Field of Vision
By Eleanor Wilner
And if the bee, half-drunk
on the nectar of the columbine,
could think of the dying queen, the buzz
of chaos in the hive, the agitation
of the workers in their cells, the veiled
figure come again to rob the combs --
then would the summer fields
grow still, the hum of propagation
cease, the flowers spread
bright petals to no avail -- as if
a plug were drawn from a socket
in the sun, the light that flowed into
the growing field would fail;
for how should the bee make honey then,
afraid to look, afraid to look away?
From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "The gift of the ear is the first requirement in poetry, and the gift of the eye also can be important. But the real thrill of the ancient, peculiar yet enduringly central art of the poet comes when the eye and the ear are in service of the mind," writes Pinsky. In Wilner's poem, "part of the pleasure is in what she makes clear without needing to say it...the ear that hears how to make the two words 'veiled figure' do so much work, the eye that visualizes 'half drunk' and the bright petals -- both serve the intelligence that imagines itself, too, 'afraid to look, afraid to look away' in its own field of vision."
Am cranky. Had relatively quiet day, son had Hebrew school then soccer, got some chores done around the house so 1) the house would be clean when guests arrived for Mother's Day and 2) I wouldn't have to be folding laundry on Mother's Day, though the dryer was slow so it appears that I will be doing that anyway, not that I really care since I control the television while I am folding whether there is a basketball playoff game on or not. Got a lovely gift from mamadracula which I am wearing and will probably wear again tomorrow -- the mother goddess on the shirt loves me even if my own mother is burying me in guilt for being a bad daughter, right? (I'm sure she thinks I'm a bad mother as well; sometimes 48 entire hours go by without me buying my children presents.)
We went in the evening to see Kingdom of Heaven (note to perkypaduan: you and I are still going to see it next week as well, but apaulled wanted to see it and we took advantage of the opportunity though I really want to see it again). Several non-spoilerish thoughts:
- I am never again going to apologize for being an Orlando Bloom fan. He's the real thing: he doesn't overplay, he works his arse off, he has a lovely speaking voice. People who think he's too pretty, too overhyped or too young will just have to deal with this.
- When you have a cast that includes David Thewlis, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud and Marton Csokas, you cannot make a bad movie even if your screenplay has some of the worst dialogue since Alexander.
- Note to Ridley Scott: You made Gladiator once already and it won an Oscar. Doing things that are extremely visually, aurally or scenically reminiscent of it is really not your best move if you want your later films to stand on their own.
- Sometimes it helps to have a villain who's a little too over-the-top; it makes it possible to give all the good guys lots of shades of gray.
- Can't someone please write a decent role for a woman in a historical epic? Please?
- I never, ever want to see another film with an enormous CGI army. It was tolerable in The Two Towers because I'd never seen it before. It was passable in Troy because it was a giant legendary battle. It was boring as anything in The Return of the King though at least it provided a bathroom break. It was overkill and distracting in Alexander. Now, everyone else needs to stop it already and find a new, creative way of telling a big war story.
- Ditto on blood spurting out in battle scenes. There is absolutely no creativity in the filming of these scenes, from the stop-and-start action to the red filters to the wailing in the music. Ridley, you practically created this trend in Gladiator; instead of resting on your laurels, find new and interesting ways to do things!
- All heavy-handed moralizing about how maybe it would be better if Jerusalem had been taken apart stone by stone so no one could ever fight over it again is just fine with me. Big amen to that. One of the many reasons I like Orlando: Balian's speech about why defend Jerusalem is clumsily written but he manages to deliver it well anyway.
- Have I mentioned that David Thewlis is utterly fantastic? Though it's a good thing he's not actually a priest. Then I would feel guilty about wanting to shag him to Kingdom Come.
- Also, I believed that Liam was Orlando's father. This is a bit disturbing as I tend to think of Orlando as older than he is and Liam as younger than he is, and now I am trying to figure out exactly how two actors who really don't look much alike managed to convince me of their relation.
- When the cinematography is amazing, I can enjoy almost anything. Well, at least until it's overrun by CGI armies.
- There's always an ambivalence about watching a movie with an ostensibly anti-war theme that glorifies battle as much as Kingdom of Heaven. The ideas and the film's sensibilities are in conflict; I felt the same way about Gladiator, really, that there wasn't such an enormous difference between the general who ordered men to die in battle for Rome and the caesar who ordered men to die in the arena. I wonder why I can watch it in an ancient historical context but I have never made it through Black Hawk Down?
The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, where the body of Lord Nelson lay in state.
Oh yeah...Happy Mother's Day. *g*