By Marianne Boruch
He was halfway through the grackle
when I got home. From the kitchen I saw
blood, the black feathers scattered
on snow. How the bird bent
to each skein of flesh, his muscles
tacking to the strain and tear.
The fierceness of it, the nonchalance.
Silence took the yard, so usually
restless with every call or quarrel,
titmouse, chickadee, drab
and gorgeous finch, and the sparrow haunted
by her small complete surrender
to a fear of anything. I didn't know
how to look at it. How to stand
or take a breath in the hawk's bite
and pull, his pleasure
so efficient, so of course, of course,
the throat triumphant,
rising up. Not
the violence, poor grackle. But the
sparrow, high above us, who
From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World, who writes of Boruch, "Attention is a beautiful thing, and much in demand. Probably more of us want it than know how to give it. Marianne Boruch...has the wonderful, commanding power of true attention: She sees and considers with intensity. Her poems often give fresh examples of how rare and thrilling it can be to notice. Trusting observation, having the ideas and feelings emerge as continuations of that action of noticing -- where others might force a sentiment or a bit of philosophizing onto things -- may be a mark of genuine poetry."
Today was taken up with work, younger son's soccer game (they tied) and relatives. My in-laws drove down from Pennsylvania to spend the afternoon with us and come to the seder at my parents' house, along with perkypaduan and friends of my parents who have known them since before I was born. It was a nice seder, relatively low-key since my sister and her family were not there though it also felt less "family"-ish since they weren't there; our kids disappeared down the basement to play card games on a couple of occasions and we all talked politics, religion, education and how good the matzoh balls were, though it's a different atmosphere than when there are multiple children running in all the time to interrupt with some episode or other. The food as always was fantastic and I got so full from the appetizers, charoset, carrot souffle and gefilte fish (say what you will, I love the stuff) that I barely had a bite of dessert.
Every year I have a slightly harder time with whatever haggadah we end up using; this year I persuaded my mother to bypass the Wicked Child, the one to whom parents are instructed to say, "You would not have deserved to be freed from slavery in Egypt had you been there!" as if it's not perfectly reasonable for any kid to say, "What does this service where we talk about God killing Egyptian babies mean to you?" My parents made it very clear throughout my childhood that they were agnostic, which has not had any detrimental influence on my theological convictions, but I don't want my children to become tradition-bound Jews any more than I want them under the influence of Jews for Jesus. I can't stand holidays that ostensibly celebrate the interference of God in history. Does anyone know of a hippie haggadah that maintains the celebration of freedom while omitting references to plagues of locusts or soldiers drowning in the Red Sea?
The wonderful megthelegend wrote me "Replacements", Kira/Odo fic! I am so happy! Now I just need to catch up with col_kira_nerys again. Oh, and I watched "The Return of Amanda" while folding laundry -- between the cabaret, the airport sequence and the look on Duncan's face when he realized what she was up to with the money, I was a very happy Highlander fan. I must confess that as much as I love Duncan/Methos, I thoroughly enjoy Duncan with a number of women, too. Probably because a lot of the women on this series are great, which is sadly unusual for a lot of television.
fannish5: Pick five characters and tell us where you would go on vacation with them, individually, or in a group.
1. Cow Pat Keegan
2. Lucius Malfoy
3. Charlie Beck
4. Ronald Quincy
5. Mr. Darling/Captain Hook
<evil>Ooh, a Mary Sue fantasy! That's right, I'm taking five Jason Isaacs characters with me to a well-appointed dungeon somewhere. And chaining them all to different beds. And maybe I'll let them out one by one if they charm me sufficiently, or maybe I'll bring Franz Anton Mesmer, Hans Gruber, Colonel Brandon, Severus Snape and the Sheriff of Nottingham along and let them mingle. </evil>
thefridayfive: Marvelous Music.
1. What is the first record/tape/CD that you bought? The single of Andy Gibb's "Thicker Than Water."
2. Who is your favorite all time band/singer? The Beatles.
3. What have you been listening to lately? The new, reformed October Project.
4. What is your favorite radio station, what do they play, and where do they broadcast? Ever since WHFS disappeared, the other radio stations in Washington, DC have vastly expanded and changed their playlists. I'm not sure which is my favorite but they're all better for trying to fill the gap.
5. Can you recommend a good song or CD that everyone should listen to? Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, because some albums never get old.
fridayfiver: We're moving on up...
1. How many locations (dwellings) have you lived in? Apartment, house #1, house #2, four dorm rooms, three apartments, two townhouses.
2. If you could place your dream home in any location, where would it be? On the Thames above Greenwich? I'm not sure of the neighborhoods, somewhere close to London but not right downtown.
3. In terms of the act of moving: are you a packer or a box mover? Packer.
4. What one item do you own that you absolutely hate to move? All my tarot decks. They weigh as much as books and they always get banged up no matter how they're packed in.
5. What's worse: the act of moving or a routine cleaning at the dentist? Moving is far, far, FAR worse.
Seagulls on the wall around Scarborough Castle overlooking the water. There were also seagulls on the walls of the castle itself, above the castle, on the hillside, all around the town...I will forever associate Scarborough with the calling of gulls.