The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

Reverie in Open Air
By Rita Dove

I acknowledge my status as a stranger:
Inappropriate clothes, odd habits
Out of sync with wasp and wren.
I admit I don't know how
To sit still or move without purpose.
I prefer books to moonlight, statuary to trees.

But this lawn has been leveled for looking,
So I kick off my sandals and walk its cool green.
Who claims we're mere muscle and fluids?
My feet are the primitives here.
As for the rest--ah, the air now
Is a tonic of absence, bearing nothing
But news of a breeze.


Another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "In American Smooth, dance, that flirtatious and stylized play of body and soul, is both figurative and literal. Not that there is never an actual dance or a love partner, but that the poems are about a kind of self-hood: informal, capricious, reflective, ornery, improvisatory -- that is, American," he writes. "The insouciant, engaged mind and its feet go where they will, Whitman-style, not mistaking themselves for 'natural' on the one hand or purely intellectual on the other -- and the reader is invited to follow the steps."

We spent the entire day in the Renaissance, driving an hour and a half from Hanover to the Shire of Mount Hope to listen to music, watch theater and revelry, eat turkey legs, cheese sticks and things dipped in chocolate, watch crafts being made, clap along for jugglers and belly dancers and cheer at the joust (mostly for Sir Eric, the Scottish knight fighting for Ireland and Grace O'Malley, though we were a bit sympathetic to the Queen's champion Sir Lucas as he was wearing burgundy and gold -- the colors of the Washington Redskins -- while Sir Eric was wearing purple and white, the colors of the Baltimore Ravens). We saw comic whip work by Don Juan and Miguel, a Pirate Brawl that ended with everyone in a dunking pool, fire-juggling by the Tartan Terrors, pirate magic by Eric Dasher, music by the Burly Minstrels and numerous wandering clowns and performers, plus a swordsmith's shop in a pirate ship, any number of Celtic jewelry designers and period clothing that was not too swelteringly hot as it was under 80 on the shaded grounds.

There could not have been a nicer place to spend a day out of time, nor a nicer time to do it. I love the grounds of the Maryland Renaissance Festival but the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire has a lot to recommend it: a bookstore in the church building (we met the Archbishop of Canterbury), a glass-blowing studio with regular demonstrations, mazes and rides for younger children, several incense and soap stores that make everything around them smell good, and smoked almond and strudel stands that do the same. We left after the late joust and dragon auction (our kids had already acquired very small dragon puppets but were determined to try to win the $100+ variety), drove home watching one of the miraculous sunsets that this part of Pennsylvania seems to have regularly, and ate a very late dinner consisting of breakfast food since we ate lunch early in the morning and dinner-type stuff in the mid-afternoon. Tonight, joust photos (last year's are here); I'll get to the rest of the Faire and the zoo later in the week.

Sir Eric and Sir Lucas were very evenly matched in the early rounds...

...eventually knocking and dragging one another off their horses...

...and fighting with swords and axes.

Fiery Sir Eric addressed the crowd throughout and scoffed at British claims of chivalry...

...while Sir Lucas, initially very proper and prayerful, resorted to WWE Smackdown! tactics when threatened.

The evening joust-to-the-death resulted in a draw which led to a fight between the English and Irish...

...resulting in this violence from which the Queen had to be protected.

She made a plea to the Lord Deputy of Ireland to spare the life of Grace O'Malley, and order was restored.

Will stress out about Rehnquist when I get home tomorrow. For now I am still on vacation.

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