Bantams in Pine-Woods
By Wallace Stevens
Chieftain Iffucan of Azcan in caftan
Of tan with henna hackles, halt!
Damned universal cock, as if the sun
Was blackamoor to bear your blazing tail.
Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat! I am the personal.
Your world is you. I am my world.
You ten-foot poet among inchlings. Fat!
Begone! An inchling bristles in these pines,
Bristles, and points their Appalachian tangs,
And fears not portly Azcan nor his hoos.
Another Stevens poem from this week's Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. "By writing a profound poem that also resembles a playground rhyme, with a ribald joke in it, Stevens comments on the grandiose or pompous nature of formulation," writes Robert Pinsky. "In a way that is characteristic of poetry, he lets us both feel moved by the language and enjoy it as ridiculous. His lines are as gorgeous and fierce and silly as the feathers of his rooster...this is the language of animal pedigrees, of poetry, and of the chants we enjoy and respond to even before we begin thinking about them."
Sunday our plan was to sleep in, but the hotel only serves breakfast till 9, so since we were up and fed and ready to go at 9:30 we went to the celebration for apaulled's grandmother's 90th birthday at her church. This is my father-in-law's mother; he was the oldest of five children, though one of them passed away a few years ago and his widow could not attend, though we are all still close with her. Granny lives with the middle daughter and husband (my husband's Aunt Jean and Uncle Bob) outside Seattle, so they were there along with my in-laws, as was the youngest daughter (whose husband and son could not attend for reasons too horrific to go into), Jean and Bob's younger son and his wife, Jean and Bob's other daughter-in-law and her three children (her husband, Jean and Bob's son Todd, manages a minor league baseball team and could not get away). My husband's youngest brother, his wife and their twin toddlers were there as well (his middle brother just opened a restaurant in Los Angeles and has been swamped). We missed the actual church portion of the church reception and were just there for the cake and celebration so that was very nice!
Then we went downtown and met chrismm, whom I last saw at the Seattle Zoo two years ago; this time we went to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, something apaulled and I have wanted to see since it opened! There were unfortunately no photos allowed inside -- it's housed in the infamous Experience Music Project complex, one of the most interesting buildings I have ever seen, which people either adore or utterly loathe and which is also the brainchild of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen. Fortunately for us less wealthy geeks, Allen is a rabid Star Trek fan and had amassed a phenomenal collection including Shatner's and Nimoy's uniforms, Kirk's chair from the bridge, a host of phasers, communicators, bat'leths, etc.
The book collection is also wonderful, and there's an interactive starship exhibit where the kids made numerous famous vessels fly by one another (the Enterprise, Moya, E.T.'s ship and an X-wing all together!), plus at least a dozen other video screens including a round one near the entrance that shows clips from dozens of movies and TV shows; a discussion of the worlds of The Matrix, The Jetsons and Blade Runner by film critics; interviews with writers about zines and fandom; a Lost in Space episode; Spielberg discussing alien tech; Cameron discussing Aliens; and I can't even remember what else, but these are interspersed among various costumes, weapons, movie posters and stills, props, plus the entire enormous alien from Alien vs. Predator, a full-size stormtrooper, Robby the Robot, Schwarzenegger's Terminator costume, Fonda's Barbarella gun and far more besides than I can recall at the moment. There's quite a decent collection of SF by women, which pleases me, and a curious history of SF timeline with world events worked in that I'd love to know who authored.
The kids had wanted to play in the International Fountain, but it was turned off for repairs (and it was a cool gorgeous day besides) so after lunch at a food court -- the usual chaos where everyone wanted to eat something from a different stall -- we walked over to the fountain, which is in a courtyard between the city ballet and the Key Arena where the Supersonics and WNBA champion Storm play. Then we said farewell to chrismm and went back to the hotel so the kids could swim for awhile before the dinner barbecue in honor of Granny attended by all the relatives in town. Jean and Bob have a big house with a good-sized yard so the kids could run around without getting into things, and when it started to rain late in the evening, the kids went down the basement to play Xbox and Transformers while the adults sat around talking!
The Space Needle behind the pirate ship ride at the Fun Forest Amusement Park in Seattle Center. Arrrr!
Monday there will be another big celebration for Granny at the church and then a family dinner, so the report may be entirely domestic!