The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Monday


Silence
By Marianne Moore


My father used to say,
"Superior people never make long visits,
have to be shown Longfellow's grave
or the glass flowers at Harvard.
Self-reliant like the cat --
that takes its prey to privacy,
the mouse's limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth --
they sometimes enjoy solitude,
and can be robbed of speech
by speech which has delighted them.
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence;
not in silence, but restraint."
Nor was he insincere in saying, "Make my house your inn."
Inns are not residences.

--------

Another from Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World, used as contrast with Edgar Guest whom Pinsky finds more comfortable than his contemporary Moore though not as memorable a poet. Moore, according to Pinsky, "wrote to the standard of artists like John Keats or Emily Dickinson...Moore's lines, with their tricky repetitions of 'speech' and 'silence,' the shocking image of that mouse-tail, are possibly not as catchy as Edgar Guest's...but I nominate them as likely to stand the test of time."

Spent today decompressing in Baltimore, where we finally managed to board the Godspeed from Jamestown and to see the HMS Northumberland from the UK. We got up early so we could get to the Godspeed at 11, when the ship first opened to visitors; having faced two-hour plus lines in Alexandria, we assumed we would be most likely to get aboard early in the day, and though we had a 20 minute wait, it was a gorgeous morning and there were lots of other ships to see in the harbor. Clipper City was just getting underway when we arrived, with one crewmember literally missing the boat and swinging aboard on a rope, and there were sailboats and a skipjack and the Constellation.

This new Godspeed has been designed to look like its 1600-era original on the outside, though made of harder wood -- there's another replica Godspeed slowly rotting in Jamestown, which is what precipitated the building of this new one for the 1606 anniversary. It has a diesel engine, a flushing head and other modern amenities below, so the interior is closed to visitors, but our tour guide was one of the reenactors we met in Alexandria in the mockup of the original interior of the ship, and we got to hear from him about life aboard the touring ambassador vessel which is going from city to city with the exhibit on Virginia's 400th anniversary.


A minstrel performs with the Godspeed behind him, and the National Aquarium and harbor in the background.


While one of the ship's crew discusses the construction of the replica and the voyage...


...another heads up the ratlines to secure a sail.


Here again with the USS Constellation towering behind her.
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We had brought lunch, so we ate at the picnic tables between the science center and the carousel, then went to the visitor center to get directions to the Northumberland, which was in a deep-water dock at Fells Point on the other side of the harbor. Fells Point is in the middle of a transition from working-class maritime region to upper-middle-class waterfront property, so on the one hand there are towing stations and cargo ships and on the other hand there are expensive restaurants and pretty boutiques.

We walked to the ship, which is enormous and had several cute sailors walking around in shorts on the decks, but the ship was not open for visitors at all on Sunday. Then we walked around the outdoor market in Fells Point, got Maggie Moo's ice cream and visited the Fells Point Maritime Museum -- a wonderful place with several interactive exhibits that kept the kids interested and a great deal on local history, including many things I didn't know, like the fact that no one knows exactly what the original "Pride of Baltimore" looked like because there were no drawings of the clipper Chasseur, which was given that nickname when Thomas Boyle returned from a stunning run as a privateer against the British.

Watched the Tony Awards largely to see Patti LuPone, who was my first great theater crush -- I saw Evita early in high school and it was a defining moment for my interests. She didn't win, but they had a bit from Evita as well as a number from Sweeney Todd, so I can't complain...plus Hal Prince got a lifetime achievement award, and there were a number of nice moments along the way, including a few victories by Harry Potter actors and appearances by Glenn Close and lots of other actors I love. I remember when I knew all the nominees and had seen several of them...oh, and I had a very funny experience this weekend, I got TrekToday e-mail from someone who runs an art gallery that is displaying science fiction theme art, and recognized the gallery owner's name as someone I went to theater camp with in high school. She played my older sister in a skit! Now she sings (very well, if her MySpace clips are any indication) and has this gallery in Virginia that I must go see sometime!
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