The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday

By William Empson

It is the pain, it is the pain endures.
Your chemic beauty burned my muscles through.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

What later purge from this deep toxin cures?
What kindness now could the old salve renew?
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.

The infection slept (custom or changes inures)
And when pain's secondary phase was due
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

How safe I felt, whom memory assures,
Rich that your grace safely by heart I knew.
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.

My stare drank deep beauty that still allures.
My heart pumps yet the poison draught of you.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

You are still kind whom the same shape immures.
Kind and beyond adieu. We miss our cue.
It is the pain, it is the pain endures.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.


Michael Dirda writes a column each week for The Washington Post Book World. This week it's on a biography of Empson, whom Dirda calls "the greatest English literary critic of the 20th century." Dirda notes that even the worst of novelists is generally remembered longer than the best of critics, and notes that Empson is all but forgotten: "Occasionally, his first and most famous book still faintly registers in older memories: Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930)...Empson's later critical works -- as casually brilliant, wayward and commonsensical as the man himself -- are even less often recalled...yet each of these can be legitimately claimed as his masterpiece." He published a small number of poems as well, "notorious for its gnarled syntax, multilayered allusions to modern science and haunting verbal melodies...suffused with real melancholy and heartache, as well as a stoic determination 'to learn a style from a despair.'"

We had a quiet Monday after a hectic weekend. Older son refused to wake up till 10:30, no one had breakfast before 11, we went hiking at Locust Grove, then stopped at the food store and brought stuff home for a very late lunch. In the afternoon I wrote a bunch of articles while the kids entertained one another, then we had dinner and watched the pilot of Wildfire because I've written three articles on it for TrekToday so I know all about it and I could not resist the combination of Nana Visitor and Michael Piller even though I suspected it would be a WB clone young teen chick flick, which it was...not that that bothered me particularly, as there was lots of pretty outdoor scenery, a likeable lead even if she doesn't have all that much range yet, Dennis Weaver in the Chris Cooper role from Seabiscuit, the very hot Greg Serano as the oh-this-is-wrong-he's-the-father-figure-I-should-not-be-shipping-them mentor, and Nana, who is pretty much incapable of not being good.

My father called during the 9 p.m. commercial set to tell us to turn on USA, and there was William Shatner singing "My Way" at the George Lucas AFI tribute that I've had to write up but did not realize was going to be televised. So as soon as Wildfire was over, we put it on, just in time to hear Bill Murray singing "Star Wars, gotta watch Star Wars..." from that Saturday Night Live clip. There was lots of other fun, including Harrison Ford explaining that he has his current life (including Calista Flockhart, who unfortunately showed up in practically every shot of Lucas, as George was sitting between Harrison and Steven Spielberg and it's so hard not to slash those three and Calista was on Harrison's other side) because Tom Selleck, George's first choice to play Indiana Jones though Steven favored Harrison, couldn't get out of doing Magnum P.I. (so we all owe that Magnum P.I. producer thanks!) Just about everyone else in Hollywood was on the special, including Carrie Fisher, Richard Dreyfuss, Jimmy Smits, Tom Hanks, Warren&Annette, John Williams, Ron Howard, and Peter Jackson having lost so much weight that he looks like Dominic Monaghan - now we know which was his Mary Sue hobbit. *snerk* Anyway, the show reruns and we started taping it at 11 because this one is definitely a keeper for the Shatner and stormtrooper Rockettes line alone.

P.S.A.: dark_cygnet has informed me that not everyone knows that there are USB-powered vibrators. So I am doing my civic duty and informing all my fic-reading friends. *g* Speaking of porn, I was told by an evil influence that I had to do this month's hp_squick, and I am embarrassed that I capitulated so I will just warn everyone to check the challenge and then decide if you want to look at the comm or not (mine's still the newest entry I think). I realized today that I am still insane (of all the things I've lost this year, I miss my mind the most) because I was wondering why I have never seen a Harry Potter songvid to Styx's "Fooling Yourself." And I have just discovered that my trip to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula will miss Tall Ships Tacoma 2005 by a day -- someone please go and take pictures for me!

Children in the stocks outside the reconstructed State House. The original was built in 1676. (That food truck and tent in the background were there for the maritime heritage festival and are not usual features at Historic St. Mary's City!)

This was the first capital of Maryland, before Annapolis was built, where the first African-American served in a US assembly. It was reconstructed in 1934.

The historic graveyard beyond the state house, seen from one of its windows.

The volunteer militia between musters. They discussed tactics and fired those rifles.

The kitchen at Smith's Ordinary, which could sleep eight upstairs and another eight downstairs with the tables pushed into the corners and bedrolls spread on the floor. This was high-class accomodation -- look at the real glass in the window.

Outside of Smith's Ordinary, one of the reenactors roasts a chicken on a spit. Behind him is the frame of the original printer's shop which will be rebuilt on the site after excavation is completed; they're still finding letters and numbers.

Wolf and bear skins hanging in one of the Woodland Indian homes.

Part of the Maryland 350th Anniversary quilt in the visitor's center -- the state bird and flower, the first church and state house, and the Ark and the Dove which brought the Calvert colony from England to St. Mary's.

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