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

Poem for Wednesday


The Birch Grove
By Seamus Heaney


At the back of a garden, in earshot of river water,
In a corner walled off like the baths or bake-house
Of an unroofed abbey or broken-floored Roman villa,
They have planted their birch grove. Planted it recently only,
But already each morning it puts forth in the sun
Like their own long grown-up selves, the white of the bark
As suffused and cool as the white of the satin nightdress
She bends and straightens up in, pouring tea,
Sitting across from where he dandles a sandal
On his big time-keeping foot, as bare as an abbot's.
Red brick and slate, plum tree and apple retain
Their credibility, a CD of Bach is making the rounds
Of the common or garden air. Above them a jet trail
Tapers and waves like a willow wand or a taper.
"If art teaches us anything," he says, trumping life
With a quote, "it's that the human condition is private."

--------

Yet another from The Washington Post Book World poetry issue, though in fact the paper only published this review by Anthony Cuda of Heaney's District and Circle - the poem was published here in The Guardian along with a review of the same volume, which is where I found it. Cuda calls the book "original, startling and aesthetically compelling."

My day was relatively uneventful -- went to the post office, sat outside Starbucks for an hour trying to write an article on my MDA using their wireless hotspot, picked up the kids, wrote articles on George Takei being my hero again and on a Canadian technological development that could lead to something like a holodeck. Then I got invited to go to a luncheon at the National Press Club tomorrow where Scott Bakula will be speaking about Shenandoah and its contemporary relevance. <squee>YESSSSS!</squee> *uses icon made by beeej in honor of occasion* So I will be picking up my escort at the airport tomorrow morning (since this is in official TrekToday capacity, not Star Trek fangirl capacity) and spending the day downtown. If I can figure out what the hell to wear to the National Press Club.

My nightly news other than that was Candice Bergen and Tom Selleck having sex on Boston Legal! Unfortunately not onscreen. The episode starts with him kissing her goodbye at 6 a.m. with her warning that someone could see and him insisting that no one will be in the office at that hour, which naturally is Denny's cue to come around the corner and see them. "One question: Who was on top?" Ivan says, "Me, her, me and then her." This would be charming, since Ivan supposedly left his wife last time Tom Selleck was on the show, but then Missy shows up in Shirley's office to confess that she thinks Ivan is cheating! "Oh god," says Shirley. "He hasn't said anything to you?" Missy says she has a feeling his eye has wandered and begs Shirley to talk to him, to which Shirley replies, "Oh, I'll talk to him." When she does, Ivan swears that he and Missy are done, though he thinks it's possible that she and he were not on the same page when he told her that...she thought he was just going out drinking with the guys. Shirley says he laid the oldest line in the married man's playbook on her and she swallowed it. "Ivan, tell her." "And then?" "There is no then, Ivan, we are only dealing in now. Tell her."

Meanwhile Brad has a problem because there's this very hot new associate, Audrey, who agrees to go out with him right away...but she says she's going to show him her vagina, and he freaks. Not so much at the concept of sex on the first date, but the fact that she said vagina. He goes and asks Denise whether vagina means something else in Italian -- "Is it another term for some sort of ancient sea craft?" When he explains that he practically feels sexually harrassed by Audrey's ease with the term, Denise says she would probably not talk about her sea craft so blithely but really doesn't see why this should be a deal breaker since it's just a word. "So anchors aweigh." Brad, however, keeps calling Audrey's vagina THAT -- as in, quoting her, "My THAT really feels good" -- and he thinks he needs to end it with her even though (as he says) he loves the item, just hates hearing the word vagina said aloud. Fortunately, Audrey rocks, breaks it off with him and tells him to grow up, pointing out that guys have thousands of names for their equipment. Eventually he agrees that it's just a word and says he wants to go out with her again, but when she demands that he say it, he'll only say, "I'm thinking it." So she walks away, and he rolls his eyes and yells, "VAGINA!" as the whole firm stares. Hee!

When Missy visits Shirley again to say she thinks she was just being a nervous bride and she wishes she knew how she could trust Ivan, Shirley suggests a post-nuptual agreement. Ivan loathes the idea, since Missy would get everything he loves if they split up. "So what do you love, Ivan? Maybe you should give it some thought." Shirley thinks it's a brilliant idea because if Ivan cheats, they might have to rename the Ivan Tiggs Theatre the The Ivan Tiggs Can't Keep It In His Pants Theatre. He tries to talk Missy out of the postnup, saying it would cause him suffering, but she agrees, saying she pledges her her musical theater collection, her Phantom mask and her autographed A Chorus Line album cover, because she believes that love can be forever in this horrible and jaded world which is why she loves musicals and him. "I can't imagine ever breaking your heart and I think if you broke my heart, my life would be over."

Of course he buckles and signs the post-nup, while Shirley says she knew it would end between herself and Ivan one way or another anyway since no one woman ever really has him. Once it's signed and Ivan can't come after Shirley again unless he really means it, Missy thanks Shirley. "I knew you were a woman of principle," she says. "And now I know my Ivan won't cheat on me. With anyone." Not nearly as dumb as she seems, and I don't know whether to be glad she isn't so naive or kind of sad that she knew all along what she was getting. Denny brings Shirley drinks, saying he knows her heart was crushed and her pride wounded all in one day, which makes her comment that Crane, Poole and Schmidt has the fastest water cooler in town and that she feels like such a fool. "If anybody knows about being a fool, it's Denny Crane," he insists, then asks if this means that she's back on the market. "Denny, as far as you're concerned, I'm always on the market," she replies. Then she adds, "You are a dear sweet man," and whispers his name for him. Oooh.

The most serious storyline of the week brought back Jerry and his Aspergers, which wasn't well done in the first place and is rather acutely painful here -- Alan tries to help him bring a case to trial, which ends in disaster for everyone involved, since Jerry further implicates his client and Alan advises the man to flee the country rather than face a life in jail for what Alan considers a just crime -- trying to beat to death the man who murdered his son and then got off on a technicality. I really take issue with Alan here. And I can't watch the show trying to have it both ways, mocking Jerry for humor while attempting to portray the plight of disabled people. (And can't someone apply for a mistrial if his own lawyer screws him over?)

In the end, though, which usually makes up for all sins of the show, Denny tells Alan that he hears Alan misplaced a client, and Alan says that, like car keys and sunglasses, the man will show up somewhere. Denny said he once misplaced a client -- sent him to an island with no extradition treaty -- and he gets holiday cards from him every year. Alan thinks it would be paradise to go away to an island where the simple act of thatching a roof might dissipate the voices in his head, to which Denny adds that it would particularly be paradise if it's an island where the natives run around "with their boobies hanging out." Denny also points out that, no matter how hard the ethical choices one must make, "you always get to choose what you want for lunch." Alan says admiringly that he's always impressed by Denny's ability just to live life, and Denny reminds him, "It's either that or die."

Also, I am sending a big hairy shaggy wet thank you to dementordelta for reasons of which she is only too aware. *g* And I forgot to say thanks for all the John de Lancie questions to various people! I suck!


From the Delaware Museum of Natural History, as you can see from the label, an ornithopod egg from China. Researchers had done ultrasounds on the unhatched eggs to see what was inside, and there were photos of the embryos as well as some microscopes set up with embryonic dinosaurs from shattered eggs.


This is the thickest dinosaur eggshell ever discovered, found in Argentina -- a titanosaur shell preserved in silica.


A real egg and an unreal egg. Sorry about the blurriness and glare in these photos; I was shooting through thick glass in a room with direct sunlight shining in, and did not do a good job guessing at the settings.


I believe that this is the same femur bone we saw in Harrisburg, visible on this page, which also has more eggs.
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Must go sleep so I can be a professional fangirl tomorrow!
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