The Little Review
Making No Compromises With the Public Taste
Poem for Tuesday 
Tuesday, 8th November 2005 12:18 am

By Craig Raine

It is shy as a gathered eyelet
neatly worked in shrinking violet
it is the dilating iris, tucked
away, a tightening throb when fucked

It is a soiled and puckered hem,
the golden treasury's privy purse.
With all the colours of a bruise,
it is the fleck of blood in albumen

I dreamed your body was an instrument
and this was the worn mouthpiece
to which my breathing lips were bent.

Each note pleaded to love a little longer,
longer, as though it was dying of hunger
I fed that famished mouth my ambergris


A friend of mine is working with Raine as an editor and that made me think of this poem, which is really just delightful. ETA: Was discussing sonnets with ldybastet and realized just how good this one is for all its seeming randomness -- most lines don't have ten syllables, let alone are they in iambic pentameter, the rhyme scheme is rather chaotic (A A B B C D D C E F E G G F). The two "perfect" lines, "I dreamed your body was an instrument" and "I fed that famished mouth my ambergris," might almost sound like cliches if they weren't about -- well, what they're about -- in gliding iambic pentameter. The meter calls attention to these "literary" lines, and the lines about the notes pleading to love a little longer are each a syllable too long. *g*

Not much to report about this Monday -- got my work done, went to the mall to pick up a couple of things, grabbed the Ritz Camera catalogue so I can do some research and then figure out where and whether I can get the camera I want cheaper from someone like Abe's of Maine, had rushed dinner because both kids got home late -- younger son has Mad Science after school on Mondays and older son has fencing in the evening -- watched part two of The Crescent and the Cross on the History Channel which I enjoyed more than the first part, perhaps because I knew more about the time period covered to begin with (Lionheart, he's an inspiration/Lionheart, to the English nation...did Blondel ever come out on CD in the UK? It never did here, and I have only an ancient vinyl recording bought for me in London by a relative! Will trade whatever anyone wants that I can get for it if the tracks exist in some other form!)

Anyway, re: The Crescent and the Cross, I had been so sure Morgan Freeman was narrating and actually it's Keith David...great voice, that man. I liked the way much of the history was told by actors playing storytellers of the era, William of Tyre and Ibn Al-Athir among them. I checked out the web site and the History Channel has provided a lot of resources for teachers and background reading...I wonder whether they had a deal with the Kingdom of Heaven distributors for simultaneous cross-marketing or whether they just hoped to ride the movie's DVD release coattails. In any case I enjoyed the special a lot and so did my kids.

Trek news for the day was old interviews with Dominic Keating and Kim Darby, but the really entertaining bullet my husband sent to me was James Spader bringing William Shatner as his date to the Rolling Stones concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday! Have realized that Threshold is not moving opposite Commander in Chief after all -- that's the good news -- because it's moving to 10 p.m. Tuesdays, not its current time slot of 9 p.m., but that puts it opposite Boston Legal, another show I am not willing to give up! I'd ditch Veronica Mars in a heartbeat and I'm already not watching Desperate Housewives! Oh, CBS, why do you do this to me!

The chapel in the woods at the Grotto of Lourdes of Emmitsburg, Maryland.

It would be impossible to overstate how beautiful this national shrine is, wrapped in trees on a hillside. Here you can see the fall color. There are equally stunning photos on the web site of the area in the spring when everything is in bloom.

On the approach to the grotto itself, after passing the Stations of the Cross...

...and within the stones, hundreds of memorial candles burning back in the dark cavern.

A natural spring feeds this spigot. I always think of little glass-stoppered bottles as the appropriate receptacle for water from a sacred spring but people had brought big empty plastic containers to fill.

Here's a view of the back of the chapel with a statue of Mother Seton. There is a much larger (and more accessible) glass-walled chapel near the parking lot, but it doesn't have the charm of this one.

I'll post some of the images of Our Lady tomorrow -- all copies of more famous works of art, but the advantage of that is that the sculptures and mosaics can be set outdoors amidst these trees.
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