The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

By Kabir
Translated by Robert Bly

I have been thinking of the difference
between water
and the waves on it. Rising,
water's still water, falling back,
it is water, will you give me a hint
how to tell them apart?

Because someone has made up the word
"wave," do I have to distinguish it
from water?

There is a Secret One inside us;
the planets in all the galaxies
pass through his hands like beads.

That is a string of beads one should look at with
luminous eyes.


We did go downtown to the Asian Games exhibition at the Sackler Gallery, which I would recommend highly except today was the last day. My husband is something of a board game collector -- I don't mean rare beautiful ones, I mean twelve dozen versions of games from his childhood, war games, media tie-in games, etc. *g* -- whereas I wanted to see the evolution of playing cards. The exhibit was set up wonderfully for kids, as there were design-your-own-game-board activities and a roomful of tables set up for chess, checkers, pachisi and go. It wasn't a very large exhibit but the carved chess pieces and embroidered boards were astonishing, as were the hand-painted cards (Jui Guoliang's contemporary Chinese Tarot simply does not do the tradition justice). We also walked around the Sackler and Freer Galleries a bit, including an exhibit of small Whistler paintings, and since we were parked across the National Mall we went through the gardens behind the Smithsonian Castle.

We had to get home by four because younger son had soccer practice, so we drove along the river, where there were many herons, Canadian geese with goslings and the usual array of ducks and gulls. After dinner we all watched the second half of Longitude, which is even better than the first half -- much more emotional, the two halves of the story mesh much better (the swing back and forth between the 1700s and 1900s accomplished through more interesting transitions and Irons as always is wonderful) and I love the bits at sea and with the royal family. Also, no one told me Daragh O'Malley was a ship captain! And I was just watching a Sharpe documentary this morning and was so excited to see him!

Then after the kids went to bed I watched Desperate Housewives, and I can say conclusively that I watch that show comfortably because I dislike every single one of the characters. Even Lynette...maybe especially Lynette at this point. Susan is such an idiot, I am always shouting at her on the screen. The ones who seem to have legitimate grievances and vengeance quests are such bitter, manipulative people that it's impossible for me to feel compassion for them, and the ones who seem to be judged unfairly aren't particularly likeable or virtuous. As a result, I have no anxiety whatsoever about whatever will happen -- whoever is guilty, whoever is innocent, whoever gets killed, whoever ends up dating a totally horrible person because of manipulation, even whichever kids end up messed up by their parents, I don't particularly care. But when the principal mysteries of this season are solved I cannot imagine what could make me continue to watch.

And on a completely unrelated note: cordelia_v sent me to Red Hen Publications. It is, as she says, the ultimate strictly canon HP essay site. The essays on Snape are wonderful even in places where I don't agree with his conclusions about where he suspects Rowling will go with the information she's given us. Make sure to read "Double-00 Sevie" and "The Pensieve Gambit."

Pottery and ceramic weights and tomb models of game players from the Han dynasty. Photography was not permitted in most of the rooms of the gallery, so unfortunately I have none of the playing cards or outdoor games; these were all in the area around the game room where people could play checkers, chess, etc. and there was no flash allowed anywhere, so some of them are rather blurred.

A chess set from India's Mughal period made from decorated citrine.

Carved chess pieces from 19th century India. The companion set was red.

Toyohara Kunichika's e-sugoroku Treasure Ship, circa 1860 Japan.

A citrus tree design ban-sugoroku board, along with a container and pieces.

An 1800 Maharashtra Snakes and Ladders board.

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