By Dana Goodyear
Take me to your sleeping porch!
Cross-breeze. Swiss dot. View.
We'll try for some rude
do what young people do.
Or, I'll point out scenery,
the more expensive property.
A slurry beach.
An empty breach.
Thick, eggish water breaking
on the boring, boring shore.
Is everything defective here?
There are men downstairs who think
that gin's a breakfast drink.
I mean to say: It's May.
Let's find an outdoor shower.
From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "Sometimes a poem works by implying a story, suggesting in a few speakable or singable words what a fictional prose narrative might stretch over dozens or hundreds of pages," he writes. "That is part of the thrill provided by a classic anonymous quatrain:
Western wind, when will thou blow,
The small rain down can rain?
Christ, if my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!
Instead of detailed description of the two characters -- the mission or circumstance that separates the couple, their garments and relatives and dwellings and histories -- we have this rapid movement from the yearned-for wind and rain, leaping from the exclamation or prayer ("Christ") to the even more yearned-for reuniting in bed. The poem skims across the high points of what a novel or movie would build up carefully, at length."
Pinsky adds that it's not difficult to imagine a short story, "thick with characters' names and scenes and dialogue" that Goodyear might have written in lieu of the poem at the top. "Instead of the streets in Wellfleet or Hyannis, or descriptions of red-nosed drunken uncles in swimming trunks, we receive a flash of essences...the speed generates an impatience that dramatizes 'boring, boring' and 'defective' without lingering over them. The desire to escape from timeworn social structures of pleasure zips ahead to the conclusion."
This morning we were awoken ridiculously early by a cat dive-bombing across the bed, after which we both realized that we were listening to pouring rain outside. That had not been in the forecast -- slightly overcast, perhaps an afternoon shower, but mostly warm and sunny was what we'd gone to bed expecting. When it was still raining quite heavily by 10:30 we decided that perhaps we had better wait to go to the Renaissance Faire until we had weather in which we'd enjoy it more. We thought about waiting for it to clear up and then going to the Baltimore Zoo after lunch, and had even called my father to make plans to take him since my mother is visiting my sister, but when we walked out the door it started to pour again and we ended up not doing anything exciting but instead buying the last of the school supplies that we were sure we had around here somewhere (how can we not have a protractor?) and getting haircuts.
Near the hair place (Cartoon Cuts, still -- cheapest cuts in town and Elli does a great job) is Congressional Aquarium, which is where tonight's photos come from:
This last one is of a pair of shark eggs. You can see the fetal sharks inside; they were wriggling.
Otherwise we came home, made the kids finish the last of their summer homework before letting them play Nintendogs, had dinner and had a pretty mellow evening. Forgot to post a link Friday to my "Balance of Terror" review; Saturday my articles were just more Las Vegas coverage. Tomorrow if the weather is tolerable we're going to try for the zoo again. Otherwise it might end up being a quiet weekend!