The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday

Lessons of the War: Unarmed Combat
By Henry Reed

In due course of course you will all be issued with
Your proper issue; but until tomorrow,
You can hardly be said to need it; and until that time,
We shall have unarmed combat. I shall teach you
The various holds and rolls and throws and breakfalls
          Which you may sometimes meet.

And the various holds and rolls and throws and breakfalls
Do not depend on any sort of weapon,
But only on what I might coin a phrase and call
The ever-important question of human balance,
And the ever-important need to be in a strong
          Position at the start.

There are many kinds of weakness about the body,
Where you would least expect, like the ball of the foot.
But the various holds and rolls and throws and breakfalls
Will always come in useful. And never be frightened
To tackle from behind: it may not be clean to do so,
          But this is global war.

So give them all you have, and always give them
As good as you get; it will always get you somewhere.
(You may not know it, but you can tie a Jerry
Up without rope; it is one of the things I shall teach.)
Nothing will matter if only you are ready for him.
          The readiness is all.

The readiness is all. How can I help but feel
I have been here before? But somehow then,
I was the tied-up one. How to get out
Was always then my problem. And even if I had
A piece of rope I was always the sort of person
          Who threw rope aside.

And in my time I had given them all I had,
Which was never as good as I got, and it got me nowhere.
And the various holds and rolls and throws and breakfalls
Somehow or other I always seemed to put
In the wrong place. And, as for war, my wars
          Were global from the start.

Perhaps I was never in a strong position.
Or the ball of my foot got hurt, or I had some weakness
Where I had least expected. But I think I see your point.
While awaiting a proper issue, we must learn the lesson
Of the ever-important question of human balance.
          It is courage that counts.

Things may be the same again; and we must fight
Not in the hope of winning but rather of keeping
Something alive: so that when we meet our end,
It may be said that we tackled wherever we could,
That battle-fit we lived, and though defeated,
          Not without glory fought.


Sequel to the first three parts earlier this week. This is the last section I will post, as part five is extremely long; it can be found here. Thanks once more to muccamukk.

Older son had a gym field trip today where part of the class went swimming, part went to play soccer and the group my son chose to go with went bowling. He apparently did pretty well and came home with a used bowling pin as some sort of not-trophy-but-not-bad, so he was in a good mood. Younger son, meanwhile, was in a great mood because he discovered Monterey Bay Aquarium's penguin cam (he had been watching the National Zoo kiwi cam and took it upon himself to look up "penguin cam" on Google). Then he had the brilliant idea that he could start a penguin fan club with a newsletter, and when the impracticality of producing and distributing such a newsletter was pointed out to him by the person most likely to have to do layout, printing and collating, he agreed that a web page might be a good place to start. Hence, we give you: penguinpics. Please feel free to join and post your own!

I met beeej for lunch at our favorite Northern Virginia Indian restaurant, where we chatted about matters both fannish and mundane and she promised me pimping into Stargate: Atlantis (since she successfully pimped me into Highlander after I managed never to see it for many years, I am very confident about her pimping abilities). Younger son had soccer practice this evening, moved back an hour due to Daylight Savings time; I wrote news bullets and an article on the (im)probability of the Trek franchise moving to direct-to-DVD production, and I got the Star Trek Fan Collective: Time Travel set in the mail to review, with "Time's Arrow" and "Yesterday's Enterprise" so I am very excited! Tonight we all watched that masterful classic *snork* "The Gamesters of Triskelion" so I can review it, though first, we subjected ourselves to Smallville's version of Flatliners, only without Kiefer Sutherland it's just not the same, and even though I am not a big Julia Roberts fan, Kristin Kreuk makes Julia's acting look like Meryl Streep's. The saving grace was realizing that Lana Lang is Harry Potter: she looks in the Mirror of Erised and all she wants is to be reunited with her dead parents!

Lois is absent this episode and Clark spends most of it in Central America looking for Milton Fine, though he only manages to find the kid carving the spaceship model and the burned outline of the ship in the jungle. Meanwhile Lana is killing herself and trusting a sleazy medical student to bring her back, so she can see her parents on the other side. She needs money for this venture, and of course she tries to steal it from Lex, and of course he catches her and follows her (stealing his Porsche not being one of her wiser moves, but then who expects intelligence from Lana? Certainly not Lex). The sleazy student sticks Lex with the death-drug syringe to get him out of the way, and Lex dies and sees his dead mother, and in the scene that is the episode's saving grace, she kicks his ass! First she's all sardonic about him being dead again, mocking about how last time, he'd been shot because of his own evil ways. Then she protests that he ignored everything she showed him and warns him that the path he is on is going to lead to mass murder. "Alexander, don't let the blood wash away what's left of your soul," she says. Seductively. Regrettably, just when this is getting good, Chloe brings him back to life!

Then, predictably but still rather movingly, Clark gets stuck with another injection while trying to rescue Lana -- naturally he gets back from Central America just in time for this, because naturally Lana can't get her act together and rescue herself -- and he goes to heaven (which is the barn on the Kent Farm) and sees...Jonathan! Who says he has to go back, though first Tom Welling has one of this better scenes all season getting teary-eyed talking to Dad and explaining that he's hurt everyone close to him. (Of course, for Clark, it's all about Clark...he believes Lana is doing this tripping because he broke up with her, not because she has a great big hole in her soul from having lost her parents as she did.) Jonathan gives the heartwarming speech about having had everything a husband and father could have dreamed of and warns Clark that he has to go back to protect Martha from Lionel Luthor, who knows Clark's secret! Jonathan actually says, "It is your destiny!" Together we will rule the galaxy as father and wait, wrong franchise. He does the Superman Returns preview speech, "You're a symbol of peace," and SHOVES Clark back.

And Clark rushes home to Mom...who is wearing a very hot dress for her platonic date with Lionel! He suggested escorting her to a congressional dinner to help her suck up to her fellow legislators, having looked up details about their personal interests that Chloe could have found for Martha in ten seconds if Martha had asked. (When Lionel asked if she'd like a companion for the evening, Martha said she hoped he wasn't expecting anything on a personal level: "The two of us will never be anything more than friends." Yeehah! Denial much?) Clark doesn't even get to explain to his mother that he saw his dead dad, for she is rushing off with a complimentary, suave Lionel, waving and saying, "We'll talk tomorrow, sweetie." Whoo! I want to see the Martha/Lionel sex SO BADLY. And I want Clark and Lex to walk in on them together. (Man, is there anything that will get Clark and Lex to mend their differences and work together faster than Lionel shagging Legislator Kent?)

So now Clark knows Lionel knows about him and also knows, from Chloe, that Lionel funded Jonathan's campaign...and Lana swears her independence to Clark, but when she visits Lex she's all "They don't make a card for 'Sorry I got you killed.'" (best Lana line ever) and Lex, who already said he totally understood about wanting to see dead parents, lies and says he saw his mother and she said she was proud of the man he's becoming. Okay, I really do NOT want to see the Lex/Lana sex, but if we get Martha with her red hair all over Lionel's pillows in the same episode, I might not even notice it. Wow, this is the most I've had to say about a Smallville episode in ages...I must've liked it better than I thought!

Dragon kite above cherry blossoms along Raoul Wallenberg Place, between the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin.

Saturday Night Fever is on Cinemax right now and we are watching. Oh MAN, the music, the clothing, much fun despite all the appalling moments in the screenplay and Karen Lynn Gorney's not-exactly-inspiring acting. And oh, they keep showing the World Trade Center. Travolta in his skivvies! Looking fine! Damn, I am getting old. Oh yeah: and if I needed a reason to love J.K. Rowling where women are concerned, despite some characterizations in her books that make me unhappy, this made me happy.

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