The Lake Isle of Innisfree
By William Butler Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in the March 13th Washington Post Book World. This poem, he says, is "beloved for its richly compressed romantic feeling and mocked for that same feeling, and in either case indelible," citing it as an example of what he calls "the dream-power of actual places," in which a landscape, "exotic or dreamy, becomes a way to express some feeling -- peace or excitement or anxiety -- that might be inexpressible without the scene."
Saturday we decided to go to Baltimore to see the Titanic exhibit and the Titanica IMAX film, even though we thought we had seen both before. As it happened, we were wrong in both cases. We had seen the touring Titanic artifact exhibit several years ago, when there was some controversy swirling about it: Dr. Robert Ballard, who found the ship at the bottom of the Atlantic, felt very strongly that personal items should not be removed from what is essentially a mass grave, but the international laws of salvage apparently create a sort of finders, keepers legality that lets anyone who can actually mount an expedition, discover the ship's whereabouts and submerge safely retrieve items from the wreckage, so the current exhibition is funded in part from necklaces made from sunken Titanic coal.
I understand the arguments against tampering with the ruin but I think it's only the recent history that makes this different from any other search for sunken treasure -- pirate wrecks had people aboard too -- and since the kids didn't really remember from when they were younger, we thought we'd go again. The exhibit has been greatly enhanced and expanded since then, not so much with new artifacts but with many more illustrations and recreations of rooms on the ship, music, information about the people to whom the retrieved items belonged and even a giant fresh-water "iceberg," several yards long, so that people can get an idea how cold the water was when the passengers jumped from the sinking ship.
We had seen Ballard's film and another documentary about the Titanic in one of the science center theaters -- now we can't remember which one -- and we had thought Titanica was one of them, but seeing the film today we realized that we hadn't actually seen this one before. It's wonderful -- like Everest and the International Space Station documentary, one of those movies that made me glad someone sent a camera into this remote locale because you couldn't pay me enough to get into that little submarine chamber even if I were somehow qualified. The underwater images from the engine room are riveting, and we were all fascinated by the little white crabs and blind fish swimming around the rusticles and pieces of equipment. There was a bizarre moment where the cameras showed a stack of plates on the sea floor which had been in the exhibit, retrieved and stacked exactly as they had looked on the bottom of the ocean, where I thought that perhaps Ballard had a point that these things should have been left where they were, but how long will china last down there? At this point, nearly a hundred years after the sinking, I guess I don't have a big problem with it having been brought up for a museum exhibit. It isn't as if there are human bodies left to disturb. The IMAX film was preceded by a short movie made by Maryland Science Center staff about galaxies as seen by the Hubble Telescope, which was fascinating too.
The Science Center was also celebrating Einstein's birthday, so there were special demonstrations on gravitational lensing, the photoelectric effect and the scale of the Milky Way (plus a crazy hair contest and birthday cake, but we arrived too late to get any). And of course we had to go see the dinosaurs, the dry ice "fog tornado" and various human body and inertia exhibits. After we left I insisted on walking down to see the Constellation, which we haven't visited in the daytime since its trip last year when it docked with its stern facing Harborplace. We had to walk past all the restaurants in the Light Street Pavilion to get there, the kids announced they were hungry, and we ended up at City Lights having seafood. And really, what's the point of driving all the way to Baltimore without getting someone a crab cake? *g*
fannish5: Nominate 5 dates to be included on a multi-fandom calendar. For example, the date of Star Trek's premiere.
1. September 8. Because yes, the date of Star Trek's premiere in 1966 is a very good starting point.
2. October 31. I am sure there are people in fandoms other than Harry Potter for whom this date has significance -- Halloween horror fans for instance -- but I am betting almost everyone reading this journal knows why I put it here.
3. April 18. In 1800, or so the book says, Jack Aubrey met Stephen Maturin at a concert and later received a letter telling him of his promotion to Master and Commander.
4. February 26. The date of Boromir's death in The Fellowship of the Ring. I don't know the date of his birth, regrettably, because I'd rather honor him for his life.
5. September 13. The anniversary of the Breakaway, when the moon shot away from Earth orbit, launching Space: 1999. (It's also actress Barbara Bain's birthday, which is probably why that date was picked.)
1. What was your favorite toy as a child? My stuffed rabbit, Big Bunny, which my father bought for me on the day I came home from the hospital after being born.
2. What is your favorite toy now that you're "grown up"? My Palm Zire 71.
3. What is the most dangerous toy you had growing up? Probably my chemistry set. Or maybe those seditious books that taught me to value free speech.
4. What is the most dangerous toy you have now? A couple of knives from Renaissance festivals. Or perhaps my computer, where, again, I can read seditious materials.
5. What one toy do you wish you had/have? Any device with unlimited wireless web.
fridayfiver: Ripped from the headlines!
1. Michael Jackson: Did he do it? I'm not on the jury, I won't speculate.
2. Martha: Did she deserve prison? I don't really believe that the prison system in the US rehabilitates criminals, so I don't think any but the most violent offenders deserve prison; that said, considering that other people far less famous than she is have gone to prison for what she did, I think the punishment fit the crime in her case as well as anyone else's.
3. Bill Clinton: Think his wife is going to run for President? Why is this question not, "Think Hillary Clinton will run for president?" Why is it about Bill?
4. Madrid anniversary of 3/11: Are you thinking about it? Yes. The fatwa has made it difficult to forget.
5. What's the headline of your local news outlet? "Syria Vows Two-Stage Lebanon Withdrawal."
Thanks so much to my anonymous LJ fairy! Show yourself and I will write you a porny drabble or something! *smooch* Also thanks to not_vacillating for being a beta goddess -- I am still fighting with the remix fic, and if I owe you a note or a comment or porn or anything, it may have to wait till Monday when I hope to send this off.
Here's another view. In all my photos, either the background was washed-out pale or the dinosaurs were very dark, so since the bones were relatively dark anyway I went with this view of the Clipper City and, in the background at right, the new wing of the National Aquarium (it has a red side; the multicolored building with triangular roof is the older wing). You can also see the Lightship Chesapeake and submarine Torsk, part of the Baltimore Maritime Museum.
And here's the view from outside looking in at night after dinner -- the museum had closed but the same two dinosaurs, a model and a skeleton, were still looking out with the lights of the harbor reflected in their window.