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

Poem for Monday


Fire
By Meleager
Translated by Sherod Santos


It was midafternoon when I saw Alexis
loitering in the marketplace, the late-
season harvest of fruits and vegetables
heaped in panniers and wooden tubs.

And while the world seemed all of overfill,
standing out in that shadeless square
I got burned twice, once by the sun
and once by the way he glanced at me.

Even so, the dark was little comfort
when it finally came, for though the sun
was safely laid to rest, my dreams
refreshed the lifelong memory of that scald

across my cheek, the elemental mark
that burns from appetite and carnal fire.

--------

Another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World on American poet Sherod Santos' new book Greek Lyric Poetry: A New Translation. "The singular of 'a' translation (rather than 'new translations') indicates that this book is meant as a work of art: In it, a single approach, even something like a single voice, unifies works by many different poets over many centuries," writes Pinsky. "For all, Santos creates an idiom based on plain American English, with only touches of special vocabulary, like 'panniers' in Meleager's poem about a quick, lasting erotic burn. Much later than Meleager, long before Sherod Santos, the European conventions of the sonnet form described love as burning, contracted from the painful, sudden enchantment of a glance. By arranging his translation, quite anachronistically, in the 14-line pattern of a sonnet, Santos calls attention to the underground streams that connect any reader to this ancient, yet immediate, sunlit scene."

I don't have quite as much to babble about today as yesterday. *g* We half-watched the beginning of Batman and Robin when we stumbled across it on cable this morning, and I'd forgotten how much fun it is: George Clooney/Chris O'Donnell! John Glover/Uma Thurman! Then, after we picked the kids up from Hebrew school, we went hiking at Gulf Branch Nature Center in Virginia, where there is a small nature center with a local history display including a tulip tree canoe and an exhibit on the Powhatan confederacy and culture. It was a gorgeous day again, not quite so warm as yesterday but perfect walking weather. When we came home to watch the football games, the kids went to a friend's house for awhile so I wrote news bullets while hubby cooked (since we have a TV in the kitchen, he tends to make big dinners on nights when there are sports to watch!)

Tonight's West Wing did not enthrall me, as I felt lectured to about the dangers of nuclear power rather than shown a dramatization. It did let CJ say that priceless line early on when Bartlet asks how to speed up an evacuation of Southern California in the case of a reactor meltdown and she replies that telling people you're about to vent radioactive material into the atmosphere will generally speed it up, and she had some lovely moments near the end too facing the tragedy of the situation, but overall I felt that I was being shown far too much of the nobility of Santos and Vinick and an utterly unrealistic press corps that sat on information purely in the hope of breaking it dramatically. Oh, and Josh is a shit and Donna can do better...but I've been saying that for years now, and since she doesn't seem to give a rat's ass, I suppose it must really be True Love or something. (I mean, Matt can probably do better too and I still think Josh should tell Matt how he feels!)

Then we watched Bleak House on Masterpiece Theatre. Now, I have never read Bleak House -- I am not a big fan of the 19th century English novel, not even the ones by women that I am supposed to worship as proto-feminist (I despise George Eliot, barely made it through most Austen, have never liked the Brontes...and I don't particularly enjoy Harding, Thackeray, etc.) Dickens is my exception but Bleak House was the one I managed to miss. So I have no idea what is coming, and I am quite frankly enthralled and cannot wait! Not only is this production wonderfully acted but it plays like a gripping murder mystery, not English literature. We were making guesses about many plot points -- correctly, in a few cases, as this seems to be the prototype for many inferior later stories, and I'm willing to make bets on who is whose illegitimate child and who will end up dead before the story ends (just please tell me that all the lawyers get what Shakespeare says they deserve), but I never expected it to be so much fun!

We were just watching Battlefield Britain on Wales and the long Welsh struggle for independence, which was quite interesting but much more dry. And in and around all this, I occasionally paid attention to the two rather boring blowout playoff games. I had no really strong feelings about either one, but I am glad Seattle won since they beat the Redskins and it's always less embarrassing to have lost to a winner than a loser, and I am glad Pittsburgh won because they so clearly deserved it. At the Super Bowl party thrown by my very oldest friend that we go to every year, everyone must bet a dollar in the pool, picking the winning team and the total score -- one year my younger son won -- so now I must figure out who is likely to win and by how much and how well each defense will play!


The bees of Gulf Branch Nature Center in Arlington, Virginia, which are apparently all-season bees...


...traveling outdoors through this tube...


...to look for whatever pollen they can find at this time of year.
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Kids are off school tomorrow for teachers' meetings and I think I am being forced to take them to Hoodwinked!
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