The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Monday


The Fascination of What's Difficult
By William Butler Yeats


The fascination of what's difficult
Has dried the sap out of my veins, and rent
Spontaneous joy and natural content
Out of my heart. There's something ails our colt
That must, as if it had not holy blood
Nor on Olympus leaped from cloud to cloud,
Shiver under the lash, strain, sweat and jolt
As though it dragged road-metal. My curse on plays
That have to be set up in fifty ways,
On the day's war with every knave and dolt,
Theatre business, management of men.
I swear before the door comes round again
I'll find the stable and pull out the bolt.

--------

A follow-up from yesterday's poem, also from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "This poem surprises me a little every time I read it, because it says so little, explicitly, about the difficulty that really fascinates Yeats, as it fascinated Michelangelo: the supreme difficulty of art," he writes. "Instead, Yeats is more specific about the cursed business of plays, knaves, dolts, management. All those other, minor difficulties point toward the ultimate, major difficulty: creating something that hadn't existed before. The winged horse of poetry, which he dreams of setting free, seems almost sacred -- too important to be named."

I know I promised more Annapolis photos but tonight you get a break because we took our annual trip to Butler's Orchard for Lammas to pick blueberries. This year they were rotating the fields, so instead of letting us drive up and park right next to the blueberry patch they made everyone park on a hillside and take a tractor ride to the blueberries, which was lots of fun as the tractors are bumpy and it was like a free hayride without the hay. It was hot, but somewhat overcast so not beastly as it's supposed to be again later in the week, which I was happy about because my head feels somewhat gross, having caught my charming husband's cold.

Since we were already up north of Gaithersburg, we stopped in a few stores on the way home -- Special Treasures, the metaphysical bookstore in the middle of downtown Gaithersburg, and Best Buy because the kids were looking for a video game they didn't find and Office Depot because they had blank CDs on sale. I wrote a couple of unenthralling articles and discovered that creedysgirl had drawn Gary Oldman! We were going to go to Baltimore tonight to see the free production of Much Ado About Nothing in the park by the science center, but between my cold, apaulled's cold, the kids being tired from being out all afternoon and the fact that we've never even shown them the Branagh-Thompson movie and I think Shakespeare is often easier to watch for the first time live when one is already familiar with the play, so we stayed home and watched the Bride and Prejudice extras and read more Harry Potter (one son read ahead and has finished HBP; the other still wants me to read to him). Tomorrow they have plans with a friend to play video games all day so hopefully I will get more work done!


Blueberries!


The ride to the patch.


Only about half the berries were ripe; the wet growing season appears to be making for a great crop. One wants to pick the very blue ones as above, but I love the range of color while they're growing.


The unwashed loot, some of which we had in pancakes for dinner, and half of which will soon be in pies for the grandparents.


We were not the only ones interested in the berries -- there was much beetle-mating going on. *g*
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