For the Twentieth Century
By Frank Bidart
Bound, hungry to pluck again from the thousand
technologies of ecstasy
boundlessness, the world that at a drop of water
rises without boundaries,
I push the PLAY button:--
...Callas, Laurel & Hardy, Szigeti
you are alive again,--
the slow movement of K.218
once again no longer
bland, merely pretty, nearly
banal, as it is
in all but Szigeti's hands
Therefore you and I and Mozart
must thank the Twentieth Century, for
it made you pattern, form
repeatability within matter
Malibran. Henry Irving. The young
Joachim. They are lost, a mountain of
newspaper clippings, become words
not their own words. The art of the performer.
From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "It is thrilling when a poet embraces the largest subjects, compressing into a minute or two of human breath issues and feelings that might dominate an opera stage or occupy a thick scholarly book...Frank Bidart has always undertaken that largeness of scope," he writes. "His new book, Star Dust, begins with this poem, which is about the nature of art and the contribution of technology. Without fuss or wasted gesture, Bidart defies conventional limits of what a poem can undertake, and what a poem should undertake...the poem is as audacious and cunning as its title. It is about recorded music, in general and particular. It is also about the boundlessness of art, the realm where Laurel and Hardy are as great in their metier as violinist Joseph Szigeti is in his. The poem is also about mortality -- again, in general as part of human life and in particular: The work of performers whose creations preceded recording technologies is mortal, as later work is not."
My son had his last soccer game of the season today, and they played very well -- he played very well in particular. It has been a rough season; after winning the regional title last spring, the three best players on his team (who are very competitive) moved up to the county select team, and after an undefeated season, they lost more games than they won. That was the bad news; the good news is that with the really competitive kids gone, the kids who have never particularly enjoyed playing soccer have had a chance to shine, so for instance the son of my sister's college roommate who has taken over at goalie had a wonderful time after never caring if he missed a game or a practice before. Instead of trying to arrange a big sit-down dinner this time, we all just went to Baskin Robbins and everyone was very relaxed and had a good time.
Other than stopping at the card store to get new plastic boxes for their Magic: The Gathering cards and stopping at the food store for necessities, that was the extent of excitement. When we got back we spent several hours helping the kids clean their rooms, a hopeless task under the best of circumstances. I wrote three articles, including one on tributes to Michael Piller that made me sad and one on a new mobile phone Star Trek game that made me snort, and we have been watching assorted college football games (my alma mater the University of Pennsylvania lost to Princeton, which would be a cause for greater woe had they not lost to Brown last weekend, thus ensuring that they weren't going to win the Ivy title anyway -- I know heidi8 shares my pain). Am still loving The Historian and wishing I had an enormous penis. *whistles*
On the field below, another game was being played, and on the field behind, yet another.
One of the mothers made a soccer cake, and everyone got ice cream and patches.
And what is an ice cream party without kids with cones shoved in their faces?
Tomorrow is supposed to be yet another close-to-70-degree day so we are planning to go climb in Catoctin National Park (since Bush is still out of the country and not at Camp David, we are assuming that all routes will be open). Cunningham Falls State Park borders it so we might go there too. The trees up there are magnificent at this time of year as well.