Measuring the Tyger
By Jack Gilbert
Barrels of chains. Sides of beef stacked in vans.
Water buffalo dragging logs of teak in the river mud
outside Mandalay. Pantocrater in the Byzantium dome.
The mammoth overhead crane bringing slabs of steel
through the dingy light and roar to the giant shear
that cuts the adamantine three-quarter-inch plates
and they flop down. The weight of the mind fractures
the girders and piers of the spirit, spilling out
the heart's melt. Incandescent ingots big as cars
trundling out of titanic mills, red slag scaling off
the brighter metal in the dark. The Monongahela River
below, night's sheen on its belly. Silence except
for the machinery clanging deeper in us. You will
love again, people say. Give it time. Me with time
running out. Day after day of the everyday.
What they call real life, made of eighth-inch gauge.
Newness strutting around as if it were significant.
Irony, neatness and rhyme pretending to be poetry.
I want to go back to that time after Michiko's death
when I cried every day among the trees. To the real.
To the magnitude of pain, of being that much alive.
Another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "Jack Gilbert begins with large, vivid images -- 'barrels of chains' -- of heaviness, then of violence and fracture, industrial harshness. Then, more than halfway through, the personal loss at the center emerges. The intimate grief acquires more force by becoming explicit only toward the end," Pinsky writes. "Language is not merely ornament or persuasion, but a vehicle -- or in Gilbert's terms, a titanic vehicle, shearing and forging deep in us."
Dear LiveJournal, I WANT MY MEMORIES BACK. NOW. I have tried for several days to be patient, but my patience has worn out. I'm a paid user so I have the right to gripe as an unhappy customer. PLEASE FIX THEM. Thank you.
Here's a late Valentine's Day present for everyone: from an Australian web site, gorgeous images from the Hubble telescope. I had a nice day, low-key: dentist appointment in the morning, quick lunch at an Indian buffet with my husband, wrote a couple of articles, picked up my kids, picked up some around the house, watched Digging Into History on the History Channel about the possible history of the Holy Grail (no Baigent-Leigh, little English Arthurian legend, a decent amount of de Troyes and Cathars and Nazis). Wrote Kira/Damar with betareject to my very great enjoyment, and was briefly possessed by the world's most depressing Valentine story after trying to write a drabble for snupin100.
I actually wrote a Snupin valentine drabble last year, and it was also depressing, but I can't link it here because I don't have my memories! It's here on my web page. (ETA: "Be Mine".) Also, my hp_valentine drabble is here, and here is the vastly more entertaining one that bsafemydeers wrote for me! Hers is absolutely delightful! I have not read anything else in that community yet, having only just remembered to go see if the drabbles were posted, so have left no comments; that can be my fun for tomorrow.
In addition to the card posted in the entry below, apaulled gave me double chocolate truffles and homemade CDs of Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls in concert; I gave him chocolates and a bargain book on the Beatles with some of the photos from the exhibit we saw at the Smithsonian earlier this year. We had gotten the kids little boxes of candy and Brian Jacques and Lemony Snicket books respectively, but the Garfield cards went over bigger than anything else! So it was not outrageously exciting but hey, at least I'm not that guy on the news who proposed to his girlfriend at a basketball game, only to have her shove him away and run off the court in tears. Why do people make these public proposals without first making certain of the answer? It's upsetting for everyone involved, even a completely disinterested spectator like myself -- like badly done reality TV aiming for the shock value, not that I ever watch reality TV.
After my post about the Hebrew school gathering, I got asked what a shema pillow was. This is a shema pillow, with the tracing blocks for the letters and art still visible beneath, though those come out before the actual pillow it put in. It has the words to the most significant prayer in Judaism -- the one that declares the unity and singularity of our God -- and some Jewish symbols. The kids got to arrange and tape these onto the posterboard from which we traced. These are given out to the elderly and infirm -- people who may want comfort with their prayers -- and apparently a number of people ask to be buried with the pillowcases, which is kind of heartwarming and humbling. This one was made by other members of my family; mine had messier letters and more purple involved.
I humbly promise to spam my journal less frequently for the rest of the week. Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day or at least a tolerable Monday!