By Ted Hughes
I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock’s loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.
Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:
Cold, delicately as the dark snow,
A fox’s nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now
Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come
Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Coming about its own business
Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.
My Valentine's Day was busy but fun. apaulled came home for lunch because we realized this was the only time we were likely to be alone most of the day -- he brought California Tortilla and Dove chocolate. Gave me a rather personal card that I shall not scan but it had a dirty joke with a reference to Master and Commander, heh. Also he made me one of his infamous mix CDs -- this one with sailing-themed songs to go with the joke in the card -- everything from The Love Boat theme to "Come Sail Away" to Christopher Cross to "Wooden Ships to Jimmy Buffett to the Grateful Dead to John Denver to "In the Navy." *g* And he got me Mr. & Mrs. Smith, mostly because I asked for it last weekend and he happened to be in Best Buy, I think! I got him a book of illustrations from Wagner's Ring and more chocolate.
I worked in younger son's class at the party this afternoon, which was insane as all school parties are. I am not sure whether I have kept up with the Classroom Saga here -- the entire fourth and fifth grades are in portable classrooms at his school, and his has been infested with mold, and while thankfully he has not shown any allergy signs, his teacher and a couple of students have missed lots of days of school because their allergies are so aggravated...so they have moved into the reading specialist's classroom for the rest of the year, but the reading specialist has not moved her stuff out yet so they are completely smushed into half a room. It's completely insane and I would be bitching to the county, except that at this point I would rather them spend money on the middle schools which are also overcrowded, as I will soon have no child left in elementary school. This is the legacy of a governor who chose a football stadium to be used for eight games a year over our schools...see why I don't really give a shit whether the Ravens ever win?
I rushed through two articles in the afternoon (even more on the upcoming Star Trek video game which I have written more stories about than any other topic since the beginning of the year, even Shatner and Stewart, and Robert Duncan McNeill directing some pilot), while burning CDs for family members since we had dinner with my parents and uncle. I had told mother to please not buy me candy since I feared, correctly, that I would already be getting more than I knew what to do with; she obeyed and gave me a pair of very pretty earrings instead, so I am quite happy. The kids have chocolate coming out their ears and younger son also brought home a Halloween-sized pile of loot from school!
Watched the men's short program distracted waiting for Boston Legal, which I wouldn't miss for anything short of Torvill and Dean's miraculous return. There was a time when I would have commented passionately on each and every skating event, but I can't begin to fathom the new skating system and while I agree that the Chinese couple who won the silver in pairs were extremely brave and passionate, I don't understand how a routine with such a major bobble can finish in second place ahead of some extremely fine and clean performances...this year's pairs didn't impress me all that much to begin with, but I haven't passionately followed any of them so I didn't feel strongly, and it's the same with the men. And the women. And the ice dance, which stopped making any sense to me when, you know, actual dancing stopped rating in the program. I'm glad the Russian guy can do fifty revolutions in a single program and can I have John Curry and Toller Cranston back now? I am old, I guess.
But BL! Cracks at Bush, DeLay and the Supreme Court this week! Once again a totally insane storyline (Bev's cat custody dispute) balanced out an interesting human interest and a passionate political storyline. I know I am always going on about Denny and Alan, with good reason, so may I just note for a moment that if Shatner and Spader left the show, I would still watch for Shirley and Denise? Both of whom I like separately, but I particularly like how often they are working together now -- how Shirley is mentoring Denise in a kind of tough-love style that seems very true to both their characters.
It helps of course that Shirley and Denise had the case that of course was going to have me gnashing my teeth -- I felt badly for the little girl who couldn't smile, but at the same time, if one of my kids had a disability like that, I couldn't buy his way into an exclusive prep school, with or without a high-octane lawyer; she was a very wealthy and privileged pampered educated spoiled sad little girl, and while it's true that no amount of money can buy acceptance, very few kids feel truly accepted at her age...I sat and watched all the forms of torment fourth graders turn upon each other all afternoon, and one kid my son tells me is popular sat and cried over some crisis involving his ice cream. Sure, I'd do what her mother did if I could -- we'd all do whatever we thought was the best for our kids, I think -- but I didn't really warm to anyone involved in that story, though Alan was fun ranting about the snobs.
This was of course a really small-time storyline next to the refusal of the Catholic doctor to administer emergency contraception to a rape victim who asked for it, and I was fuming and ranting. Shirley had another great closing but I was really angry she didn't press harder after the doctor shut her down with the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" quote (when someone cites Catholic history as a reason for denying a woman emergency contraception, I want to sit them down and make them read every volume on the Inquisition and the Crusades in print -- if you don't believe in emergency contraception, by all means don't take it, but go study my murdered ancestors before you start oppressing non-Catholics in this century in the name of Catholic history and the sanctity of life!) I LOVED the final scene, which starts with Denise and Shirley talking on one balcony about that thing that almost never happens on television even though the media is supposedly so outrageously liberal, according to the various "focus on the family" autocrats: "She's having an abortion while it's still legal." The alternative, points out Shirley, is likely a custody battle with your rapist. "It's always been about power."
And she and Denise toast one another while one balcony over, Denny asks Alan to please shoot him if he is ever being kept alive by a machine. Alan says he'd pull the plug but that's not a good enough ending for Denny, who is not reassured by Alan's promise that someone in Boston surely wants to kill Denny badly enough to bring the gun. "I'd shoot you! I want to be shot by someone who cares for me!" Denny objects. "You Democrat! Protesting wars, banning guns...nobody would ever shoot anybody and then where would we be!" This after announcing that lawyers should just pretend they won cases because pretending he won worked for the president. And Spader using DeLay as an example of an overrated smile! Okay, so my very favorite moment was still Denny pulling a coin out of Alan's ear, trying to crack him up. Doesn't he realize that Alan's pupils were dilated and he couldn't smile or he'd have started hyperventilating? ...okay, okay, but it's true.
Here's a game to pick up candy hearts with chopsticks -- first person to get all 20 into the container wins.
Even the boys worked on the decorated containers, though the boys objected to the pink "LOVE" stickers.
And what's a party without ice cream? (See what I mean about how overcrowded the classroom is right now?)
Front of Valentine from younger son.
Happy Lupercalia! I will see whether my lovely partner and I can provide werewolves before it is over. Meanwhile, The People Who Know Everything may want to note that despite their repeatedly Knowing Everything, The Leaky Cauldron says that Oldman STILL hasn't signed a contract for OOTP. Let's hope it's just a technicality and then The People Who Know Everything can say they told me so and I won't even care.