responsibility for their educations and to explain this, but sheesh -- if we're going to have these ads, can't the FCC shut the hell up about what else we shouldn't be allowed to see on TV?

The hill behind the local middle school (my junior high school) is the perfect place to sled. It's about a quarter mile walk, just enough to get warmed up by the time you get there and sled down and get snow all over every part of your body.

There were surprisingly high winds for a day with such a clear sky, after yesterday's snow. Here you can see the snow blowing off the roof and over the hill from the soccer field that's off to the right.

Here's a windless, unobscured view of part of the hill, the snow-covered tennis courts, the soccer field and the roofs of houses across the street from the school. Some of those trees visible against the sky are the ones whose red leaves I posted in the fall.

Here are my kids, fully bundled, returning from successful expeditions down the hill. We only had tears twice -- once from a boy hitting his elbow on the side of the school, and once from a boy overturning and getting snow into every crevice of his face and neck.

The neighborhood as the snow fell. It was powdery at first, so we did not get spectacular laden tree branches. This does not bother me, however, as those spectacular branches sometimes ice over, break and wreck power lines.

I am perfectly content to look at the crystals, though the urge to start making snowballs is really quite overwhelming when there are kids around.

Here's another view of the wind chimes on the deck with snow falling and making streaks, to go with the one from the other day, only with harder snowfall this time.

And while you're back here, a Harry Potter quiz with entirely predictable results for me:

You scored as Ravenclaw. You have been sorted into Ravenclaw- you value intelligence, and love the chance to use your cleverness (and maybe even show it off- just a little). You're keen and incisive, and you just love a challenging problem to solve.










The Hogwarts Sorting Hat!
created with

krabapple wrote me a Josh/Matt drabble! Not all that 'shippy, as she said, but any Lyman/Santos winking at this stage must be considered a good thing -- they're still in the foreplay stages of the relationship. Oh I look forward to The West Wing these days, for completely different reasons than most of my friends who are still TWW fans, but hey, we take joy where we find it, right? I am saddened about Johnny Carson, though even in college we tended to skip over him and wait for Letterman to come on, back when they shared a network. He had a wonderful run.

By my older son's request, since there is no school, I am taking my kids again to see The Phantom of the Opera. If the temperature were slightly higher, I would consider going to protest against the March To Deprive Women of the Right To Make Their Own Reproductive Decisions -- I can't believe I overlooked both the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade until I finally got around to reading the Sunday paper (I always turn first to Book World, then *blush* Parade, and I only get to the main section and op-ed later on). I probably read more of The New York Times online than I read of The Washington Post on my kitchen table in the morning.

There is a spectacular bright full moon outside. Looks amazing on the snow. Is that Jupiter or Saturn at five o'clock?

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