The Chair She Sits In
By Alberto Ríos
I've heard this thing where, when someone dies,
People close up all the holes around the house —
The keyholes, the chimney, the windows,
Even the mouths of the animals, the dogs and the pigs.
It's so the soul won’t be confused, or tempted.
It’s so when the soul comes out of the body it’s been in
But that doesn’t work anymore,
I won’t simply go into another one
And try to make itself at home,
Pretending as if nothing happened.
There’s no mystery — it's too much work to move on.
It isn’t anybody’s fault. A soul is like any of us.
It gets used to things, especially after a long life.
The way I sit in my living-room chair,
The indentation I have put in it now
After so many years—that’s how I understand.
It’s my chair,
And I know how to sit in it.
Another by Ríos, the subject of this week's Poet's Choice. "Sigmund Freud's ideas relate the familiar to the uncanny: to half-remembered or forgotten origins, fears and desires that come back in fantastic guises. In keeping with that notion, these characters have interior lives where fantasy and experience intertwine," writes Robert Pinsky.
I had a very lovely day at the Washington Folk Festival and then doing family stuff. We went in large part to see Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra, and indeed Jennifer was one of the first people we saw, standing outside the carousel -- she was very friendly and I paid her back the $15 I have owed her ever since I interviewed her for a CD I got from her on which she did a song with Annie Haslam of Renaissance to raise money for DC food banks. Ocean played at noon, so we got there around 11, walked around the grounds at Glen Echo Park where the festival is held, went through the craft tent, discovered that the angora bunnies had come with the people who make angora sweaters and scarves so people can see how their fur is collected and spun, petted the softest bunnies in the world.
Then we went to hear Ocean, which as always was wonderful. Jennifer had brought Steve Winick, her colleague in the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center and a Dirty Linen regular, who sang a song they had worked on together in French, and they did the New St. George's "The Mermaid" and "The Water Is Wide" in Breton and English. Grace Griffith was back with them after having had brain surgery to help control her Parkinson's disease, sounding and looking great -- we ran into her in the craft tent, she was very friendly too -- and we saw Lisa briefly at House of Musical Traditions' tent where we bought the kids frog and owl percussion instruments. *g* Lisa had to sing in Donegal Irish and Breton and joked that next Jennifer was going to make her sing in some more obscure language. There was a sound problem with the keyboard at one point in "Song for the Night Sea Journey" and the fiddler picked right up with the melody line to accompany Grace -- I was impressed with how fast they recovered.
We also went to see Robert Lighthouse, a Swedish born folk singer, who was accompanied by a guy with a washboard contraption sort of like armor so he could play his own chest. And we had brought a picnic and bought those fabulous toasted cinnamon almonds and went to the play equipment, and we ran into vertigo66's younger sister and husband and children -- they had come for the carousel and didn't know there was a folk festival -- and had a generally lovely time.
Here's Grace and Lisa on the Potomac Palisades stage...
...and Jennifer and Steve Winick (an alumni of my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania).
Robert Lighthouse and his harmonica and guitar on the Cuddle Up Stage.
Hoag, Kelley and Pilzer playing Scandinavian music on the Crystal Pool Stage.
Since we were down MacArthur Boulevard, we also went to the co-op and got organic cheese and sesame sticks and quinoa. We took the stuff home to put the perishables in the refrigerator, then ran out to Target to get necessities like laundry detergent and cheap polo shirts for the males in the household, and of course since we were there we walked around the lake nearby to see the goslings who are now more teenage geese. *g*
My local PBS station (which is having a pledge drive) was showing the Celtic Woman concert, which I'd not seen though I have the CD and I've heard Chloe's and Lisa's solo albums. I was afraid it would be cheesy but it was really quite lovely; from the photos on the album covers I expected all the women to be knockouts, but they all looked like real people and they had rather nice chemistry with one another (which I guess is necessary rather than having five divas on a tour!) They did "You Raise Me Up" as if they were singing it to one another instead of as a religious song which I really liked. And "Nella Fantasia" sung by anyone is just glorious. Also, the kids had at one point in the evening caught the end of The Day After Tomorrow, which none of us had seen; now that I've seen the ending, I want to see the first half!
Monday beeej is going to pimp me into Stargate Atlantis. *braces self for new fannishness*