The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Sunday


From "Up Home Where I Come From"
By Dick Barnes


Roy Smith ran traps for furs
but a hawk got caught in one of them

spreading its wings, there in the trap
turning its sharp beak toward him

as he came to get it out, its glaring eyes so deep
they seemed to open onto another world in there

and steady: thus the hawk in times past
came to be an image of aristocracy.


...That wildness

is what we can know of dignity.
We aspire to it ourselves but seldom --

seldom. Nailed to the tree
Jesus must have been as still as that,

as wild. And I'd say
that was the right way to be, there.

Later it got well and he let it go,
our hearts leapt up when we saw it

living somehow in the wild with its one leg:
in its life we felt forgiven.

Probably it learned to pin its prey to the ground
and eat there, running that risk.

Risen, that was one thing Jesus did too:
showed he was alive and could still eat.

--------

From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World on Barnes, "who died in 2000 at the age of 68 without having garnered much in the way of awards or fame. A native Californian, Barnes knew classic poetry. He also knew the speech and ways of rural people. Both kinds of knowledge give conviction to his poem 'Up Home Where I Come From'...unshowy art underlies the simple telling, the naturalness of the language, a voice that can say 'another world in there' as naturally as 'thus the hawk in times past.'

The narrative says that one leg hung by a tendon but 'with his sharp pocketknife/ Roy cut it off and left it lay// But brought the hawk home/ to feed it til it got well.'" The first reference to Jesus, adds Pinksy, "seems daring, maybe even for a moment a false step -- can such an allusion be appropriate? But after the vision of the damaged hawk surviving and 'our' feeling of elation and forgiveness, the second reference to Jesus is triumphant, with its plain words, mainly of one syllable. The starkness and understatement in those last two lines counterbalance the wit -- a grave, serene wit like that of George Herbert and Emily Dickinson -- that chooses a word that applies to the anecdote of the bird and the story of Jesus: 'risen.' This is the work of a masterful poet, restrained and bold in the right places and the right ways."

Have spent a glorious Saturday at the Maryland Renaissance Festival where we had spectacular weather, saw everything we wanted to see despite enormous crowds (some of the people in the shows said it was the most crowded day at the Faire they had ever seen), ate extremely well and finally managed to meet sparowe! We sat in traffic for a full hour after coming off the highway to Annapolis, but once we made it into the parking lot (later than we had planned -- too late to see Maggie Sansone onstage though we got lucky as she was playing the hammered dulcimer in White Stag Grove where we had lunch and chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick. We went to see the royal court where Princess Mary was trying to return to her father Henry VIII's good graces, then to Macbeth in 20 Minutes by Shakespeare's Skum which was utterly hilarious and featured several Star Trek jokes (because how can you do the Scottish play without a memorial tribute to Scotty, really?)

From there we made our way to the Human Chess Game, mostly to be certain that we would have decent seats for the joust on this extremely crowded Faire day. We stopped in a number of shoppes along the way and my kids are now the proud owners of wooden daggers...plus younger son found a small stuffed dragon that looks like the one from The Dragon in the Clock Box but is yellow like a banana slug, so of course it is named Banana Slug. I am rather clueless about who won the Human Chess Game, which always features more swordplay and Wrestlemania-style fighting than I can follow -- it was whoever was Red, which I think may have been Queen Jane's cousin's color, but I don't swear to anything! Then we saw the Free Lancers joust. The arena at the Maryland faire is smaller than the one in Pennsylvania and the stage is not nearly as impressive for court theatrics, but the emphasis is more on riding and skill here and because the arena is smaller, every seat is so much closer to the horses, which are huge! The joust was fantastic (though again I am not positive that the knight from my cheering section won) and now I have met several squires in person. Insert "Does your wife, squire..." joke here, as it leads in nicely to...

...Fight School, which we then went to see. Same show as last year ("Reloaded"), still hilarious -- lirpa battle, numerous jokes from Monty Python, The Princess Bride, beer commercials, etc. (Macbeth had mysteriously acquired a reference to saving a bunch of money on his car insurance), interspersed with some slow motion and "fight speed" demonstrations of the battle axe, belaying pin, cutlass, kitana, dagger and old-fashioned bar room brawl where the priority is not to spill the beer while knocking your enemies down. At this point the kids were hungry so we made a loop past the maze and games of skill (kids tried firing crossbows) back to the food booths, where several of us had soup in bread bowls and others had smoked turkey legs. I was well-behaved and the only thing I bought was some wonderful smelling spice creme in a handmade jug. Took over 100 photos, have not sized them all yet, so bear with me...and I shall wait for sparowe to help me caption the joust photos properly!


Knights break lances and send pieces of wood flying into the air during the 4 p.m. joust at the arena. I was shooting directly into the sun, so the colors are blasted out on all my field photos -- sorry!


I need sparowe! Is this Don Martino Fernandez? Anyway, a hot knight on a hot horse. *g*


Henry VIII and Jane Seymour share a private moment before Princess Mary comes to request to return to her father's court...an event interrupted by Jane's announcement of her pregnancy. (I thought it was her pregnancy that precipitated Henry having Anne Boleyn's head chopped off, so he could remarry quickly and make the potential heir legitimate, which would have been before Mary's return to court...)


The Scottish Play. Believe it or not, these are Macbeth, Banquo and the three witches. Don't worry, it works. *g*


The Human Chess Game. This was apparently a competition to determine the rightful sheriff of some shire or other.


Fight School! These two soon tossed aside their foils in favor of the lirpa.


Maggie Sansone plays the hammered dulcimer in front of a musical shoppe.
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Tomorrow we all must get up and go to Hebrew school as younger son's class is going to pick apples for the hungry for Sukkot. There is supposed to be gorgeous weather again. Oh, one more thing. There is a photo here in ar_daily of Rickman, Radcliffe and Grint in costume on the set of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire cracking up. It made me squee so loudly my kids came to see.
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