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


This Was Once a Love Poem
By Jane Hirshfield


This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.

It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.

Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.

Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the fair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.

IT spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.

The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.

Yes, it decides:
Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots.
When it finds itself disquieted
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them—one, then another—
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.

--------

I had one of those "not sure where today went" days...well, actually I am sure of where of a lot of today went, I spent it writing, but it still feels like there were fewer hours than there should have been, which I've felt like since daylight savings time ended. I want my hour of light in the evening back! Took a walk before dinner in the gorgeous 50something degree weather, saw a fox, smelled the leaves, felt generally good but it feels like part of the day was bitten off and Thursday I have one of those absurdly early days where hubby has to be at work at ten to seven (Bangalore does not observe daylight savings time and they still need phone conferences) so I have to be not only awake but the solely functioning person in the house before then.

Younger son has become obsessed with Dragonology and has presented a revised Chanukah list including a dragon blanket, dragon slippers, a dragon mask, a dragon wand...we are no longer getting whining about the $100 Bionicles but the list is no less terrifying. And there is too much chocolate in the house! I can't even give it away because technically it belongs to my children, but it sits in the kitchen or the storage room when I take it and hide it and sings my name all day! Where is there no exercise that tastes like chocolate! It's not fair!

Not much other news. Forgot to turn on Veronica Mars until fifteen minutes in, only to discover that it was a rerun; watched the Rome I couldn't watch on Sunday because my kids were still awake and continued to find it a delicious guilty pleasure -- now in addition to the orgies and older woman-younger woman lesbian sex, there's sibling incest! They just know how to push all my buttons! Have been very slowly reading The Historian -- slowly because I've had almost no time in the week leading up to Halloween, when I decided I was in the mood for a Dracula retelling, and I didn't read on the long car rides this weekend because I was looking at the window at the leaves, but what I've read so far is terrific and I am enjoying it enormously.

Oh, and from Bill Maher: "George Takei came out of the closet. He said he was afraid to do so before because it might hurt his career, but then he remembered that he hasn't worked since 1969." This is incredibly mean and wrong and cracked me up anyway. (TrekToday news for the day was Bobbi Sue Luther, the Orion Slave Girl, who it turns out is a graduate of the University of Maryland. When I taught there, they didn't give degrees in slave girl skills!)


The ruins of the mansion at Gathland State Park, formerly home of Gath, the Civil War journalist George Alfred Townsend who had the War Correspondents' Arch erected on the site of the Crampton's Gap battlefield.


The lodge, now part of the Civil War museum on the Gathland site.


The ruins of Gath's library and den, a literary retreat built as a sanctuary at some distance from the main house. Eventually the library included a winter residence with 11 bedrooms and a bath.


And here is the War Correspondents' Arch again, the most famous sight for visitors at Gathland, though it was erected long after the Battle of South Mountain which made the region nationally significant.
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